Nothing says fall at college like homecoming festivities. Here at the University of Connecticut, that includes the Student Union Board of Governors Homecoming Pageant and Alma Mater. On Tuesday night at the Student Union, Jayson Gilbert and Lauren Lopes were crowned Homecoming King and Queen. Julian Yuliawan was the first Homecoming King runner-up, and Nikita Roy was the first Homecoming Queen runner-up. The team of Alpha Delta Phi, Alpha Kappa Lambda and Gamma Phi took the title as Alma Mater winner as well.
The pageant opened with an introduction of all the contestants, including the sorority, fraternity or group they represented and a brief overview of their involvement on campus. The rest of the pageant was broken up by the Alma Mater performances and the categories for the night: costumes, performances, evening wear and questioning.
The contestants all chose very unique costumes that corresponded with their own personalities and the group they were representing. Gilbert and Lopes, who represent Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Phi, both chose costumes that carried the “Beauty and the Beast” theme. Lopes wore a yellow dress, like Belle, and ivy leaves in her hair to represent her sorority, while Gilbert dressed like Cogsworth and used symbols instead of numbers to represent his interests.
The performance section of the pageant showcased the contestants’ array of talents. Most of the contestants chose to sing, many of them taking on their own renditions of popular songs. Between all of the singing and Devon Marcoux hurdling over a trash can, Roy’s Bollywood-hip hop fusion dance really stood out. Needless to say, all of the contestants were extremely talented and amazed the audience.
The final section of the pageant had contestants answer questions revolving around campus life and their experience at UConn, all while dressed up in evening wear. All of the ladies looked absolutely beautiful in their gowns and dresses and the men looked equally handsome in their suits. The question topics ranged from new clubs to improving inclusiveness on campus, giving the contestants a chance to express their concerns about the campus community. When looking at UConn Royalty as a group of individuals meant to represent the student body, it is refreshing to see that they are in touch with a wide range of the needs of students here, from mental health support to the feeling of being included.
The pageant ended with the crowning of Gilbert and Lopes as Homecoming King and Queen. To even qualify to be part of the pageant, participants must undergo a group interview and Royal Court Voting to make it into the top candidates for the pageant. The whole process takes place from the end of September until homecoming. Until then, contestants prepare and work towards the crown.
“I was actually extremely nervous for this,” Gilbert said. “In preparation, I said I needed to fill up my sound so I asked my brother Jake Rudolph and my buddy Narineh Torosyan from A Minor to join for background vocals…Needless to say being crowned Homecoming King is such a huge honor…it is so humbling.”
Lopes had similar feelings about the pageant and her new title.
“I feel really excited to be part of the whole thing,” Lopes said. “Everyone in the court was so talented and kind…It was just a really great experience all around.”
Be sure to catch the newly crowned King and Queen, as well as other royalty, during the other homecoming events this week.
Armana Islam is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.