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Gender-Neutral Homecoming Court Includes Only Two Male Members

Penn State Homecoming announced its inaugural gender-neutral court Thursday, including only two male members in a pool of 10 students.

The 2018 Homecoming student court includes:

  • Noorein Ahmed
  • Nick Karafilis
  • Olivia Rockwell
  • Francesgladys Pulido
  • Elliot Bruce
  • Kylie Kuhns
  • Lulu Hamm
  • Colleen McBride
  • Bree Guy
  • Katierose Epstein

Seniors must be nominated to be a part of the court and then fill out an application about their interest in Homecoming Court. Applications are narrowed to 20 finalists, and a faculty panel interviews the finalists and chooses the ten best applicants to represent Penn State and serve on the court.

Two of these students will be honored with the first annual “Guide State Forward” Award, rather than naming a Homecoming king and queen.

“Our goal is to identify the best students to represent Penn State without regard to their gender, gender identity, or gender expression,” Homecoming 2018 Executive Director Ally Berdan said in a press release announcing the gender-neutral court. Apparently, men aren’t all that great at representing the university.

This year’s Homecoming University Court, made up of faculty, includes:

  • Jill Wood, teaching professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies
  • David Guthrie, associate professor of education
  • Ron Johnson, senior instructor of management and organization
  • Jay Arcuri, assistant director, student affairs and commonwealth campuses
  • Katie Hoffman, associate professor of education (special education)
  • Rita Griffith, assistant director, professional development, career solutions & corporate engagement (College of IST)

This year’s Graduate Student Court includes Jamesa Stokes (Ph.D. student in materials science and engineering) and Brian Conway (Ph.D. student in chemistry).

The 2018 Alumni Court includes Bryan Parent, Richard Booth, Justin Casavant, and Michelle Fitzgerald.

A week of celebration kicks off on Sunday, October 7 with the Homecoming concert from AJR, put on in conjunction with SPA. Members of all four courts will be honored during the annual Homecoming Parade on Friday, October 12 and at the 99th Homecoming football game against Michigan State on Saturday, October 13.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a senior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.


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