Franchesca Perez and Larry Willis
Troy University’s 2015 Homecoming Court has been elected, with a 33 percent increase in voter participation this year compared to last.
According to the Student Government Association, 1,801 votes were cast during this year’s election, as opposed to the 1,346 votes cast last year.
Jennifer Jayjohn, Mackenzie Kayler, Raven Pasibe, Shelby Scott and Carlie Spencer have been elected to this year’s Homecoming Court.
The five were chosen from a total of 24 women nominated through various student organizations.
The Homecoming Queen will be chosen following an interview process. The results are based 60 percent on voting results and 40 percent on interview scores. The winner will be receiving a cash prize. The amount is yet to be determined.
Jennifer Jayjohn, a senior political science major from Spanish Fort, was nominated by the Troy University Cheerleading. Her platform is “Be Happy and Be Healthy.”
“It really is just a platform that supports positive body images and does that through the promotion of healthy lifestyles,” Jayjohn said.
Jayjohn said she personally developed negative body image issues when she initially came to Troy and became a college cheerleader.
“Being in the spotlight brings intense scrutiny, and with that came a lot of criticism of my weight and body,” she said.
Jayjohn said although she still struggles with confidence and how she perceives herself, she has learned that it’s not about a number on a scale but rather about living healthy.
“Working out, eating right and taking care of my body is what matters,” she said.
Jayjohn said she hopes to donate the proceeds to the construction of the recreational center planned to be built on campus, as well as organizing a 5K run to raise awareness about healthy living.
Another nominee hopes to promote a nonprofit dear to her heart.
“My platform is the Lutzie 43 Foundation, which was created in memory of Auburn football player Philip Lutzenkirchen, who passed away from a car accident,” said Mackenzie Kayler, a junior hospitality management major from Roswell, Georgia.
Kayler said her platform is important to her because Lutzenkirchen went to her high school.
The Lutzie 43 Foundation works to promote character development in young students and athletes, and their mentors through educational and service programs.
Kayler was nominated by the Kappa Delta sorority.
“I was very honored to be nominated because I just joined Kappa Delta this fall,” Kayler said. “So it was crazy to me that I was nominated when I hadn’t even gotten initiated to the sorority yet, but I’m an official sister now since I got initiated last Monday.”
Raven Pasibe, a senior broadcast journalism major from Dothan, was nominated by the Broadcasting Club.
Pasibe’s platform is “Celebrating Diversity: Culture with a Cause.”
“I decided to run because I felt like I had a great platform, and I felt like I knew a lot of students on campus,” Pasibe said. “I love the school, and I felt like I would be a great representative for the campus.”
She said her platform aims to unite students regardless of their background, to highlight diversity and to give back to the Troy Study Abroad program.
“As a university, we are so diverse,” Pasibe said. “We tend to stay in our comfort zones, and I would really love to see everyone come together and get to know the different aspects of our campus and celebrate the diversity that we have on our campus.”
Shelby Scott, a junior psychology major from Tallahassee, Florida, was nominated by the Student Government Association and is living a dream she has had since eighth grade.
“We started coming to Troy football games in the eighth grade, and the first one we came to was a Homecoming game,” Scott said. “When I saw the girls on the float, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I just think it’s an awesome way to spread the message about your platform.”
Scott’s platform is the Open Gym Program, which is sponsored through the First Baptist Church of Troy.
Open Gym is an after-school program held every Wednesday afternoon for elementary, middle school and high school students.
Students are taught Bible stories, fed pizza and given help on their homework.
Scott said that the program aims to provide a safe environment for students to take their minds off any problems they might have and in which they can build personal relationships with the staff.
The fifth nominee is Carlie Spencer, a junior mathematics major from Montgomery, and she was sponsored by the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
“It felt amazing,” Spencer said. “I didn’t think it was possible. I came from a high school with 350 students, and I was never nominated for Homecoming or Prom Queen.
“It didn’t hurt my feelings, but it just wasn’t a thing, to come to college and have that kind of support and encouragement is so humbling.”
Spencer’s platform is science, technology, engineering and math education and awareness.
“A lot of people don’t realize the need we have in the STEM fields,” Spencer said. “You want to get people excited about it in the elementary and high school levels, so that it can translate on a collegiate level.”
The winner will be announced during the Homecoming football game against the University of Idaho on Saturday, Oct. 17.
Edited Oct.9, 2015