As Homecoming Week dawns on VCU’s campus, the preparations are almost complete, but one question still remains: Who will be crowned Homecoming King and Queen?
Nine seniors are up for this year’s king and queen, and five juniors for prince and princess, each representing an organization, from Alpha Gamma Delta to the Black Student Union. As a new event this year, freshmen and sophomores are also competing for the titles of lord and lady and duke and duchess. Chinyere Onyirimba, the court chair of the 2015 Homecoming Committee, said this change was implemented to get more students involved with homecoming.
“We wanted to include everyone and basically give everybody the opportunity to show maybe you are freshmen, but you love VCU, you came here, why?” Onyirimba said.
Voting for all titles will take place online from Monday Feb. 23 to Tuesday Feb. 24 through the myVCU Portal. The freshman lord and lady will be announced at the pep rally Wednesday night, the sophomore duke and duchess will be revealed at the Ram Fest concert Thursday night, the prince and princess will be presented at the “Reign of the Ram” pageant and the king and queen will be announced on game day.
However, before being crowned, the king and queen contestants will take part in a new pageant designed for students to see what the candidates are like. According to Onyirimba, the “Reign of the Ram” pageant will have four categories for contestants to complete, including an introduction, spirit wear, VCU trivia questions and a talent portion which is a lip-sync contest.
“We wanted to stay true to the lip-sync tradition that VCU has started so that’s definitely going to be a part of the pageant,” Onyirimba said.
While the pageant is an important part of the competition, the quest for the crown for many contestants has been going on for months. Shona Malhotra, a contestant for homecoming princess who will represent her co-ed pre-health fraternity Delta Epsilon Mu, said she’s worked toward becoming part of the homecoming court since last semester.
“When I was filling (the application) out I remember thinking … ‘What about you would best represent your junior class?’” Malhotra said.
Students were able to apply online and fill out a questionnaire including what organization they would represent. From there, they were invited to complete interviews with staff members of student organizations. According to Onyirimba, the criteria for homecoming court contestants is based on several factors.
“It wasn’t just based on academics but it was based on personality and why they love VCU and also what they do for VCU.” Onyirimba said.
Once the candidates were chosen, they were able to rack up points for turning in their application, completing the interview, and attending an information session.
From there, Malhotra said they will receive points for their participation in competitions for each class.
“We actually have a flyer competition for the junior class, so we all made flyers for promoting the homecoming week,” Malhotra said. “We’ve been trying to get everybody hyped up about it by telling everybody to go share their favorite flyer.”
Aside from competing, homecoming court contestants are also invited to attend every homecoming event for the week and wear their homecoming court sashes. Malhotra said this would be something new and different for her as a busy student.
“I’m really excited for everything,” Malhotra said. “I’ve never really been super involved with homecoming in the past, I didn’t really know about it.”
According to Onyirimba, this year’s Homecoming Committee wanted to reach those students like Malhotra who don’t know much about homecoming or who have never taken part in it.
“I want people to come out and enjoy themselves and just experience homecoming, especially our freshmen that have never experienced college homecoming,” Onyirimba said. “I think that it’s really important for them to come out and learn about the events and learn how they can get involved, especially if they want to try to help out for next year.”