Upholding the tradition at the University of Rhode Island, last weekend was Homecoming Weekend, but before the big game and even the rally, there is a process that is followed to decide on each years homecoming court.
Every Greek house or organization on campus is allowed to nominate both a male and a female homecoming court candidate. There is then an interview process in front of a board of faculty that narrows the results down to the top three men and women.
“From there we open the voting up to the URI community to decide their king and queen,” Laura Graffitti, a member of the Student Alumni Association, said.
In previous years, rather than using a ballot, the voting was done by placing can tabs into the designated container for whomever a student wished to vote for. The collected tabs were then donated. However, since it is rare that students carry around can tabs while on campus, there was never much of a turnout for the voting process.
This year, the decision was made to change things up and switch to a “penny wars system,” where every penny in someone’s jar signified one vote, while every silver coin in someone’s jar was a negative vote. In addition to voting for whom a student wanted to win, they could also contribute to the loss of another nominee.
The decision to switch came from the acknowledgement that more people would be walking around with spare change in their pocket than a can tab.
“Throughout homecoming week, people could vote on their favorites, and then at Rhody Rally on Thursday evening, we announced the king and queen” Graffitti said.
After the voting period ended and all the change was counted, over $1,000 was raised in mostly pennies. All of the proceeds were donated to Shriners Hospitals for Children. Shriners Hospitals are committed to providing the best care for children in orthopedics, burn care, spinal cord injury and cleft lips and palates, regardless of a family’s’ ability to pay.
The decision to switch from can tabs to change was highly beneficial because more people were able to participate and a lot of the students really got into it, in addition to others that simply walked by with some change to spare for a good cause. The coin voting system is definitely something to consider again for next year.