Harvard Will Host 'Parade of Stars'

Whip out the tuxes and rev up your limos. An Oscar-style awards show called the "Parade of Stars" is coming to Harvard.

This spring, the Parade of Stars committee--a new organization on campus still awaiting final administration approval--says it will put on an awards ceremony to recognize what it calls "the best groups on campus."

The committee--founded by Chetanna Okasi '98 and Joshua D. Powe '98 will give out awards for such categories as "Best A Cappella Group" and "Best Periodical."

The ceremony--which will be hosted by celebrities--is being planned for Sanders Theatre this May, Okasi said.

Okasi and Powe said the Parade of Stars will be a Harvard version of award shows such as the MTV Music Awards or the Academy Awards. Okasi is former president of Black Community and Student Theater (C.A.S.T.) and founder of the Eleganza Fashion Show, which is sponsored each year by Black C.A.S.T

Okasi, the parade's president, said she originally wanted to organize a pageant along the lines of a Mr. and Ms. Harvard contest. But then she said she realized that "the qualities we would be looking for [in a pageant contestant] go beyond that."

"There is excellence everywhere," she said. "There is so much [excellence] on this campus that one feels obligated to highlight it all."

Thus was born the Parade of Stars.

Okasi said the ceremony's winners will be chosen by an elaborate judging process consisting of on-line student voting and input from a committee of Harvard faculty and staff.

The Parade of Stars committee said it envisions the event as both a "reward system" recognizing the accomplishments of student organizations and "an exciting grand finale" for the year.

Okasi said awards will be given out by celebrity guests and that the event will be funded by corporate sponsorship. Any proceeds from the event will go to charity, she said.

There are neither celebrity guests nor corporate sponsors lined up at this moment.

Some students responded to the idea of the parade with cynicism.

"Of course it's a popularity contest," said Douglas B. Rand '98. "Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that."

But Okasi said she hopes that the Parade will be more than that.