With Homecoming week comes a parade, and with every parade there is a king. Last year, it was Dillian Frelow, business management and marketing senior.
To become Homecoming king or queen, students run in campus elections. They must fill out an application and pay a $10 fee like anyone running for an ambassador or a senator position, Student Governance adviser Jennifer Taylor said.
While results for ambassador and senator positions are revealed on the last night of election, Homecoming king and queen are different.
The top three candidates for king and queen with the most votes are announced on election night. At the Homecoming basketball game, the two winners are announced, Taylor said.
Prior to the game, the Homecoming court participates in the week’s events. The parade and distinguished alumni awards are two of them, she said.
Before the king and queen are announced at the game, only Taylor and the Election Supervisory Board’s chairwoman know the Oct. 24 election results, she said. Other than some announcers who have the information in their scripts, no one else knows, Taylor said.
“We just have to keep a very big secret,” she said. “We want the announcement at the game to be the first time everyone hears.”
In order to win, Frelow had to campaign, he said. A rule in the election code, which is set by the board, states students can’t campaign with anything in writing, such as a flyer or social media post, until two weeks before the election, Taylor said.
However, students could verbally campaign. Whether that’s telling their friends to vote for them or attending student organization meetings and giving speeches.
The rule was put in place to prevent people from campaigning too far in advance. She said without it, students could technically begin campaigning for positions they plan on running for years in advance.
Aside from that, Taylor said students can get as creative as they want. She’s seen students make websites or T-shirts as part of their campaigns, she said.
To bypass that rule, Frelow said he campaigned by dropping a “coming soon” video, hinting toward his campaign. He also used social media to brand himself.
Thirty days prior to the election, he started a hashtag called “30 days of slay” on Instagram to promote his bid.
Although Frelow said popularity plays a role in winning, he said making connections with students is also important. Through the hashtag, Frelow said he made lasting friendships.
Another hashtag called “we’re all royalty” encouraged students to be proud of who they are, saying everyone has positive characteristics, he said.
“You have something you’re giving to the world that makes you royalty,” Frelow said.
Other universities tie additional obligations to their Homecoming king and queen, Taylor said. Completing community service hours is an example of what other schools may ask of them, she said. Therefore, having school spirit and being able to attend Homecoming festivities is a key part in being king or queen, she said.
The reason other things aren’t required within the position is because of a rule in the election code, she said. The code says the king or queen must be students when elected, Taylor said.
Because of this, students could technically be elected in the fall and graduate the same semester.
“That’s where the issue lies,” she said.
Since graduating would make it impossible for a king or queen to fulfill their duties, they aren’t given any.
Taylor said this issue hasn’t been brought up to the Election Supervisory Board.
While the board would need to update the election code, the Homecoming committee, which decides the roles of king and queen, would also be involved.
“If that’s something the campus is interested in, I think that the Election Advisory Board would be open to exploring that in cooperation with the Homecoming committee,” she said. “It would definitely need to be something both groups would have to work on.”