Students elected to represent the university for homecoming

Kyla D'Arensbourg, Garrett Buras and Alberto Valenzuela helped with the Student Government Association polling location table in the Student Union Breezeway to promote the 2017 Homecoming Court elections. Zachary Araki/The Lion's Roar

The 2017 Homecoming Court was elected by 2923 students to represent the university.

The election opened Sept. 11 at 8 a.m. and closed Sept. 13 at 4:30 p.m. Of the 24 women who ran, Tara Babin, Cierra Calloway, Mattie Hawkins, Corinne Kirkland, Ali LeBourgeois, Cydney Menina and Gabrielle Reynolds were elected. Bryce Carpenter, Bryce Cothern, Daniel Cuevas, Richard Davis Jr., Matthew Graham, Austin Henderson and Richard “Bubby” Mathis Jr. were elected out of the 10 men who ran.

 “I’m super excited,” said Calloway, a senior family and consumer sciences major. “I am on cloud nine. I can’t wait to begin this process. It’s gonna be so much fun. I’m so excited, and I cannot wait. I’m so honored that the student body chose me as one of the few to represent the university on its Homecoming Court.”

 

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Every year, students are elected to the Homecoming Court to be a face for the university.

“Having Homecoming Court is that representation of homecoming,” said Cothern, a senior kinesiology major. “It’s bringing back people that were graduates of Southeastern and people that were on court in the past. It’s an honor to be on court, and it also makes you want to come back and see who else gets on court coming around next year. It’s also an awesome thing to be able to represent your entire university while doing it.”

Mathis, a junior marketing major discussed why he decided to run.

“Throughout the past three years at Southeastern, it’s kind of shaped me into the man I am today,” said Mathis. “I’ve learned so much about myself, and I want to represent our university in any way I can because of that, so it really had me motivated to run for court because I feel like that’s the perfect ideal representation of what being a Southeastern student’s like. I really wanted to be able to show that.”

Cothern saw the 2017 Homecoming Court as another connection to the university.

“I was born and raised in Hammond literally half a mile away from campus, and my grandparent’s house is about two blocks away from campus,” said Cothern. “Growing up here, this campus has actually been a part of my entire life. Being able to be on court kind of shows support of the university and how it’s made me grow as a person.”

Mathis felt honored to be included in the history of men elected to the Homecoming Court.

“I know how many gentlemen walked down this court before, and I know all those gentlemen had a very positive influence on Southeastern’s campus,” said Mathis. “To be considered one of those guys, it’s just mind blowing, and I’m still in shock about it honestly. I’m so excited for homecoming.”

The Student Government Association planned to implement an updated voting system but placed it on hold for the next election.

“We wanted to have a new system, just kind of update it,” said SGA Chief Justice Ali LeBlanc. “You know like when you have an iPhone and it still works, but it’s really old? We’re gonna use that one, but when we were testing it, we had a few issue. We didn’t want to risk it pretty much not working this election so we were like ‘Let’s just use the old one.’”

Campaigning had to be face-to-face or through social media without spending any money.

“My main way of going about campaigning was just don’t change,” said Mathis. “Be the same person you are every day, and if it’s really meant to be, that’s what’s going to put me on court.”

Graham, a junior nursing major shared his campaign strategy.

“I’ve done a lot of social media, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, asking people not to just vote for me but to just go out and vote,” said Graham. “You never know who someone’s gonna vote for, but it’s okay if they don’t vote for me. I mean, everybody has different opinions, but I’ve also gone to different freshman classes and told them how to vote just so kids know how to vote. I told them the link and stuff just so more people vote, so we have a bigger outcome.”

As chairperson of the election board, LeBlanc has been involved in running informational meetings with the candidates as well as monitoring and promoting the election.

“Me, along with the election board, which one of my advisors is on there, we kind of put in everyone’s information,” said LeBlanc. “We’re the ones kind of monitoring the system, making sure no one’s breaking the rules of the election code, making sure the system runs properly.”

SGA set up a polling station in the Student Union Breezeway to promote the 2017 Homecoming Court elections.

“It’s just a way for people, when they walk by they don’t know about it, they know, ‘Oh, I can go vote here,’” said LeBlanc “Everyone can vote at home or on their phone. It’s not like it’s mandatory that we’re there for everyone to vote. We’re just there to promote it.”

LeBlanc attributed the amount of participation partly to timing.

“We have a lot of eager freshmen,” said LeBlanc. “I think maybe because homecoming ran a little early that we’re getting more participation. I don’t know why, but from past elections, I think we’re getting more participation than usual.”

 

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