Meet Your 2015 Alabama Homecoming Queen Candidates

Meet Your 2015 Alabama Homecoming Queen Candidates

One of these ladies will be crowned Alabama's Homecoming Queen this Saturday.

It is that time of year again, when you hear of pomping, dozens of activities throughout the week, and most of all, signs plastered throughout campus in support of the homecoming queen candidates.

This year, it’s about more than just what organization is sponsoring them—each candidate is required to have a philanthropy or charitable cause they are supporting, i.e. their “platform.”

Below is all of the information you need to know about this year’s outstanding candidates!

Kinsey Blake Haynes

Hometown: Demopolis, Alabama

Major: Journalism

Sponsored by: WVUA-FM (90.7 The Capstone)

Platform/Charitable Cause: Autism Society of Alabama

Reason for choosing this cause: "In June, I met a curly-haired, 8-year-old boy named Milo. Upon meeting him, I realized he reminded me a lot of myself at that age. I even had the same head of curly hair when I was young. It helped open my eyes that kids with autism spectrum disorder are no different than anyone else. That moment was a beautiful realization for me, and I carry it with me everyday. My motivation in running for Homecoming Queen is to be the friendly face of the university; a trustworthy person students feel comfortable around and can approach with ease. Another motivator in running is to show outsiders that not every girl at this school dresses the same. We are classy individuals that sometimes gets lost in the shadow of stereotypes. I would love to be the person to change that perception."

Katie Baggett

Hometown: Brewton, AL

Major: Chemical Engineering

Sponsored by: Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity

Platform/Charitable Cause: The LiveLovely Foundation

Reason for choosing this cause: "The LiveLovely Foundation was started by Charlie Lovely, a 16 year old with leukemia from Alabama. Its purpose is to raise awareness and funds to combat adolescent and young adult cancer as well as help childhood cancer patients with medical bills. This group has not seen any improvement in survival rates in over thirty years, which is why the funding that The LivelyLovely Foundation has begun to put toward research is so important. I feel particularly close to this cause because I have lost many family members to cancer. I also would really love to support this organization because it is not well known and does so much great work. I am prepared to set up multiple fundraising events for this charity such as 5k runs, galas, and auctions. I want to help the student body realize that no one is safe from cancer, and no charity is too small to make a difference."

Halle Lindsay

Hometown: Erie, Pennsylvania

Major: Psychology, Biology - Pre-Medicine

Sponsored by: BLEND

Platform/Charitable cause - Cancer Awareness - UADM and UA for St. Jude

Reason for choosing this cause: "Homecoming Queen is the ambassador of unity and progress for the University of Alabama. I would be honored to be the woman to represent who we are today. Being involved across campus has allowed me to give back to our campus community, mediate diversity issues on campus and establish meaningful relationships. As president of XXXI, Greek Programming Board, and BLEND; A-Team; UA Student Recruitment, University Steward; and Alpha Gamma Delta Executive Council, I have grown to cherish my time at the university. My love for this campus has empowered me to not only change this institution, but also encourage others to do the same.

As Homecoming Queen, I will continue my campus efforts and encourage students to join the global fight against cancer. We all know someone who has been impacted by this disease and it is our responsibility to raise awareness. UA Dance Marathon and UA for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are lighting up life. As your Homecoming Queen, I would promote these and other cancer-awareness organizations throughout the year and ask you to join us. Together we will raise money for research funds and spread the message that no one fights alone."

Chayni Farmer

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

Major: Criminal Justice

Sponsored by: Phi Sigma Theta

Platform/Charitable cause: Arts'nAutisim

Reason for choosing this cause: "The reason I support this cause is because this is a great program that helps children with limited language abilities and social skills engage in enriching art activities that promote communication and socialization."

Jasmine Davis

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Major: Business Management

Sponsored by: National Pan-Hellenic Council

Platform/Charitable cause: Domestic Violence

Reason for choosing this cause: "Domestic Violence is a serious issue not only for women, but men and children as well. According to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center out of the 22,000 violent crimes reported in 2013 16 percent of them were domestic violence incidents. Many times women feel as though they do not have a support system or cannot console in anyone their problems as to why I partnered with the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV). ACADV provides financial literacy, housing, financial assistance, job placement, etc. for women and their children who are suffering from domestic violence. I personally have a stake in this cause because last November my aunt was murdered by her partner leaving four children and her family grieving in her absence. I hope to bring more awareness to the issue of domestic violence by encouraging people to speak up for those who are unable or not yet ready to face their perpetrators. If I win Homecoming Queen I hope to organize a walk or dance marathon in order to raise funds to assist both the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Tuscaloosa’s Turning Point Women’s Shelter."

