by Jayden Jones, Opinion Editor
This year, Homecoming at Aquinas College will look a little different.
Instead of crowning a Homecoming King and Queen, Aquinas will instead honor six Top Saints, students who have demonstrated their commitment to one of the four Dominican Pillars (prayer, study, service, and community). These students must have an exemplary GPA, as well as be involved in a plethora of organizations on and off campus.
By choosing to honor these Top Saints, Aquinas will depart from a tradition that has existed in universities since the early 1900s. Schools such as the University of Minnesota selected their homecoming queen based on her academic standing, physical appearance, and overall popularity. In this sense, the tradition of a Homecoming King/Queen can be deemed archaic and misogynistic–something that contemporary college students could reasonably leave behind without too many tears.
However, the idea of a Homecoming Court is an American institution imbued with nostalgia. Homecoming as a whole exists primarily for former students to return to their old stomping grounds and reminisce over days past. The Homecoming Queen in particular is a classic figure. Almost mythological, she appears in song lyrics, movie scenes, and TV shows. She is a symbol of potential, of youth. The crown atop her head represents something that all college students (and human beings) crave: undoubtable proof of belonging and acceptance. Not many of us can say that, given the chance, we would turn down the opportunity to be recognized by our peers as valuable members of a shared community.
Although this year Aquinas will not boast a Homecoming Queen, the six Top Saints that will be honored on Saturday, September 18th between the men’s and women’s soccer games will be selected, not for their universal popularity, but for their contributions to our AQ community. And whether or not you are disappointed by the absence of those quintessential sashes and crowns or enthusiastic about this change, this issue poses yet another opportunity for the Aquinas community to reflect.
As Aquinas charges into the future, decisions involving which traditions to honor and which to discard will only become more frequent. As an Aquinas community, we should constantly be revisiting our mission statement and asking ourselves: Who are we and how are we living it out?