Student Government Association President Heath Barton has a new title to add to his name: Hoopcoming King.
Barton won the title at the second annual Hoopcoming, held during the men’s basketball game against the University of South Alabama on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
Freshman Forum members, with the help of SGA and University Activities Council, created and established Hoopcoming during the 2014-2015 school year.
Hoopcoming, as shown by its play on words, is the basketball version of Homecoming, which is held during football season.
Seventeen organizations participated in the event by nominating and sponsoring one male participant to represent each organization.
Each nominee chose a local philanthropy for which he would raise money. A table of jars for each nominee was set up at the Trojan Center every day from Jan. 20 through Jan. 26.
Students, faculty and staff donated money to vote for their nominees of choice.
The candidate with the most funds collected would be crowned Hoopcoming King and receive all of the money raised by all of the candidates, giving the money to his chosen philanthropy.
As an individual, Barton raised $880.59, but a total of $2,525.72 was raised by all the nominees.
Barton, a global business major from Opp, was nominated by the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and will be donating the raised funds to McClelland’s Critters Zoo.
McClelland’s Critters originally started as a zoo for children with special needs to have an opportunity to come and feed the animals, but in order to offset the cost of feeding the animals, the zoo was opened up to the public.
“I chose McClelland’s because of what Mr. Mike, the owner, has done for me,” Barton said. “Having volunteered for him in the past, he has really shown to me a passion for not only something he loves, but for assuring smiles on so many people’s faces, including Troy University students.”
Meredith Durden, a sophomore global business major from Montgomery and Freshman Forum co-director, helped plan the event this year alongside her committee members.
“Hoopcoming is a great way to unify Troy’s campus and break barriers between different organizations,” Durden said. “We hope that through this event we (are) able to host a night full of fun and Trojan pride for all Troy students while supporting our basketball team.”
Joshua Whiteborn, a freshman athletic training major from Texarkana, Texas, and chairperson of Hoopcoming, emphasized the importance of giving back to the community.
“It’s really important to give to philanthropies because as single people, it’s hard to make a change in the world, but when we all come together to donate to events like Hoopcoming, we can truly make a difference in the lives of people around us,” Whitehorn said.
A doughnut-eating competition was also organized during halftime at the game. Brad Watts, a senior history major from Mobile who was nominated by the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, won the competition.
A photo-sharing competition was also organized on Facebook. Barton also won that with 10,018 shares.
Freshman Forum looks forward to continuing on the tradition next year and for many years to come.