Katelyn Katsafanas

Hometown: Naperville, IL (Suburb of Chicago)

Major: Finance, specializing in Professional Sales

Sponsored by: Phi Mu

Platform/Charitable cause: Alabama Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Reason for choosing this cause: "The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a national organization that hosts walks across the country in order to raise money for research towards suicide prevention, as well as educational programs for students and adults. They help get the conversation started about mental health awareness. Each state has its own chapter, and the Alabama Chapter has done some big things. The Tuscaloosa Community Out of the Darkness Walk was Sunday, October 4th, and we raised over $57,000 before the walk even started! Over 1,400 people participated, which I think is a testimony to how these events affect those who participate. Mental health awareness is something that means so much to me, and I'd be striving for more programs on campus relating to it even without this campaign. Last spring, three other students and I coordinated the UA Awareness Walk with the Counseling Center to share with students the resources available to them for their mental well-being. While we did not raise money with this walk, we raised awareness. I think educating people on various mental health issues as well as how to cope with them is extremely important. I hope to work with organizations on campus this year to implement more programs that will educate our students on the importance of their mental well-being. And, I hope to create an environment that will allow students to support each other through anything they may be going through. I am so excited to be working with such a wonderful organization, and I can’t thank them enough for their support!"

Khortlan Patterson

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Major: Religious Studies and African American Studies

Sponsored by: The Honors College Assembly

Platform/Charitable cause: I am representing 57 Miles, an Honors College volunteer organization that collaborates on various partnerships with community members in Perry County.

Reason for supporting this cause: I support 57 Miles because my experience teaching classes to middle school students at Francis Marion Middle School transformed my life. I believe 57 Miles embodies the Honors College creed: Knowledge changes you. You change the world. The organization provides a wonderful way for students to engage with Alabama communities in a mutually empowering manner.

Lauren Beers

Hometown: Warren Center, PA

Major: Masters in Sport Business Management

Platform/Charitable cause: ReadBAMARead; I want to promote childhood literacy by supporting ReadBAMARead and the donation of books to local schools.

Reason for supporting this cause: I support this cause because I feel that it is very important to encourage children to start reading early. The earlier they start to read, generally, the more successful they are in academics. Reading provides further learning opportunities and will help the children be successful throughout the rest of their life. Although this doesn't directly affect our campus, I feel that by educating our younger students in Alabama, we can help increase the numbers that pursue higher education.

There you have it, your 2015 Homecoming Queen Candidates. One of these lovely ladies will be crowned on Saturday during halftime of the Alabama vs. Arkansas football game.

Don't forget to cast your vote Tuesday, October 6, on myBama and Happy Homecoming!

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Dear Women, Here Are 7 Ways You Can Better Respect Men In 2018

Men might be trash, but that doesn't mean you have to treat us as such.

Last week I wrote an article titled "7 Ways To Stop Being A Piece Of Sh*t To Women And Respect Them In 2018", in which I mentioned seven common dating pet peeves of my female friends and pleaded to guys to stop doing them for their own benefit and mine. This week, in the name of fair journalism and the fact that I am a feminist and believe in equality, I will be writing a piece all the opposite. This article will be about seven dating pet peeves many of my guy friends have expressed and how women can better improve themselves, both for their benefit and ours. Men aren't the only ones with issues. Equality.

1. You aren't always right.

Dear women, I'm sure this is hard to hear, but it is true. Sometimes you are just wrong, and admitting it might be the best thing for both parties. When I was growing up, my dad used to always tell me, "Son, remember that if you want to be happy, women are always right." I call bullshit.

No one is infallible, even God, because he created Bill Cosby and that guy is a piece of shit. Therefore, what makes you, as a female, think you are somehow right all the time? This is often over dumb things too like, "Which is the best ice cream flavor?" I mean the correct answer is cookie dough, but if he is devoid of taste buds and answers with some wack ass flavor like pistachio, then you just agree to disagree and move on with your life.

