HEC organizers prioritize inclusivity and love for the U

Student Government president and Homecoming committee member Jamie Williams poses at a station giving away cotton candy and caramel apples during the Opening Ceremony on Oct. 31. Photo credit: Sharron Lou

Get your megaphones, poms poms and orange and green attire ready, because it’s Homecoming week! All of the cheering, competitions and school spirit wouldn’t be possible without this year’s Homecoming Executive Committee (HEC).

The committee, which is composed of nine subcommittees and an executive board, has been preparing for this week since March 2022.

“The anticipation has been growing ever since and I cannot believe we are approaching Homecoming in just a few days,” said Lindsey Faucher, a junior international studies and psychology major who is one of the vice-chairs for HEC.

The committee has brainstormed and adapted exciting events for this year’s Homecoming including: Opening Ceremonies & ‘Canes Spirit Day, a Spirit Tree competition, a Royalty Pageant, Hurricanes Help the Hometown, an Organized Cheer competition, the Alma Mater competition and the Hurricane Howl block party.

“The planning process for Homecoming includes lots of creative freedom, need for organization and thinking about how we want to adapt certain events,” Faucher said. “First, we begin by looking at the big picture as we envision what exactly we want Homecoming to be for students.”

An obstacle the committee faced this year was figuring out how to make lasting Homecoming traditions more inclusive. For example, instead of a king and queen competition, there was now a royalty competition.

“Just the name alone, king and queen, has implied that only a certain gender — male or female — could win the competition,” junior psychology major and Royalty Committee co-chair, Kofi Bame, said.

The competition ran the same way it has in the past, just with a first, second, third and fourth place winner instead of a king, queen, princess and prince.

“Homecoming is all about expressing love for the U and uniting together as ‘Canes, so we hope to integrate ways to encourage this as we add to the old traditions,” Faucher said.

In order to ensure everyone could feel comfortable applying for the royalty competition, the committee worked with members of SpectrUM, the largest LGBTQ+ organization on campus.

“It’s just about giving everybody the opportunity to win a spot on the royalty committee,” Bame said.

Applications were opened for all students to participate in the royalty competition. The committee had 18 applicants, of which 12 finalists were selected to perform in the competition. Students were selected based on their knowledge of the university and talent abilities.

“I’m excited to see our finalists,” Bame said. “I know that they’ve been practicing so hard for this over the past several weeks.”

While the committee is entirely focused on making Homecoming the best it can be, the members have also made close friendships with each other throughout their time working together.

“My favorite part about being on HEC is the bonds that I’ve made with the committee,” Faucher said. “HEC is filled with student leaders from across campus, so having the opportunity to connect with such enthusiastic and passionate leaders is one that I don’t take for granted. As the week approaches, we create friendships that will last far beyond the week of Homecoming.”

The members of HEC set the example for the entire campus and are a true representation of what it means to be a Miami Hurricane. Students, faculty and alumni can credit all of the festivities to the individuals on the committee.

“I would say you kind of build up your love for the university over time,” Bame said. “You have this group to hang out with and grow with during Homecoming week [and] grow your love for the U. It’s a really good experience.”