A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of Mr. ONU

The annual Mr. ONU competition was held last Friday, Jan. 26, in Chalfant Hall. Full of laughs, skits, and dancing, two contestants from each class competed in hopes of gaining the Mr. ONU crown as their own.

A lot goes into the Mr. ONU show, and a huge part of setting this up happens behind the scenes. As ASC Executive Officer of Events and Programs, Senior Rachel Grimmett was the coordinator for the event. “What goes into pulling off such great events is a large team made up of a network of individuals, and this one is nothing less,” Grimmett said.

As a middle man for nearly all the information and planning, Grimmett said, “I have to constantly be aware and one step ahead to make sure those I’m leading are prepared.  We have a big team, from media to ASC council/executives/staff and videographers/editors, who do so much to make the night what it is for the audience.”

Video and media are other components that play a major role in Mr. ONU. Austin Siscoe is a videographer/editor who also worked behind the scenes to help prepare contestants for the big night. Siscoe has been involved with Mr. ONU for the last four years, working specifically as creator director, cinematographer, and editor for a several contestants.

“Given my involvement with video in The Variety Show and events like this, usually I’m brought in by friends who come to me and ask if I will help them put together their video,” Siscoe said.

In putting together a contestant’s videos, they usually start with the contestant’s idea, play with that a little and determine where they would like to see a video going. They write outlines and come up with an idea for the talent portion to figure out how they can tie the two together.

The Associated Student Council (ASC) hosts this event. Sophomore Westin Edwards is a part of ASC and got to nominate some of the people from his class, including the winner of Mr. ONU, Jackson Thornhill, and Edwards’s roommate, Sam Danner.

“I ended up filming both of their videos and spent the first few weeks of school filming scenes and brainstorming ideas with them for talents extra video stuff. I’m also involved with AJ’s talent and Jackson’s talent,” Edwards said.

Mr. ONU continues to bring laughs to Olivet and is a tradition that helps make this campus unique. “The show wouldn’t be the show without our boys, and I cannot take any credit for what they do, they’re the best,” Grimmett said.

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Here are the this year’s contestants:

Jace Pettet

Are you ready to fall in love? I sure hope so, because Jace Pettet is quality husband material. He is quite the catch, an incredible gentleman. Legend has it, Jace once held the door open for 100,000 women, even when his wrists began to crumble before the mighty weight of the portal. A man like this is a wedding ring magnet. With a major in finance and economics, and a minor in computer science, he is definitely versatile. You can find Jace going up for seconds, nay, thirds at Ludwig on Mac-and-Nugs Friday. He has the stomach of a mature 1,500-kilogram hippopotamus, which means the words bottomless and unlimited mean EXACTLY that (buffets tremble at the mere thought of him). When he isn’t gorging himself on macaroni and chicken, you may find him performing his one, true passion: napping (or as he refers to it professionally, nap-nap). Jace Pettet — gentleman, scholar and your best pick for Mr. ONU 2018.


Bryce Poole

Bryce Poole is a simple man. Nashville, Tennessee’s favorite son drinks his Triple Venti, Half-Sweet Non-Fat Caramel Macchiato to get through the mornings just like everyone else. He puts his pants on just like any man: both legs simultaneously via a corkscrew backflip that consistently measures on the Richter Scale at a 3 or higher. In his free time, he partakes in the mundane American pastime of crushing Zach Sisk in male beauty pageants. That is, if he can make time between homework and solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, like most political science students. Bryce wants to represent the freshman class as an everyman. Because after all, aren’t we all Mr. ONU?




 Sam Danner

Some of you will remember Sam from that worship night you went to once and never talked about again. EKO ministry, not the Variety Show! He is so much more than just a man of God. He is also a song and dance man. As Mr. ONU, he will never give up on you, never let you down, never run around and hurt you. He didn’t take a gap year and didn’t break ONU Secret Admirers. His name isn’t Westin Edwards, but he used to be able to solve a Rubik’s Cube back in sixth grade. As you can tell, he is a man of many talents. When he receives the powers of Mr. ONU, he promises that Olivet will never have to deal with AJ Kallas ever again. A vote for Sam is a vote to tear AJ down




Jackson Thornhill

There are a lot of ways to describe Jackson. Smart, talented, bread, a true gift from God, the list can go on and on. But one way you can’t describe Jackson (yet) is as Mr. ONU. Jackson is involved with Olivet’s theatre program. You may remember him as Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls” or Ladder No. 2 in “Our Town.” This spring, he is taking on a lead role as The Baker in Olivet’s production of “Into The Woods.” In his free time, he enjoys quoting vines, sleeping and collecting bottles of glue. He is a sophomore from Plainfield, Indiana, and is a communications major. He loves pizza, spending time with friends and world peace. He would very much appreciate your vote and looks forward to (hopefully) being the next Mr. ONU.




 Matt Neal

Matt Neal is a man of many words, including: Enneagram 4, junior, nursing major (and single, ladies), and native of Mineral Point, Wisconsin. And there’s more! “he’s kinda just always around,” hip and the perfect height (anything over 6’0″). When he is not mentoring his freshman brother, he likes to fill his time reading intriguing books authored by Joel Osteen, and writing strongly worded emails to Congress about how being gluten free is a made-up condition. You can usually catch Matt playing a sick game of Marco Polo, or at Kelley Prayer Chapel where he frequently sings “10,000 Reasons.” It was also recently brought to his attention that he was the eighth runner up for the junior representative nomination, but he is determined to be first in the people’s hearts.



Ross Roberts

You have been lied to. Ross Roberts is not this man’s real name. This made emailing him about his Mr. ONU nomination incredibly difficult, but here we are. On August 15, 2015, Ross Roberts was born out of the ashes of a shy and awkward William Ellis Roberts III. The annual tradition is that one confused, freshman cross-country runner is stripped of his former name and renamed. It’s like a Bruce to Caitlyn Jenner deal, but he remains male. Besides smiling in the picture above and casting spells as Harry Potter in the Variety Show, this computer science major from Minooka, Illinois, runs cross-country and rides a jank red scooter around campus. He loves Jesus, kids, his brother Andrew and any dog large enough to catch a Frisbee.



 Jimmy Southerland

You may be asking yourself, Who’s this Jimmy Southerland guy? Well, let’s just say that on a sunny day you’re walking on the sidewalk by University Avenue and you see a sweet looking navy 2002 Honda Civic with an Indiana license plate driving by and there’s a cool cat dude in the car with rock music blaring. In this case, please call Public Safety as soon as possible, as Jimmy’s car would have been stolen. Jimmy is an accounting and Christian education double major, a/k/a a person who is a responsible driver with music playing at a low volume. Coming from the town of naps, Jimmy is looking forward to bringing his responsible driving and low volume music to the Mr. ONU competition.



New changes to this year:

This year we are implementing two new changes. Dakota Moon will be our first Wildcard candidate and represent as a contestant for the Senior class.  This position newly implemented position will consist of a candidate from the previous year’s show who did not win but is asked to come back and participate in the show to try their shot again at winning the title. The second new position installed this year is the reigning champion will come back and fight to keep his title of Mr. ONU.  Senior AJ Kallas, Mr. ONU 2016, will be join this year’s group of contestant and return to the stage and fight to keep his title as the reigning Mr. ONU.


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