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'I'm just trying to get to class': Miss Homecoming campaigns make the whole week a pain for some students

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While alumni and fans of Auburn will embrace homecoming festivities this weekend, many students dread homecoming week for one reason: the campaigning for Miss Homecoming.

Each of the five candidates on the ballot – Emmy Beason, SueEllen Broussard, Jenna Codner, Kai Jones and Grace McNairy – has a platform she feels is important for Auburn University to implement, whether it be supporting student veterans or creating mentorship for underrepresented communities on campus.

To advertise for the cause, candidates and their friends take to Auburn’s campus and tell anyone and everyone about their campaign.

Starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday, campaigners adorned in coordinated T-shirts lined campus walkways to descend on unsuspecting students and ask if they’ve voted yet.

Rule changes made by the university now outline that campaigners cannot talk to anyone about voting before 7 a.m., and after 7 a.m. they cannot touch anyone’s phone to help them vote.

The deadline to cast a vote online was 7 p.m. Friday.

With hundreds of campaigners in matching t-shirts haggling them as soon as they step on campus, some students call Homecoming week, especially the final campaign push on Friday, their worst nightmare.

“I have friends buy the shirts just so that people won’t approach them because then they assume they’ve already voted,” said Will Cathcart, a senior in majoring aerospace engineering. “It’s inconvenient always getting stopped by people during voting week.”

Four of the five candidates on this year’s ballot are a member of a Panhellenic sorority, which leads to headaches for some students.

“I get harassed on campus by the sororities to vote for someone who has the same platform as others before them,” said Amber Patch, a senior Psychology major. “It’s very repetitive, and I’m just trying to get to class.”

Campaigners will often change their Instagram profile name to support their candidate and use it as an advertising platform.

“On social media, I have noticed the campaigning taking over my feed,” said Madi Castillo, a freshman studying English education. “It feels like I am not only being bombarded in my campus life but also my personal time.”

Cathcart and Patch both offer tips to avoid being badgered by Miss Homecoming campaigners.

“I always take the longest path and weave through buildings, and if you get stopped by some of the hustlers, always say you already voted so they will leave you alone,” Cathcart said.

Patch offers this advice: Run.

“Be respectful and don’t ever treat someone how you wouldn’t want to be treated, but also just run past them,” she said. “Sprint across the concourse if you need, but that’s where all of them are. Prepare yourself to either act like you’re on the phone or put your headphones in, and do not make eye contact.”

Students who do vote say they use different criteria.

Some vote for who they think has the best plaform or who is in their sorority. Others choose based on which candidate’s campaigners were the nicest or the least pushy.

“Overall, I personally do not think that Homecoming affects the general student body unless you are running for Miss Homecoming or affiliated with Greek life,” Castillo said.

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