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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


How the UA’s Homecoming committee picks royalty finalists

Mary Ann Vagnerova

With the help of the Tucson Fire Department, the University of Arizona upholds a long-standing school tradition by lighting a bonfire in front of Old Main every year for Homecoming. Along with performances from the Pride of Arizona marching band, this is also when the Homecoming king and queen are announced. This year, the UA Homecoming bonfire is scheduled for Oct. 28, at 7 p.m.

With Homecoming right around the corner, the Homecoming court is going through the final stages of review before the nominees are announced and a final king and queen are voted upon.

But what goes into choosing a Homecoming royalty finalists?

Marc Acuña, the senior director of alumni and student engagement at the University of Arizona and the advisor of the Bobcats Senior Honorary, went into detail as to how it works.

“There are two different parts. Mortar Board works and picks the top five kings and then Bobcats Senior Honorary picks and chooses the top five queens. So two separate committees work together and once they’ve chosen their top five each, then we come together to do the Homecoming festivities,” Acuña said.

Acuña has been the senior director for the last six years and manages the engagements as well as the student programming of student alumni and Bobcats Senior Honorary.

“The process for us [for Homecoming queen] is an interview. [First] you have to be nominated by a student organization, your student organization or another student organization can actually nominate you. Once you’ve been nominated you have to fill out an application. The application form asks questions, talks about your experience on campus as a leader. Once you fill out your application there’s a whole grading process, an interview process, a mixer process, it’s about a month and a half process. Once that happens, we narrow down the fifty [or] sixty applicants to our top five queens and then they go on to Homecoming olympics, they get voted on [and] all those pieces come together,” Acuña said.

Acuña is only one part of the Homecoming committee, but Nallely Gonzalez is a part of the other half, Arizona Mortar Board. As Homecoming Committee Chair, Gonzalez is one of the members that helps vote for the Homecoming nominees.

“Right now, currently, there’s three Homecoming chairs and our president, who’s been really involved this semester in setting up events to assess them [the nominees]. We also ask our mortar members to come and join these events and help us assess them. Obviously, there’s always going to be people that you know who have been nominated, and we try to keep it as unbiased as possible, so we try to get people who don’t know any Homecoming king nominees. We divide them up to go in sections specifically with Homecoming kings they don’t know. That way we keep it as unbiased as possible. I would say maybe about twenty people total of our members show up to events,” Gonzalez said.

Nallely Gonzalez has been a Homecoming committee chair since last semester and has taken on a more active role this semester with Homecoming.

“I think they [Homecoming king and queen] are important because they’re representatives of the school. It’s an honorable position and personally, for me, it would be an honor to be nominated, even though I’m just behind the process. They [the king and queen] represent the school in true spirit and what a Wildcat is. I think it’s important to have that representation of someone that when you look at them ‘that’s definitely a Wildcat’ like U of A material. It’s someone you just feel honored to know and have representing your school,” Gonzalez said.

The time and effort that goes into choosing the Homecoming court allow for brand new people to represent the Wildcat spirit and represent the school as a whole.

“The Homecoming Bonfire is just my favorite thing. As an alum [and] also as someone who actually manages it and puts on the event, it’s so cool to just see thousands of people, from kids to our legendary older alums, [attend]. We see this whole wave of alumni in blue as we light up the bonfire, and we crown the king and queen. It’s a really good celebration of what Homecoming is and what it truly means to be a Wildcat,” Acuña said.

The 2022 UA Homecoming king and queen will be crowned on Friday, Oct. 28 at the Homecoming bonfire.

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