There is no point about arguing who is right over simple, dumb things like that. Being right doesn't make your life any better. It actually makes you more unhappy, because you got into a fight over something that literally doesn't impact your relationship in a negative way if you both disagree. The issue is that most of the time, fights erupt over who is right about things just as dumb because someone has to be right.

This also applies to situations in which you are actually wrong. I know, wild concept. But being wrong happens, and admitting when you are wrong is extremely important, because it shows humility and the ability to not take yourself too seriously all the time.

Instead of trying to rationalize why you are right, accept that you are wrong when you are, and grow from that experience so you can be right the next time and not be stuck in a cycle of being wrong but thinking you are right.

I know that was kind of a mental tongue twister, but it is true. You must learn from your mistakes in order to avoid repeating them and also learn that it is okay to agree to disagree.

One of you doesn't always have to be right. It is okay to differ. In regards to what my dad said, men shouldn't be expected to take the high road and agree with whatever a woman says just because it was her that said it.

As a feminist, I believe in equality, and in this case equality, of correctness. If a woman expects a guy to take the high road during a disagreement just to avoid conflict, she too should be willing to do the same and actively do the same as well.

2. Stop Negging.

Defined by Wikipedia as "an act of emotional manipulation whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or otherwise flirtatious remark to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need for the manipulator's approval."

Negging is a trend started by guys to exploit girls' daddy issues but has recently started being used by girls in an attempt for them too to try and "play the game". Now, guys shouldn't do this either, because it's a shitty thing to do, but women shouldn't engage in this practice, because then they just come off as a bitch.

If some girl comes up to me in a bar and starts off a conversation with a backhanded compliment, my initial reaction is going to be: "Fuck this person, why are they being an asshole". Not only does it not work, but it ruins any hope of future interaction.

Now maybe some poor soul will fall for this trick, but it is manipulation, and it's fucked up. There is no need to manipulate people in order to get them to like you, and if you do, you are a shitty person and need to re-evaluate your life.

Also, instead of perpetuating the idea of the "game" by trying to play it yourselves, fight against it. The "game" was created by men, so when y'all try to play it, you always end up playing yourselves.

3. Be able to make a decision.

Decisions. The only thing that is harder for a girl to make is out of a pregame alive. Decisions are something we have to make every day, but for some reason, is a notorious struggle for those of the fairer sex.

Somewhere along the line, it was decided that men should take charge in a relationship and make the decisions. But then feminism came along and women wanted to make decisions too. Y'all cant make up your damn minds! So, it has left us in this perpetual circle of the guy making a decision and the girl rejecting it because she didn't have any input. Then the guy proposes another idea, but the girl shoots it down again for the same reason.

Now, this might not explain 100% of all male/female decision making, but it describes a great deal.

It has to do with the intersection of the old-timey idea of the guy taking charge with new wave feminism empowering women to take charge, which isn't a bad thing, but leads to the situation described above. The issue is that for some reason, women, in general, have a very hard time making up their minds.

For example, take the classic scenario "Where should we go for dinner?" It starts off with both people going "I don't know. How about you?", then usually the guy proposes a place to go and the woman shoots it down. This continues in a cycle until both people are fed up and just go inside and eat at home.

We have all been in this situation. Why? Why is this issue so prevalent? I wish I could tell you, but the answer is simple. Pick something and go with it. Whatever you choose is not going to be a perfect choice, but nothing ever is, so just accept good enough and move on with your life.

Wasting time on making a decision only makes it harder to do so and makes you less satisfied with your outcome. By making a quick decision, you will not only be happier with the decision you made compared to if you took a half hour to do so, but you will also surprise the hell out of the guy you are with and they will love you for it. As I often tell my friends: "My kink is a girl who can make a decision." And that's a fact.

Stop wasting time deliberating what to do and take action. Due to the paradox of choice, not only will you feel better about a decision made quickly, you will also most likely be no worse off than if you had taken triple the time to make that same decision.

4. Stop being stuck in the past.

Nostalgia, a fun trick that our minds play on us so that we always remember our past as "the good old days." Human brains do this thing where over time we only retain the happiest parts of our past and the sadness and misery of our past fades away or feels insignificant compared to our suffering today. This leaves us with fond memories of the past, and the feel-good chemicals our brain releases when thinking of them only reinforces the cycle.

Now you are probably thinking that this is all fine and dandy, but how does this connect with dating? The answer is: You remember the beginning part of a relationship as being filled with fond and warm memories, which they most likely are, but women often let themselves get sucked in to how the relationship was in the past and disregard how it is in the present.

