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10 Questions With 2023 Penn State Homecoming Executive Director April Komal

Junior April Komal was recently named Penn State Homecoming’s 2023 executive director. A true “outside of Philly” girl from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Komal has been involved with Homecoming since her freshman year.

A secondary education major with a focus on social studies, a triple minor, and multiple other extracurriculars, there’s no doubt Komal is busy. Regardless, she’s excited to start her role and implement her values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into her position.

Onward State: What made you want to become involved with Penn State Homecoming?

April Komal: I wanted to become involved with Penn State Homecoming to better serve the Penn State community. I think our university is very unique in the fact that we have such a wide, yet close-knit, community across our students, alumni, faculty, and staff. I was involved in Homecoming at my high school, so I figured I’d carry on the tradition at Penn State. I ended up absolutely falling in love with the organization and its mission my first year, and the rest is history.

OS: What are some of your responsibilities as executive director?

AK: Some of my responsibilities include interviewing and selecting new members of the executive committee. After that, I have the privilege of overseeing the executive committee as we prepare for Homecoming 2023. I also serve as the primary connection between Homecoming, our other student leaders, and the university as a whole.

OS: What is your favorite part of Homecoming weekend?

AK: My favorite part of Homecoming week is Allen Street Jam, our event on the Monday of Homecoming Week. It’s right in that sweet spot when everyone is excited about what will come for the rest of the week, and no one is too majorly stressed. It’s an amazing opportunity to just relax and enjoy the fact that we’ve gotten to the week we were preparing for all year. If you saw me dancing on Allen Street this year to our amazing performers, I’m so sorry you had to witness that.

OS: What are some of your goals and visions for Penn State Homecoming 2023?

AK: One huge goal of mine is to prioritize our diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts in Homecoming. We have such a wide variety of experiences at Penn State, and there’s so much to be proud of, so I want to be able to celebrate all of our community in any way we can. I hope to make our events more inclusive to everyone attending so everyone can feel welcome at our Homecoming celebrations.

OS: Are you involved with anything else on campus?

AK: I am a member of the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPSEA) at Penn State and serve on the state board as the Political Advocacy Chair for the Central Region of Pennsylvania. I am also the treasurer for It’s On Us at Penn State, a university affiliate dedicated to combatting sexual violence on campus and supporting survivors. 

OS: What have you learned from Homecoming 2022 director, Tim Nevil, that you will take with you in your new position?

AK: Tim is not only my predecessor within Homecoming but also one of my biggest role models in life overall, so there are a lot of things that I have learned from him. First and foremost, his love and passion for Homecoming and making it the best organization it can possibly be is something I hope to take with me in my time as executive director. Additionally, his dedication to inclusivity is admirable, and I hope to continue his efforts and expand on them for Homecoming 2023. He has also taught me the importance of work-life balance and taking time for myself. Overall, Tim has taught me a lot, and I hope to continue his legacy and make him proud as I step into the role of executive director this year. I have big shoes to fill.

OS: What has been the most rewarding part of being involved with Homecoming?

AK: The most rewarding part of being involved with Homecoming is watching our community come together during Homecoming week. From watching students enjoy a scoop of Creamery ice cream to watching alumni come back for our football game, and more, there are so many opportunities to enjoy being part of the Penn State family. It’s extremely rewarding to step back and take in all of the work our directors, captains, and committee members have worked to complete all year.

OS: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? 

AK: If I could have one superpower it would be shadow travel. I was a “Percy Jackson girly” when I was younger. I think it would be super cool to be able to travel so instantaneously. Imagine slipping into the shadows of your room and stepping out into the Caribbean somewhere. Why not fly, then, you ask? I’m afraid of heights.

OS: Besides Homecoming, what is your favorite Penn State tradition and why?

AK: My favorite Penn State tradition besides Homecoming is definitely the “We Are” chant. I’ve traveled internationally and had “We Are” shouted at me in the middle of the airport, which is kind of scary until I realize I’m wearing a Penn State shirt. I think it shows just how vast the Penn State community is. The chant itself means so much to so many different people, so it’s one of the traditions I love most.

OS: Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur which would you be and why?

AK: If I could be any dinosaur, I would be a brachiosaurus. It’s partly me projecting wanting to be taller, but it’s also one of the only dinosaurs I know. Shoutout to my 8th-grade spelling bee list of words!

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About the Author

Emily Grill

Emily is a third-year broadcast journalism student from New Jersey. She likes to think that being Italian and 5 feet tall are her biggest personality traits. You can probably catch her at Chick-fil-A at least two or three days out of the week. Feel free to contact her by emailing [email protected]

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