The polls have opened to vote on the Homecoming king and queen candidates. The court has been narrowed down to the top-10 royalty candidates from more than 130 nominees. MOVE talked to eight of the 10 royal candidates about the Homecoming royalty process, their organizations and fellow royal court members.
The Homecoming royalty process is rigorous, beginning with a nomination from an organization on campus, an application and two rounds of interviews to get to the top 10. In the final week leading to Homecoming, students can expect to see candidates around campus for the remaining activities such as the talent show, the parade and the football game on Saturday.
Junior Tori Schafer, representing Alpha Delta Pi on the Homecoming court, was able to count on her sorority sisters to encourage her throughout the process.
“I had a really good support system through my sorority sisters,” Schafer said. “That was nice, feeling them 100 percent behind me and telling me to go for it and that I deserved to be here. I think hearing that really motivated me.”
This year’s candidates represent a diverse group of organizations, including Mizzou Alternative Breaks, Mizzou Tour Team, fraternities, sororities and the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center.
Senior Hannah Feagan is excited to represent the RSVP Center on the Homecoming royalty court. She has volunteered with the organization since her freshman year and is an RSVP educator, a position that requires a semester-long course and 70 or more hours of work per week, Feagan said.
“Students like me who do violence prevention deserve the honor to be examples to other universities of how we should start honoring violence prevention and students getting involved with violence prevention of their peers on campuses,” Feagan said. “I’m just really happy to be that example and be representing RSVP.”
Senior Ana Perez also believes representation is a big deal when it comes to being royalty candidates. She represents MAB on the court.
“For me, representation is so important, and I feel as if me representing MAB will be something that I will definitely remember [in the years to come],” Perez said.
As Saturday approaches, not only are the football players imagining a win for the team against the University of Idaho, but a few of the royalty candidates have been imagining what it would be like to win the Homecoming king or queen title.
Senior Chris Dade, a Missouri native, remembers watching Mizzou football games as a kid. It’s been surreal for him to be a part of the Homecoming traditions.
“I remember as a kid, I would sit through all the football games and Homecoming was always my favorite,” Dade said. “If you were to tell me as a kid that I would be a top-10 royalty candidate and I won, that would just absolutely blow my mind.”
Being chosen as Homecoming queen is considered an honor, and senior Lillie Heigl, who also represents MAB, has thought about the impact it could have on her campus legacy.
“Being crowned queen would be incredible, but any of them deserve it,” Heigl said. “I think it would be validation that what I’ve done on campus has left a mark and has mattered to people but at the same time, everyone is incredible and everyone deserves it.”
The candidates have really enjoyed their time working together, going to the Homecoming events, interviewing together and getting to know each other better. They all admired each other for their efforts and dedication to the university.
“It’s really humbling to be one of the top 10 chosen,” senior and MSA President Nathan Willett said. “If you looked through all of the names of the people who had been nominated, it shows how great our university is and there’s so many cool stories that so many people have.”
Senior Brandon Splitter, who represents It’s On Us, has also realized that he is a part of an impressive group of candidates.
“These are some of the most inspiring, dedicated and hardworking people that I’ve ever met, so being able to be a part of this with them is something that I will always be super grateful for,” Splitter said.
But Homecoming is about the alumni coming back to their alma mater. This tradition is the reason Mizzou celebrates. Senior Sean Earl reflects on the importance of the alumni to Homecoming.
“At the core of it, I love the return of our alumni,” Earl said. “I think Homecoming is the biggest event at our university and it’s the event where you have people from all different walks of life coming to campus for this one special event. I like to see how the city of Columbia embraces everything, whether they went to Mizzou or not because I think the city really feeds off the energy that Homecoming provides.”
The 2017 Homecoming king and queen will be announced at halftime during the football game on Saturday.
Edited by Claire Colby | firstname.lastname@example.org