2019 Homecoming Queen Candidates
At the University of Alabama, I have found myself involved in a diverse group of organizations all across campus. Each of these organizations brings a unique goal, perspective, and talented bunch of members to campus and yet has united under the common dream of making the University of Alabama the best it can possibly be. It is with this love for the organizations that I will represent and a passion for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, that I will be running for Homecoming Queen. For this campaign, I will be partnering with the Kristen Amerson Foundation, a Tuscaloosa based philanthropy that works with local schools to present programs on suicide prevention, bullying, and drug and alcohol abuse. The Foundation was created by JacQuan Winters to honor his sister, Kristen Amerson, a young girl who took her life at the age of eleven. By raising awareness of this organization on campus and providing the foundation with resources, we can work to bring young people in Tuscaloosa education about mental health and decrease the juvenile suicide rate.
The Kristen Amerson Foundation is founded in memory of Kristen Amerson, a vibrant and beautiful young woman who took her own life at the age of eleven. The Kristen Amerson Foundation provides local school districts with programs to prevent suicide, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, and other issues that can drastically affect a young person’s life. The Foundation also provides a one-time scholarship to a first-time college student. Facing my own struggles with mental health throughout my life has led me to develop a passion for mental health education and awareness. I heard Kristen’s brother, Jacquan Winters, who started the foundation, speak at the Out of the Darkness Walk and was inspired by the mission of the Foundation and who it honors. Through my campaign, I hope to spread awareness of the Kristen Amerson Foundation and all that it has accomplished in Tuscaloosa.
I, Chloe Maize, hereby announce my intent to run for The University of Alabama’s Homecoming Queen. My goals throughout this process are to represent the student body including the student-athletes of this university in an honorable and respectable way as well as spread awareness about the mission of my platform, West Alabama Food Bank. During my campaign, I’d like to specifically focus on the nutritional gap young children in the city of Tuscaloosa are facing. Many of these children rely on free and reduced lunches at school during the week, however, they have nothing to eat on the weekends. West Alabama Food Bank’s Backpack Meal for kids is helping to bridge the nutritional gap. Currently, the West Alabama Food Bank makes over 1,800 Backpack Meals per week and relies on volunteered time and effort to make this possible. This mission is near and dear to my heart and I will use my time during campaigning to spread awareness about hunger in Alabama as well as meet new people from all walks of life on campus. I’m looking forward to a fun, educational, challenging and love-filled week!
The organization that I’m supporting throughout my campaign is the West Alabama Food Bank and specifically the Backpack Meals for Kids. Many children in Alabama rely on free and reduced lunches at school but the weekend creates a nutritional gap. Children are vulnerable to food insecurity which can affect both physical and mental growth. West Alabama Food Bank is working to bridge the gap with these Backpack Meals. They currently send over 1,800 meals home with children throughout Tuscaloosa and surrounding counties per week. They rely heavily on volunteers to help check food, sort cans and physically make the packs sent home with children on Friday. This is a problem in our city that I feel everyone should be educated about, so during my campaign, I would love to spread awareness about food insecurity amongst children in Tuscaloosa, the mission of West Alabama Food Bank and students can make a difference.
Sponsoring Organization: Student Athlete Advisory Committee
In the words of Horace Mann, “education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.” I am Taylor Roberson, a Junior studying Economics and History from Florence, Alabama, and throughout my time here at The Capstone, I have been afforded the opportunity to engage with our campus and community as a first-generation college student. The ability to attend college is a privilege restricted to most first-gen students due to a lack of resources, cultural capital, and/or confidence. My personal conversations and involvement have manufactured my confidence in the platform we have as members of The University of Alabama community by encouraging educational equity in Alabama. I am supporting the Annexstad Family Foundation for their commitment to supporting students that have experienced hardship, and without their support, may not have attended college. This campaign is predicated on the belief that college is not for everyone but should be an opportunity for anyone. My goal for this week is to give a voice to students that faced adversity in attending college and highlight what we, as students, can do to resolve educational inequities.
