Seniors, Patrick Marasco of Beta Theta Pi, and Kat Wright of Delta Gamma were crowned SMU’s 2020 Homecoming King and Queen during halftime of the SMU vs. Cincinnati football game on Oct. 24. The candidates were nominated through their paired Greek community organizations and decorated their float and Peruna cut-out inspired by the theme of “Talladega Nights”. Wright spoke with the Daily Campus about her thoughts on winning the title of Homecoming Queen:
How did you feel when you learned you were nominated?
“I was beyond excited. It had always been a dream of mine to represent Delta Gamma on the homecoming court. I was Homecoming Queen at my high school and I’ve just always wanted to be on SMU’s Homecoming Court and represent Delta Gamma because those girls were immediately the ones that stood out to me when I arrived on campus. They were the most well-rounded, outgoing, involved individuals, and I wanted to be an accurate representation of them.”
Homecoming looked a lot different this year because of COVID-19. What changes did you notice and do you think they made the event any more or less enjoyable?
“It definitely was different. In the past, we’ve gone hours on end in the evenings pomping for our float and this year the float requirements were a lot less demanding so we were able to actually execute our float fully over the weekend prior to the homecoming week. That kind of alleviated a lot of stress during that week and, of course, the philanthropy component and in-person components looked different. I mean, there was no parade, there was no field day—as I know there has been in the past—and there was no in-person service requirement, so it was a lot less stressful during the actual week. It was less demanding, but I feel as though it still didn’t take away the hype. Social media was a place where people were constantly staying informed and showing their support and appreciation. I felt people almost overcompensated in that dimension which was really fun because I’ll be able to treasure those graphics and videos forever and keep them for my SMU Facebook album and for my children and future generations.”
What was your favorite part of homecoming this year?
“My favorite part was participating in rock the vote and finally being able to convene with all the deserving candidates in person. I just felt as though they were such well-rounded representatives of SMU. Really, at that point, I had no anticipation of winning. I was like everyone here is just so well-spoken and just so charming and they just had the most eloquent answers to every single interview question. It was very intimidating but also very exciting being out there with all the candidates. I think I only did not know two of them out of the 27 candidates. They are all people that I have really gotten to know and that have made such a strong impression on me so it was just so exciting to share this opportunity with them.”
How did you feel when you heard you won?
“I was just elated and just shaking, honestly, when I heard the news. I just had a lot of high hopes but I felt as though Delta Gamma and Beta started to really decline in the competition. At first, we had the most views on social media with our little video component and we had pretty good support on those social media platforms, but then our float design didn’t really compare adequately to the other float designs and the same with the Peruna. I felt like we were kind of slacking in that dimension and I knew that a lot of the candidate points derived from the team’s points so I was a little nervous getting up there. I was kind of resigned, like no matter what happens, it’s a privilege to be up here and I’m proud to represent Delta Gamma. Then, I just had this feeling after they announced the runners up like maybe it could be me. Within seconds of that realization, they announced it. I was just over the moon excited and was able to celebrate with my family and friends all rest of the game, which was really fun.”
How did you celebrate?
“I felt as though my celebration was a lot of intentional get-togethers, it wasn’t just mass groups of friends—it was maybe two or three friends, and then we’d do dinner with them or we’d do lunch with them in these restaurant scenes that of course have all their COVID policies in place to where it made us feel comfortable. My grandparents have been super cautious with COVID but they actually decided to make the journey down here because they were comforted by the fact that SMU required masks at the game and social-distanced their fans. We just worked around the policies and requirements and made the most of it.”
What are you going to remember most about SMU?
“Really what made the strongest impact on me, in the beginning, is what will stay with me at the end. The enthusiasm that this campus envelops our students in is something I just was so comforted by. When I initially arrived, I felt as though I could be unapologetically myself while on campus. I felt as though whenever I visited other college campuses, I had to be some really sophisticated, watered down, dull version of myself and I felt as though at SMU, they reciprocated my enthusiasm and just wanted to amplify my light and just saw my light from the very beginning. That, to me, just made me feel so loved and appreciated and I wanted to go somewhere where I really would feel loved and appreciated and supported. I’ve just really pushed myself to really discover more fully who I am and articulate that and to share more of my story, so I felt as though that enthusiasm and support will stay with me in the end.”