Homecoming, and the selection of a king and queen, is a long-standing tradition that has prevailed with high schools and colleges across the United States. However, with the closure of this year’s homecoming celebration last week, it is time to look to the future of homecoming and how the competition will be judged next year.
Every year, the homecoming court is filled with men and women supported by various clubs and activities on campus. Then, a singular king and queen is found based on how well each candidate did in the homecoming competition.
Four aspects contribute to a candidate’s score, including a campus-wide vote, an interview, community service and fundraising. The male and female with the highest scores become the king and queen of that year. But is it time to change?
For example, if two female (or two male) candidates had the highest vote and performed the best during the interview process as well as volunteered the most and raised the most money, why should they both not be recognized because of their gender?
SU has done well to make the homecoming selection process less of a popularity contest and more of a celebration of dedication to one’s community. However, homecoming should not necessarily honor the highest-ranking man and woman — it should recognize the two individual candidates who worked the hardest to give back.
Homecoming Royalty Coordinator Elizabeth Yoder said that discarding the gendered roles on court would not have changed the result of the competition this year, however could it in the future?
Homecoming is a big event and including more people in the weekend’s activities could go a long way to benefit those in our community.
Over the past few weeks, Shippensburg University has faced some difficult challenges that have brought the campus together. A few weeks ago, a student was removed from the university for shouting racial slurs at her fellow students.
Over the years, traditions have not been forgotten, but rather modified to fit today’s shifting culture. We live in a time of adaptation. With the recent strides the LGBTQ+ community has made, it only makes sense for our generation to follow in history’s changing footsteps.
Shippensburg University makes it a priority to its Raider pride, any student who comes here is a Raider and has a voice on the campus. But why is there a divide between pride for its students and a gendered tradition?
Having all students honored and represented is what SU is all about. And while some may feel abandoning tradition is wrong and the custom of having a king and queen is an essential custom, hard work deserves to be recognized.
While we double-down and attempt to make students of all races feel welcome, we should also attempt to make students of other marginalized communities feel welcome as well.
A revised system of selecting homecoming monarchs would allow students who do not identify within gender binaries to participate. SU has not had any non-binary student run for a position on court in recent memory.
Though it is anyone’s guess as to why, perhaps removing the prerequisite for gender for homecoming would show these people they are welcome on the court.
Homecoming should be an activity that is inclusive of all, but rewards those who contributed the most to their community, regardless of gender.