SRU’s 2022 homecoming week, celebrated from Oct. 10-15, featured student royalty, mascots and a heavy dose of nostalgia.
Seniors Scott Hardy and Pasha Avdejevs were crowned homecoming royalty.
“Court is announced [at the pep rally] the day before the homecoming game,” Hardy said. “The people that are in the top 10 make it to court…you find out if you win at the game during halftime.”
This year, 24 nominees competed for the winning title. In order to run, a candidate must be nominated by a registered student organization or residence hall. Each organization is allowed to nominate two individuals.
In place of a homecoming king and queen, the school began using the term “royalty” to ensure a more inclusive space for students.
Hardy, who ran alongside his best friend Avdejevs, began his campaign as soon as homecoming week kicked off.
“On Monday when voting started, I had Santa Claus and the old Rocky in the quad with me,” he said. “We baked over 500 cookies and said it was ‘Santa’s secret recipe.’ Santa and Rocky then urged passers-by to vote for [us].”
To Hardy, winning felt like “a sigh of relief.”
“There were a lot of expectations because we put so much work in, but it was fun overall,” he said, “Either way, we were [going to be] content. If we lost, it was okay, but we did put a lot of work into it.”
However, there was a lot more to the 2022 homecoming than student royalty.
Just before homecoming week began, the university announced a fundraiser to release the old Rocky mascot for a single game. The anthropomorphic rock has remained a fan favorite since his retirement in 2000.
Administrators asked the SRU community to raise $22,000 as “bail” for the relic. After a series of donations, mainly from alumni, plus $2,000 from President Behre, the campaign was successful and vintage Rocky made an appearance during halftime at the game.
“When everyone realized Rocky was there, the crowd went wild,” freshman saxophone player Lamont Williams said.
Both old and new Rocky made appearances at the parade before the game.
To honor the theme “Feeling ‘22,” a reference to the Taylor Swift song, student organizations created song-themed floats. Some of the songs used for inspiration were Dancing Queen by ABBA, Born This Way by Lady Gaga and Roar by Katy Perry.
As patrons made their way over to the Mihalik-Thompson Stadium parking lot after the parade, they were welcomed with the Rock the Block Tailgate Festival. There, participants could play games, ride a mechanical bull, listen to live music and more.
There were also fun activities for students during the week leading up to the game. On Oct. 11, a blast from the past event took place during common hour. Located in the quad, the event was 2000s-themed and featured musical chairs, voter registration tables, inflatable games and other activities.
“I liked seeing [current] Rocky play musical chairs at Blast from the Past,” Williams said. “He is an important part of connecting the community to SRU when they have events like this.”
Several students and alumni also expressed their gratitude toward the school for aiming to bring the community closer together.
“My favorite part of homecoming was…seeing school pride,” Hardy said.