The 2016 Homecoming King and Queen crowns came down on the heads of University of Missouri–St. Louis students Braxton Perry and Riann Rikard on Saturday. The coronation occurred at the Homecoming Dinner & Dance Feb. 6 at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in the Central West End neighborhood in St. Louis.
Perry, a junior physical education major, and Rikard, a junior nursing major, ran their campaign as a pair, focusing on making every student interaction count. The strategy paid off with student voters, who were markedly collaborative, coming together across different organizations to elect the duo.
UMSL Daily caught up with the king and queen earlier this week. Hear from them on homecoming, their time at UMSL and just what animal Louie, the mascot, really is.
What does it feel like being homecoming royalty?
BP: Earning homecoming king has been the most humbling recognition. I feel honored that students and staff of UMSL found me worthy of such a title.
RR: Honestly, I am still in shock that I won! However, I am extremely grateful for everyone who helped me and cheered me on throughout homecoming week. I could get used to being called “queen.” Haha.
What does homecoming mean to you?
BP: Homecoming means uniting current students and also alumni. There are many events throughout the week that help people come together in order to create a lively campus environment.
RR: Homecoming is when students and alumni come together to celebrate traditions and create new ones. It’s a time to have fun and celebrate our amazing institution!
Which student organization, club or team has really shaped your time at UMSL and why is it so important to you?
BP: The Pierre Laclede Honors College Student Association has really shaped my time at UMSL. I am currently the treasurer of the organization, and it definitely comes with some responsibility, but I’m proud and happy to take on this responsibility as an honors college student.
RR: Delta Zeta has shaped my time tremendously at UMSL. I have had so many leadership opportunities through Delta Zeta, which has lead me to branch out more on campus and become more involved. My sisters in Delta Zeta also support me in whatever I do, and it is nice to have that support system throughout college.
What do you like most about studying at UMSL?
BP: My favorite thing about UMSL is the student body. I feel like from my freshman year until now, I have met an abundance of great people. I am blessed to have crossed paths with those students who attend UMSL and make my college experience worthwhile.
RR: I absolutely love our nursing program! We have incredible nursing professors at the College of Nursing. They are all extremely knowledgeable, and although nursing school is tough, they make it fun! I have learned so much and cannot wait to see what the next year and a half of school brings.
People always ask, “What is Louie?! Is he a lizard? Is he a salamander?” What do you think he is and why?
BP: Louie is more like a salamander because of his big bubbly eyes.
RR: This is a great question! …I did not know he was either of those. I did some research, and salamanders like to live in damp places, and we live close to the Mississippi River. Coincidence? I think not!