Homecoming royalty chosen

Monica LaBelle

It doesn’t matter if a candidate has the prettiest face on campus and it doesn’t matter if a candidate is the teacher’s pet.
The selection process for royalty candidates at the University is different than the usual high school homecoming experience because the emphasis is on leadership.
“It’s not your typical popularity contest,” said sophomore Teresa Acker, a royalty candidate from Sanford Hall.
“Anybody is eligible to run. Primarily people who are affiliated with an organization,” said senior Melissa Steenhard, royalty co-chair for the 2000 Homecoming Executive Committee.
This year’s candidates are a mix of members from the Greek community, residence halls and those not affiliated with either organization.
Royalty court members are the product of a selection process that lasts two weeks and is judged by staff of the Alumni Association and the Campus Involvement Center.
To enter, student must complete an application that includes five essay questions asking them what volunteer activities they have been involved with, how they show support for the University, what they would bring to Homecoming Court, their hobbies and their strengths and weaknesses.
Steenhard said 63 students made the first round of the competition.
Once they’ve been accepted based on their application, the royalty candidates are encouraged to participate in events to promote school spirit and to benefit Caring and Sharing Hands, an organization that benefits the inner city poor.
“My favorite thing so far was collecting the cans in the neighborhood,” said Kristina Robertson, who was chosen to represent her sorority Alpha Phi. “We have a bunch of boxes full of food.”
On Tuesday, candidates who were told Sunday they passed the second round can participate in the Royalty Cow Milking at St. Paul Gym field at 3 p.m., followed by a milk chugging contest.
“Some of the guys last year drank the actual milk from the cows but I don’t think you have to do that,” said Derrick Lewis, a royalty candidate representing Pioneer Hall.
Candidates are also challenged to express themselves artistically, in a visual essay that is supposed to represent who they are. Lewis had planned to make a model of an atom that would represent parts of his life including his family and dog.
“I’ll be the nucleus and everything will be spinning around,” said Lewis, a physics major.
Royalty who have passed the second round will participate in an interview to determine whether they will be eligible for the final round.
“Participation is going really well,” said Steenhard. “There are always people who stick out.”
Royalty candidacy is not just a chance to sell buttons to raise money for charity and to play Twister at the Royalty Olympics. Royalty Court may also be a way for two campus communities to mingle more.
“It’s a great way to meet people from the Greek community,” said Acker.
Not all of the residence halls and Greek chapters are represented in the pool of royalty.
University Village, for example, is not represented in the royalty competition.
“Nobody wanted to run and the people who did didn’t get a chance to because they didn’t get their stuff in on time,” said Gabe Zeigler, a liberal arts student and president of University Village.
One candidate says the experience is worth the effort it takes to run for king or queen.
“It heightens the college experience. You get to know the school a lot better and you get to meet fascinating people,” Lewis said.
King and queen will be announced at the Homecoming Coronation, Bonfire and Pepfest in “the pit” behind the St. Paul Student Center at 7 p.m. Friday.