In 1973 The Rocket ran a story on voting for a “homecoming person” to fit in with the recent cultural movement to be more gender inclusive. Now 45 years later an old idea was made new, and Slippery Rock University has fully embraced the idea of inclusivity in their homecoming royalty. This year instead of crowning a queen and king the top two voters getters will be crowned as members of homecoming royalty during halftime of this Saturday’s football game against Edinboro.
The purpose of homecoming is to bring Slippery Rock together as a community. It’s a weekend where alumni and students can bond over their ties to the university and remember what they love about Slippery Rock. The members of the homecoming court have always been meant to exemplify this, and be the individuals that came most about this campus and its students. Removing the arbitrary gender restrictions of king and queen allow the two individuals who best embody the spirit of h omecoming to represent the university. This is just the most recent of several steps SRU has taken to help students feel more welcome on campus. Administration took action two years ago to make sure that all students had access to a gender inclusive bathroom. Last year the newly formed Social Justice committee pushed to add the ability for students to change their name on D2L class lists and other university documents. While modernizing homecoming does not seem to be as pressing this long standing tradition at The Rock and around the country is one that everyone should feel comfortable participating in.
The university has also taken steps to make sure that no student feels that they can’t run due to a lack of funding. This year a fifty dollar cap was put on all spending for anyone running a homecoming campaign. The hope is that this will remove the expectation that candidates should buy food or treats to hand out to encourage students to vote or spend money on printing dozens of posters or other methods of advertising. The SGA will also be providing the cars for the homecoming parade so that students don’t have to worry about anything except running the best campaign they can.
With alumni coming back to campus, students are excited to be reunited with old friends and meet new ones. Organizations welcome back past alumni, teammates, brothers and sisters. As our community reunites for a celebration of Slippery Rock University, this year hopefully a few more students will feel welcome as part of the Slippery Rock family.