While most of the student body at Jacksonville State is settling back into their daily routines, members of the Student Senate are preparing to make a decision regarding one of the most sentimental traditions on campus: Homecoming elections.
Since the beginning of last semester, members of the Student Senate have been contemplating how to ensure that students can get the most out of the experience that is Homecoming week. Surprisingly, this could mean the end of the Homecoming pageant.
Each fall, Homecoming week symbolizes the “official” start of a new academic year. New faces finally start to get a little more familiar, freshmen start to break out of their shells, and everyone begins to enjoy the scenery that fall brings. Flyers for door decorating competitions, dress-up days, and other activities meant to encourage every student to get into the spirit of JSU can be seen posted all over campus. It is the banners, though, that really mean that Homecoming is near. When the banners go up, things are really getting good.
The race for Homecoming King and Queen has been in place for as long as most people at Jacksonville State can remember. Propaganda trying to persuade passerby to vote one way or another can be seen almost everywhere within the Jacksonville city limits.
Traditionally, candidates for King and Queen get sponsored through an organization of their choosing for a small fee. Then, the JSU Homecoming Pageant is held to determine the top ten candidates. From there, students select the top five candidates from a voting process, and then finally the King and Queen are selected through the same means.
This process, many people have noticed, can take quite a lot of time and effort for everyone involved. Several other public universities across the nation have done away with a Homecoming pageant, simply because it only elongates the process.
“We started planning the pageant last year when I took office in mid-April,” says Brett Johnson, the vice president of the Student Senate. “That time spent on the Homecoming pageant could be focused on the rest of the week’s activities. It could also keep the students from getting even more bogged down from the election scene.”
Kalyn Cabral, the head of the Homecoming committee, stated, “I thought the pageant wasn’t all that necessary. Why have judges when the students should be the ones picking their King and Queen? Some people say that the judges limited the ‘popularity vote’, but we’re in college. Popularity isn’t necessarily a pretty face. In college, popularity is getting involved, standing up, and being the voice of the people.
“The bill also limits the number of participants that organizations could sponsor from four to two, reducing the need for the judges in general. On several occasions, the pageant portion of the campaign is what held people back from running,” Cabral said in regards to the upcoming bill.
The new bill is tentatively set to be voted on by the JSU Student Senate during their meeting on Monday, February 3rd.