Crowns and campaigns: Pitt’s 2016 homecoming king and queen

Crowns and campaigns: Pitt’s 2016 homecoming king and queen

Seniors Seniors Ryan Scandaglia and Aarti Kumar, 2016 homecoming king and queen, pose with Roc the Panther.
Seniors Ryan Scandaglia and Aarti Kumar were crowned homecoming king and queen for 2016 at Saturday's game against Georgia Tech. Wenhao Wu | Senior Staff Photographer

Alexa Bakalarski
/ Assistant News Editor

October 8, 2016

When Ryan Scandaglia was running for Homecoming king, he sought to win votes by making people laugh.

Scandaglia’s approach proved effective — he was crowned Homecoming King Saturday.

During halftime of Pitt’s game against Georgia Tech, Pitt’s Blue and Gold Society named senior Scandaglia, an English writing major, Homecoming king and senior Aarti Kumar, a sociology major, Homecoming queen for the fall of 2016.

By photoshopping his face onto a picture of Pitt football coach Pat Narduzzi, Scandaglia hoped to get votes by making people laugh.

“[I was] trying to add a lot of humor to it,” Scandaglia said. “People really gravitate toward that, because they need a reason to vote.”

Pitt students voted for Homecoming king and queen online on their My Pitt accounts from noon Thursday to noon Friday.

Though the title is largely symbolic, the winning king and queen participate in Pitt events throughout the year, such as Pitt Make a Difference Day. According to the Pitt Alumni Association website, the Homecoming king and queen are responsible for spreading Pitt pride across campus.

Kumar, who is also involved in Phi Delta Epsilon –– the premedical fraternity  –– as well as Nourish International and the sorority Chi Omega, said the most difficult part of campaigning was convincing people to actually vote.

“Something that I learned from this year is that it’s very hard to get people to vote,” Kumar said. “A lot of people would say, ‘It doesn’t really affect me, I don’t care.’”

Kumar said she spent two to three hours a day on her Homecoming campaign during the week leading up to Homecoming weekend, and in weeks before that she spent time prepping.

“It was definitely a lot of work,” Kumar said. “I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. [But] it was so fun.”

To campaign for the title, Kumar made t-shirts, flyers and social media accounts, including a Facebook and a Snapchat.

The visibility that goes along with the Homecoming king title will help with recruiting for organizations Scandaglia is a member of, including Pitt Pathfinders and the fraternity Delta Sigma Phi, according to Scandaglia.

“The reason why I wanted to run was because I’m the chartering president of my fraternity,” Scandaglia said. “One of the biggest things for a new organization –– Greek or not –– is getting a good reputation.”

Kumar said she hopes to garner visibility for charitable organizations and events, as well as spend time with the organizations that sponsored her campaign. About 35 to 39 organizations acted as sponsors, according to Kumar, including Women in Business, Pitt Ultimate Frisbee, Sorrento’s and the Asian Students Alliance.

“There’s a lot of different sides to being a Pitt student, and there’s a lot of different sides to expressing Pitt pride,” Kumar said. “For me, it’s being able to reach very different corners of the University.”


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