Contest Seeks To Find ‘Cutest Baby Photo’ Among Campus Celebs

Matt Spector

By Matt SpectorThe Daily Northwestern

Before their classes and late-night study sessions, they had chubby faces and gap-toothed smiles.

Before the SATs and Facebook, they had cubbies and hide-and-seek.

Until Saturday, Northwestern students can vote for their fellow students’ baby pictures in Voice for Asia’s cutest baby photo contest.

The students’ baby pictures are taped to a board and are posted on the ground floor of Norris University Center. Below the poster, cans with each student’s name line the table. According to the event organizers, the individual with the highest dollar amount in his or her can will win bragging rights and the title of “Cutest Baby Photo.” The proceeds will go through UNICEF and China Care Northwestern to support Chinese orphans affected by AIDS.

The contest features photos of campus celebrities, such as NU football player and Communication sophomore Corey Wootton and Weinberg junior and former For Members Only coordinator Julian Hill.

Communication senior Jessica Lowe said she was contacted by the contest’s organizers with “one of those random Facebook messages.”

Lowe predicted that her baby picture would earn the most for charity and win the contest.

“I should have been the Gerber baby,” she said. “I’m frickin’ adorable.”

When looking for fundraising opportunities, Voice for Asia founder and SESP junior Megan Chiou said the committee reviewed what fundraising approach would earn them the most money while engaging students from across the university.

“We chose campus celebrities simply because we felt like they would garner the most donations,” Chiou said. “We essentially brainstormed a list of campus celebrities and campus leaders.”

Janet Wu, the contest’s organizer, said she has enjoyed watching NU students come up to the table and pick out their fellow students on the baby photo board. Wu is a member of China Care Northwestern and the treasurer of NU’s Asian Pacific American Coalition.

“It’s really fun to have their friends stop by, look at their pictures and say ‘Oh, that’s so cute,'” Wu said.

Wu said the contest has been successful thus far and that it is too early to determine the winner.

“Pretty much all of (the bottles) are full,” Wu said. “Though some people could have dropped $5 in there.”

Weinberg junior Jennifer Yu said the contest bridges the gap between the NU student body and the Voice for Asia beneficiaries while being a “good eye-grabber.”

“It’s a good fundraiser because everyone stops to see pictures of cute babies,” Yu said. “It draws home (the idea of) the orphans. We’re bringing back the whole image of the child.”

The baby photo contest is one of the fundraisers leading up to Voice for Asia’s second benefit concert Sunday on the Norris East Lawn.

Chiou organized last year’s Voice for Asia concert after attending a Live 8 benefit event. She wanted to bring together Asian-American students on campus and engage them in a “community effort.” Chiou said the growth of the group and its fundraising ability has surprised her.

“I’m really excited to see it has grown so much,” Chiou said. “This year it has exceeded my expectations how much time people have dedicated to this.”

The committee ran a service auction in April that raised more than $1,000. Voice for Asia held a fashion show Saturday night that drew more than 70 students and raised more than $500 for their charities.

Reach Matt Spector at [email protected]