Thousands of schools throughout the country celebrate the time-honored tradition of homecoming. The University of Utah is celebrating homecoming Oct. 13 through Oct. 20. There is a week full of campus activities like Songfest, Greek House Decorating and of course, the homecoming football game. This year’s theme for homecoming is “One U.” The university is focusing on the importance of each individual student and how they can contribute to the whole of the U.
Throughout homecoming celebrations, students can participate in the passing down of the Homecoming Royalty Crowns. This is one of the greatest traditions here at the U. The nomination of the Royalty Court is a wonderful way to focus on the idea of “One U,” as it recognizes those students who own who they are, work hard for their education and strive to honor the U and its history.
What is Royalty Court?
Katie Boonkrataung from the ASUU Traditions Board shared with The Daily Utah Chronicle information regarding the time-honored tradition. Royalty is headed by the Traditions Board and ASUU Alumni Association. In the initial royalty application, the Royalty Court is described as “an honored and long standing tradition of the University of Utah’s Homecoming celebration. The royalty nomination and selection process is a tremendous opportunity to showcase and recognize a few of the many outstanding students at the University of Utah.”
Over 80 students applied for the seven royalty positions available. All applications go through intense review, leaving the final selection pool at 15 candidates. Boonkrataung stated how through intense interviews, these semi-finalists are then judged based upon “their appreciation for traditions, campus involvement and leadership, commitment to academics, enthusiasm, connection to the homecoming theme and overall presentation.” Most of the month of September is spent working on the nomination process.
These students are not just working towards Royalty Court for the label. They are in this crazy process to receive even more funding for their education here at the U. The final seven people elected receive a $1000 scholarship, sponsored by the ASUU Alumni Association.
Other than receiving the title of “Homecoming Royalty” and the scholarship, these students do have extra responsibilities during homecoming week. The Royalty Court becomes the face of the U at all the homecoming events. “This includes being recognized, judging, and/or attending: Songfest, the Homecoming Crimson Night Dance, the football game against the University of Southern California Trojans, a house decorating contest, movie on the field event at Rice-Eccles, the Homecoming 5k and [of course] the pre-game tailgate party,” said Boonkrataung.
Who is our Royalty Court?
On Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, the Homecoming Royalty Court was finally selected. The seven outstanding individuals are Daniel von Wallwitz, Mitchel Kenney, Michael Montgomery, Simon Greenhalgh, Courtney Passey, Jackie Larsen and Janet Tran. These upperclassman represent the student voice during homecoming week.
Daniel von Wallwitz is a junior going for a double major in Accounting and Quantitative Analysis of Markets and Organizations (QAMO). Mitchel Kenney is also a junior, majoring in Finance with the idea of law school ahead of him. Another junior, Michael Montegomery is a chemistry major. Senior Simon Greenhalgh is a double major in Business Administration and Parks, Recreation and Tourism. He is also the captain of the Men’s Ultimate team. Courtney Passey, a Delta Gamma sorority member, is also in her senior year at the nursing school. With goals to move on to medical school after graduation, Jackie Larsen is finishing up her senior year in Biology. Finally, Janet Tran is a first-generation college student majoring in Management and International Studies.
Why did they want to be on the Royalty Court?
As mentioned before, the nomination of the Royalty Court is a wonderful way to focus on “One U.” But what does the theme mean to our newly elected homecoming court? Larsen described it as “a way to enhance the connections of students to each other and faculty…the creation of one cohesive unit.”
As a legacy student, Kenney said, “the U has always been an important part of my life, its part of me and my family.”
Not only is the heart of royalty to continue traditions, but as a court member, Tran reminds us that we get to be here to create a legacy and set the standard for all those following us. This is one of the most important missions of the royalty court. As upperclassmen here at the U, they have a love for and treasure their education. They just want to give back in some way. Even if it means leaving just a little bit of inspiration for all those to come, it will have been worth it. Greenhalgh explained it perfectly when he said, “It’s like the cherry on top of the last four years.”
Homecoming Week, serving as homecoming royalty and working towards finishing your undergraduate education are some ways to leave your mark on the U and celebrate all the hard work. Congratulations to our homecoming Royalty Court. Be sure to go support these amazing people at the home football game on Oct. 20 as they are crowned and recognized for work well done.