Hundreds of students and supporters donning campaign colors filled the Upper Quad as they awaited the announcement of who would become the next Miss Auburn.
Catherine Bryant, junior in finance and biomedical sciences, was named the next Miss Auburn Tuesday night.
“[I feel] absolutely overwhelmed, but so humbled and really loved,” Bryant said. “This past week was incredible. Talking with my team before we came today, I knew that no matter what happened, this week had been so worth it.”
Bryant’s campaign focused on “a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities,” a line from the Auburn Creed.
“This week we’ve just kind of been challenging people to step outside their comfort zones, and I think as the official hostess of the University, that’s something that role can really do,” Bryant said.
As an out-of-state student, Bryant spoke of the challenges she faced by being outside of her comfort zone.
“Being that random girl from Texas who ended up in southeastern Alabama, just even being Top 5 is the biggest honor, “ Bryant said. “And then to have random people rally for you and be there for you has been absolutely fantastic.”
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Excited to begin her role, Bryant said she is ready to not only be the official hostess at events but to meet with students and have everyday interactions.
“I just thank you so, so much for believing in me again when I didn’t believe in myself,” Bryant said. “I’m so excited and humbled, and thank y’all for challenging me to grow as a person every single day. I think that’s truly something we do at Auburn, in and through our Creed.”
Her fellow Miss Auburn candidates shared in Bryant’s excitement.
“Honestly, I knew whatever happened was supposed to happen and Cat is incredible,” said Megan Ondrizek, junior in communication disorders. “She is going to do a phenomenal job as Miss Auburn, and I am so excited to watch her do the best she can possibly do.”
Maggie Ricks, another Miss Auburn 2020 candidate, was suitemates with Bryant her freshman year.
“It’s been really cool to get to do stuff like this with her,” said Ricks, junior in accounting and Spanish. “We all kind of went into it knowing that there are bigger things than SGA elections and there are bigger things than titles on this campus, and I got four amazing new friends out of this.”
Ricks said she will continue working with the Student Veterans Association to give them a bigger voice on campus.
“I am super excited for Cat. She’s incredible,” said Katie Phelan, junior in marketing. “I’m just really honored that I got to have the opportunity to spread awareness about mental health — we’re all winners.”
Phelan said being a candidate was an incredible learning experience that allowed her to meet many people.
“Even though our platform was ‘start the conversation,’ even though campaign week is over, the conversation’s not over about mental health, and that we should continue talking about it every day on Auburn’s campus,” Phelan said.
Phelan believes the conversation her campaign began stretches beyond campaign week.
“Win or lose, I got to stand on the platform — a campus-wide platform — and talk about things I am passionate about, and I will continue to advocate for inclusion and diversity on this campus,” said Sasha Cohen, junior in architecture.
Though she didn’t win, Cohen said she will still be in Auburn and will continue to put herself out there and make herself visible.
“There’s people in SGA that you can collaborate with just as a student,” Cohen said. “They are here to be a voice for students, and so I will use my voice to talk to them and get them to further my initiatives.”
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