Since 2000, Al and Cathy Annexstad of The Annexstad Family Foundation have been helping students like me realize their dreams of earning a college degree. The Foundation supports students overcoming personal hardship to become the leaders for tomorrow. I am supporting the Foundation for their commitment to the idea that where you come from should not determine how far you can go. In addition to financial support, the Annexstads offer personal support through numerous campus visits each year, where the family engages in dialogue with students. By sharing how they overcame hardship to go to college and ultimately form a foundation supporting educational empowerment, the Annexstads inspire confidence and create communities on college campuses across the country. Their mission aligns with my personal belief that while college is not for everyone, it should be an opportunity for anyone. A first-generation college student myself, I understand the vitality of confidence and community, and the power of higher education to provide opportunity for students to achieve upward mobility and success.
Sponsoring Organization: First Fellows
As a Communicative Disorders major, I am passionate about bridging the gap between children with and without disabilities. As students at The University of Alabama, we are privileged to spend our collegiate years at the Capstone. It is our duty and challenge to empower those who might have less privilege than our own. With the desire to unite the campus community, break the stigma of the term “disability,” and with love for the University of Alabama, I am proud to declare my candidacy for Homecoming Queen. I want our campus community to focus their support on breaking the stigma of disabilities and raising awareness for the RISE Center Throughout campaign week, I will work to bring awareness to the renowned RISE Center, educate the community about the stigma surrounding disabilities in hopes to break barriers, and fundraise for the RISE Center.
The RISE Center is an early intervention and childhood preschool that integrates children with and without special needs in the same classroom. The program has a great history at the Capstone, and the University has supported and funded the school from its inception. Through volunteering at RISE, I have had the opportunity to see the incredible impact of the program on both the Tuscaloosa community and on the campus community, as many UA students have the opportunity to work with children at the RISE center. Additionally, I have seen the large ways the program relies on the community. With the Tuscaloosa RISE Center being one of eight centers in the nation, the Tuscaloosa location is the only center that has been able to continue to serve the families of children with special needs free of charge. The RISE Center’s mission is to put people first, regardless of disability, and I am proud to support an organization that recognizes the importance of serving both the campus and Tuscaloosa communities to raise awareness for their cause.
Sponsoring Organization: Alpha Gamma Delta
The University of Alabama has prioritized a campus environment that promotes and embodies diversity, equity and inclusion. Through my role in positions of leadership and advocacy, a common concern among students have been a need for an inclusive campus that champions diversity beyond race and ethnic background. Through running for the 2019 Homecoming Queen, I will strive to promote an inclusive campus for all identities. I will bring awareness to the identities that are often overlooked along with the different ways of marginalization that makes us unique and our community diverse. By organizing ways to educate the public and opportunities to support the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes, not only will college students be aware of the challenges that students face within Foster care but also assess other obstacles that marginalize our peers. Everyone has faced obstacles that contribute to their identity and ensuring that we have the resources and support on and off campus to assist students in embracing who they are is critical to the culture of UA. The diverse backgrounds and challenges each of us face have set a strong foundation for us to achieve our goals and make the University of Alabama a safe space for all.
Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes nurtures the communities in Alabama by providing a safe environment to foster children, mental and emotional support to families, and financial and educational assistance. Supporting this organization is one of the many ways I am promoting an inclusive campus for all identities from diverse backgrounds. Through creating an organization called Turning the Tide to moderating campus dialogues, it has been my goal to assist students in socially and financially adjusting to college life. However, the battle for acceptance and accessibility begins at early ages. This is why it is so important to provide Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes with the resources and support they need to cultivate the minds of children to achieve all of their ambitions regardless of their challenges.
Sponsoring Organization: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
I intend to run for this position so I can have a positive impact on The University of Alabama through having an uplifting presence. I would strive to influence those beginning their college careers to study hard and get involved as it can open so many doors like it has for me. I would also like to promote the University of Alabama as a whole; it is a great institution with so many wonderful programs. Plus, we have the best mascot, Big Al, whom I dream of meeting.
I am choosing to support The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). ADAA, founded in 1979, provides information and educates people as well as helping individuals to find treatment, resources, and support to overall improve quality of life for those with anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and co-occurring disorders. I chose to support ADAA because I personally suffer from depression, anxiety, and OCD, but have sought help and learned to manage them and I believe it is important that everyone is able to have access to information that can help those suffering from these disorders.
Sponsoring Organization: The College of Engineering Does Amateur Radical Theatre (COEDoesART)