10 candidates vie for Homecoming court

Over the past few decades, homecoming at Minnesota State University, Mankato has been filled with festivities to celebrate school pride. Homecoming royalty is one of the many activities planned for students, as it gives them an opportunity to express their school pride. 

Each candidate is expected to meet each of the requirements set forward by the Student Events Team. 

These requirements, as listed on the website, entail each candidate to have completed at least 30 credits at MNSU, hold at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA, be enrolled in at least six credits that semester, and complete the royalty application form.

This year, there are 10 candidates running for the chance to show their Maverick pride and influence other students to do the same. Audrey Hopwood, Joey Novack, Samuel Hodgson, Macee Reinardy, Emma Gabbert, Arnavee Maltare, and Jordan Quam are all entered to win their chance of becoming royalty.

Why did you decide to run for royalty?

Audrey Hopwood- “I think the main reason I wanted to run was to show leadership and involvement for other people on campus. As a CA, I’m a resource on campus and I wanted to show that to my residents. Especially this being a PWI, a primary white institution, I think that it’s also kind of unique that I can be picked to represent our school being a person of color and being Black to show other Black women that they can also get on royalty. People are nervous to get outside of their comfort zone because they don’t see other women doing it, or they don’t see other people that look like them doing it.”

Joey Novak- “I decided to run because when I found out last year that the homecoming court was gender neutral I was really inspired by that. I really love that because at my old high school it was one guy and one girl and they were the Homecoming King and Queen, and it felt very exclusive and I wasn’t really able to participate in that. I’m someone with a lot of school spirit, so I was like ‘Hell yeah, I want to be a part of this tradition.’”

Samuel Hodgson- “I think as a senior, I’ve done a lot at MSU over the past four years and this was kind of the last big thing for me. I started thinking about it a couple months ago and decided I wanted to commit to it fully. It’s the last thing I can do to kind of represent the student body as a whole. I gotta show other students, younger students especially, what can happen your entire four years at MSU. As you progress there’s a lot of great things that can come out as being a student here.”

Macee Reinardy- “It’s something I normally wouldn’t do. As an engineering major, I’m not outgoing but my personality pushed me to do something different. Last semester, I wanted other people to recognize me as a woman in engineering. I want them to be able to come up to me with questions.”

Emma Gabbert- “I was a freshman in 2018 and I was very good friends with Emily, who was the homecoming queen that year. It looked like so much fun, all of the events they had, so I decided to run.”

Arnavee Maltare and Jordan Quam (running jointly)- Maltare: “When I got here I got in the Student Events Team and I have been heavily involved in campus. I believe if you represent your school it’s an honor. I was hesitant about running, but my friends told me to do it so I did.”

Quam: “I’m from Mankato and grew up here. As a child I would come to the football games and homecoming parade. Being on the court is a good way to use my platform for good, especially for mental health and domestic violence awareness. Arnavee and I are also involved in many of the same things together on campus, but we also both do different things. We wanted to show that we can come together.”

What is expected of candidates to be considered? What questions were asked in the interviews?

Hopwood- “If you do the interview and you represent the school well and you’re involved in a lot of things or represent diversity in some sort of way, I think that’s really where the importance of getting onto the homecoming court was. I think the main thing they were really intrigued on was what one thing you didn’t do well on, but still succeeded later on.”

Novak- “I think it’s based on picking somebody that will be a good role model and a good representation of the college because when they’re picking the royalty it’s meant to be picking somebody that kind of symbolizes the student body, and I believe they want somebody that has a lot of school spirit, is a kind and outgoing person that’s able to pass that school spirit on to other people as well as passing on a positive spirit in general as well as motivating people to have a great day.”

Reinardy- “They wanted people that stood out as far as diversity goes. There’s a lot of candidates that represent different groups on campus. I think they choose people based on what they do on campus, how others can look up to them.”

Gabbert- “They asked what hoco royalty means to use and I said it represents what makes Mankato great, academics and involvement, working for the community.”

Maltare and Quam- Maltare: “They looked at the overall performance of the person.”

Quam: “Academics were very important to them. We got asked what homecoming royalty means to us and why we ran. They understood that mistakes aren’t going to be the defining notion of someone, but they wanted to know how we grew from our mistakes.”

What are some things students should know before voting for you?

Hopwood- “I think my big involvement with diversity and how big it is to me. I’m in student government and one of my projects last year was to bring more diversity to Julia Sears because I was the only Black CA that was a woman there. If people are going to vote for me I want them to know that I want everybody to be inclusive and to be involved. I just want everybody to come as one and come together instead of being divided. I want them to know that I’m here to support everybody.”

Novak- “I like to think of myself as someone who is able to be very positive and try to brighten everyone’s day. I try to make it my personal mission to always be very positive and uplifting to everybody I interact with. I try to dish out compliments like there’s no tomorrow. Whether that makes me unique among the candidates or not, that’s alright. I’m just trying to spread as much positivity as I can.”

Hodgson- “If I won, the recognition I would use to spread positivity. The message I would spread is that if you really pursue things and get involved in the things you like, like I did, a lot of stuff can change for the better. I would like to continue showing what it means to be a Maverick and representing school pride at all times.”

Reinardy- “I am representing a different side of the campus that you generally don’t see. Engineers don’t really stand out, so I want to bring recognition to the other side of campus.”

Gabbert- “I’m a huge advocate for accessibility resources for ADHD, and having this visibility to disability is something we need to recognize. In Mankato everyone celebrates their differences.”

Maltare and Quam- Maltare: “We bring the best of both worlds and we try to represent different areas in the best possible way we can. We love working for students and this is an important step to being involved. We have worked a lot for the school and there’s more we can do.”

To vote for the homecoming royalty court, click the link on the Student Event Team’s website. Voting closes on Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m., with winners announced shortly after. 

Header photo from Homecoming week 2018.

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