Reflections of Homecoming royalty
The tradition of homecoming is quintessential, time-honored and appreciated by students and alumni alike. Homecoming weekend was thick with pride for the heritage of our great university, its achievements and its future. Of course, the homecoming festivities wouldn't be complete without its royalty.
This year, the titles of king and queen were granted to Yezan “iPod” Hassan and Kiana Adams-Baker. While only one king and queen are chosen, all the nominees were deserving individuals with impressive repertoires and achievements. Last week, I was fortunate enough to interview the 2017 Homecoming Court, ask them some questions and get a sense of their take on why homecoming is a vital facet of the university experience.
The Homecoming Court is composed of individuals from a range of organizations and initiatives who have been nominated to vie for the position of king or queen. A few of the organizations include Chain Gang Junior Honorary, the UA Black Student Union, UA Cheer, Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Sigma Omega and Kappa Kappa Gamma. Due to their heavy involvement in campus organizations, I began the interview with questions about their campus experiences: Why did you choose the University of Arizona? What is your area of study? Which other activities are you involved in?
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The group was certainly diverse in both background and campus experience; however, a few common denominators stood out as a reason for choosing the UA: opportunities, school pride and a great set of athletics programs. A variety of majors were represented, too, including political science, economics, broadcast journalism, ecology and physiology, just to name a few. In addition, the nominees were involved in many other organizations and initiatives, such as UA Pom Line, Sophos Sophomore Honorary, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate, as well as many research operations including research on rattlesnakes.
Next, the nominees were asked to recall their experiences with Homecoming and the UA experience: What is your favorite Wildcat tradition? What changes and initiatives are you excited about on campus? Why is Homecoming important to you, and how does it improve the greater campus atmosphere?
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Favorite Wildcat traditions were as simple as the playing of the fight song after athletic victories, the architecture of Old Main and other classic UA buildings to large annual events like Spring Fling, Homecoming and bashing Arizona State under any circumstances. Some exciting changes that the nominees mentioned include our new university President Dr. Robert Robbins and his hands-on leadership approach, new learning spaces, research opportunities and exterior cooperation, including the UA Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory. In addition, it was brought up that the university has increasingly become more diverse in all respects, which brings new insights and conversations to the UA. Finally, the Homecoming Court found that these types of traditions foster a sense of spirit, unity and belonging.
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