The homecoming court was back in full for Homecoming 2021 at Shippensburg University. Each year, 10 students are voted onto the court and spend the next month volunteering and fundraising in hopes to be crowned as homecoming royalty.
Hayley Anderson, a senior psychology major was crowned one of this year’s homecoming royalty.
When students think of the homecoming court process, many are under the impression that it is only determined by voting, Anderson said. The actual process is more involved and requires plenty of time and dedication from the court members.
Running for homecoming court was “easily the most out-of-my-comfort-zone thing I’ve ever done,” she said.
On top of fundraising at least $1,000 each, candidates have to meet several requirements in order to be considered for a royal position.
Staying on top of an already busy schedule with the addition of fundraising and mandatory events was challenging, Anderson said.
“The time managements aspect was the most difficult just running all the times to make sure I was meeting all the requirements and expectations,” she said.
Each candidate is required to do five hours of community service, attend certain events, and be interviewed by the homecoming committee in the month leading up to the coronation ceremony.
Like most students, Anderson grew during her time in college. She became connected to the campus and joined several student groups, including the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. As she grew, Anderson did things she never though she would. So, when it came to running for homecoming court, “I thought that I might as well, top off the whole college career with something completely out of my comfort zone,” she said.
There were around 20 candidates campaigning to get on the court, Anderson said. In the weeks leading up to the preliminary voting, Anderson put up posters encouraging students to vote for her.
“I plastered campus with posters, I was running around campus like a crazy person,” Anderson said. The only downside — candidates had to take down all posters before the polls opened. After being voted onto the court, Anderson began her month-long journey to the coronation ceremony.
Most homecoming court members will team up to fundraise the $1,000 together. Anderson worked with Juliana Rehberg to raise money. They had two fundraisers, the first was a “Pie a Professor” event where students would buy a pie to (gently) throw at a professors face. The second was a photo opportunity where students could take a picture with Anderson’s service dog, Oliver, for $2. Oliver sported a crown and cape for the photos, Anderson said.
October passed by and soon it was the day of the coronation ceremony on homecoming weekend. During halftime of the game that would soon be another SU football victory, Anderson and the other nine candidates were presented on the football field.
Heralded by the Shippensburg University Marching Band and a cheering crowd, the homecoming court fanned out in a staggered V-shape facing the audience.
The candidates are awarded places numbers one through 10 by using a point system based on how they met the requirements for court over the past month. Four candidates were recognized and took pictures together. Next, the royalty runners-up were announced. When the fourth and final runner up was announced, it was set in stone — Anderson would be a homecoming royalty.
The experience was surreal, Anderson said when interviewed by The Slate just moments after the coronation ceremony. Anderson said she hadn’t been expecting to win — a sentiment which was visible on her face when she was presented to the audience as a royalty.
Even after the odd and challenging year of 2020, homecoming stood strong and was enthusiastically celebrated. The previous year, the coronation ceremony had been held outside of Gilbert Hall, and had fewer attendees than normal years. For 2021, this tradition was brought back in full force at the Seth Grove Stadium.
“To me it is the most humbling experience I have ever had and biggest honor I ever could have received because Shippensburg is a place that I could come into myself as a person,” Anderson said.