Video by Melissa Lewelling
Homecoming — It's something that many
students were introduced to in high school, a process that involved an election for a king and queen by popular vote and was often transformed into a popularity contest. However, as many of us matured once we got to college, so did Homecoming.
“The overall concept of a Homecoming king and queen is more … to award someone that has shown that they have a lot of dedication and involvement either on campus or in the community,” said Brea Watts, assistant marketing coordinator for Associated Students.
In order to run for Homecoming king or queen, certain qualifications must be met and specific paperwork must be submitted.
According to Sasha Bassett, a senior double major in behavioral science and sociology, who is running for Homecoming queen, applicants had to submit a nomination, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a resumé and every mention of them in the news.
Even though a nomination is part of the requirement, Watts said, “You can pretty much nominate yourself or nominate someone else as long as that person is a full-time student, has at least a 2.5 GPA and is in good standing with the university.”
According to Tiffany Wang, an event coordinator with A.S., there were 41 nominations for Homecoming, of
which 24 students actually applied.
After completing and submitting the paperwork, which last year’s queen Tanya Koroyan said was similar to applying for a job, applicants were called back for an interview with the judges.
The judging panel, which was put together by Wang, was made up of eight members.
This year’s judges were: Annie Blaylock, A.S. director of extracurricular affairs, Brandon Marquez, A.S. director of business affairs,
Cathy Busalacchi, a representative from student involvement, Hosna Omarzad, a representative from the alumni association , Bill McHargue, another representative from the alumni association, Rocco Fragomeni, a representative from housing services, Dona Nichols, a faculty representative and Dan Hackett, a representative from athletics.
During the interview process, each applicant was given five
questions and permitted one minute to answer each question.
Some applicants said they felt that this was enough time, but others wished they had more.
Natasha Kraljevski, a senior communication studies major, said, “I feel like I could have said a lot more."
With such a short amount of time, Koryn Dillard, a junior communications studies major, said she felt as if the judges may not have gotten to know her as well as they could have.
Bassett said there were so many applicants that the panel had to interview two people at a time instead of one as previously planned.
However, Bassett said she did appreciate having another person in the room with her during the interview process because it gave her time to think.
Unlike in high school, the students do not vote directly on which candidate they want to be Homecoming queen or king. Instead, the students are represented by one vote on the panel, the student involvement representative.
Watts said a reason why a panel of judges is used instead of a student vote is because “with 32,000 students here it would be really hard for a student that isn’t … well known on campus to run and get voted or even win.”
One of last year's Homecoming court members, Emerald Green, said, “I do think students should vote so that they can feel somewhat responsible for placing people on court.”
However, Adi Hod, a senior sports management major, said he felt that the judging should be left to a council of "wiser" representatives and alumni.
Most candidates actually fell somewhere in the middle when it came to the decision on student voting. Candidates Reilly Curtis and Shane Peters wanted students to be more involved in the voting process, but they didn’t want homecoming to turn into a popularity contest.
Rather than the current process, Bassett suggested having the students vote and then use the majority vote to make up one vote on the board.
Out of the 24 applicants, six were chosen to be this year’s homecoming princes and princesses.
According to Wang, the members of this year’s court are Felix Navarro, Daniel Harris-Lucas, Johnny Geoghegan, Alicia Ceniceros, Sasha Bassett and Diana Busaka.
One of the last events during Homecoming week is Fire on the Fountain, a celebration and SJSU tradition that gets the campus and community ready for the homecoming game.
Fire on the Fountain takes place on Tower Lawn today from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
According to Bradyn Blower, A.S. event coordinator for Fire on the Fountain, there will be free entertainment, activities and food at the event. At 8 p.m. the pep rally will take place, which involves the passing down of the crowns to this year’s Homecoming king and queen.
After being awarded the crown, the king and queen will be introduced again at half-time during the Homecoming game, which takes place on Saturday at 4 p.m against Wyoming State.
Although the Homecoming process is a bit extensive and somewhat stressful, Bassett said she would definitely recommend that students run for king or queen.
Last year’s queen, Koroyan, said that just being nominated was an honor, and that even if students don’t make it to court or win, it’s a really good experience. She said she learned a lot about herself by going through the Homecoming process.
Cesar Delgadillo, last year’s Homecoming king, said, “I think students should apply because their efforts matter. Our court should be representative of all of the amazing individuals on our campus and the great work that they do.”
Winning the Homecoming crown is more than just another award, Watts said.
"It's an honor that you can put not only on your resumé but personally makes you feel great," she said.