Too often my other guy friends and I hear females use the rationalization: "But we were so good together in the past," or "At the beginning, he was so great," in order to justify them staying in either stagnant or toxic relationships. The past is the past, and you don't live there, you live in the present.

It is important to not forget the past in order to learn from it, but you shouldn't dwell on it. Often guys will use the, "But we had it so good. We were great together," but the thing is shit changes and it's not, "We have it so good. We are great together," because you were those things, but you aren't anymore. That is important.

Change sucks, and change hurts, but it's a side effect of the onward progression of time. Just because your relationship is good in the past does not mean it is good now, and staying stuck in the past is only preventing you from achieving a better future.

This same concept applies to girls who are stuck on their ex's. They are stuck on the idea of what once was and what they had, but it ended for a reason, and the past is the past, you cannot relive it.

People change, and sometimes love fades. It's shitty, but it happens, and the realization that you can not repeat and you can not relive the past is what finally helps you get over that ex. Plus, you can learn from it and move on to someone better.

5. You do not need attention 24/7.

As someone who has been single for a majority of my teenage years, I have enjoyed and gotten accustomed to a high degree of independence. Therefore, needy, clingy ass females are my personal number one relationship pet peeve, and many other guys feel the same way.

Now I know a lot of y'all got some emotional insecurities from past boyfriends and men being shitty in general, but that does not give you, as a female, the right to blow up my damn phone all the time when we are dating/in a relationship.

I have my own problems and my own life. I don't have time to deal with your entire life every day along with it. To believe that I should make the time and text back and forth all day is irrational, shows an extreme codependence, and it shows the inability to act independently.

I know guys who are in relationships in which they are her boyfriend and father because their females don't know how to act independently. In a relationship, I am your boyfriend, not a personal assistant.

There are also the girls who constantly need reaffirmation that you love and care about them through you texting them all the time, and if you don't do this, then you don't care about them anymore. Not only is this idea ridiculous, but it's also childish, shows a lack of maturity, and displays narcissistic behavior by showing they are unable to recognize that another person has a life outside of theirs. It's not cute. It is absurd and sets unrealistic expectations.

There are also the girls who you don't text back right away and they think your cheating, which is equally ridiculous, because how am I going to find and fuck someone else in the 15 minutes I didn't text you back? But also, if you are that insecure about a relationship, you probably shouldn't be in that relationship and need to address your own insecurities.

Now a majority of females are not like this and they just enjoy talking to their significant other every day, but constant back and forth texting is exhausting, and as a guy, we love talking and spending time with you, It's just that we need to spend time recharging ourselves and to hang out with our friends as well.

This does not mean we like you any less, it just means we have a life independent of our relationship that we would like to enjoy, because love doesn't mean we have to spend every waking minute with each other.

Love is a mutually beneficial process that makes both people better together and doesn't make them a singular entity.

6. We aren't things for you to fix.

This may come as a surprise seeing as y'all have a tendency to treat men like a foreclosed house in a good school zone, close to your work, but not too far from the city. This isn't HGTV, and you can't fix men by knocking down a couple emotional walls, repainting them with a new wardrobe, and redecorating their apartment for "better energy flow." We do not need you to fix us, and we don't want you to.

Men aren't canvases you can paint your dream guy onto. We are people with our own personalities. You trying to "fix" our flaws isn't cute or nice, it shows that you don't like us for who we are and like some version of us you painted in your head.

The definition of love is to "cherish what other people see as flaws", but instead of loving us for our flaws, some females try to change that.

Instead of trying to change us into the person you want us to be, put an effort into finding the person who already is that person you are looking for and you will be happier, because people resist change. If you aren't trying to change anything, then you won't get frustrated trying to change them.

7. If you are in a bad mood, tell us why.

Contrary to popular belief, men cannot read women's minds. While having telepathy would solve a lot of lack of communication problems in relationships, sadly, us humans have not figured out how to do so yet.

This leaves us with the conundrum of using our words to express how we feel. I have found throughout my years that a majority of females will complain about anything and everything to either fill dead space or they just like to hear the sound of their voice - I don't really know which. But when it comes to almost everything else, especially feelings, getting women to talk is like pulling teeth.

This is especially true when y'all are in a bad mood. We ask what's wrong and get back an, "Oh, nothing," while simultaneously giving us a face so stank it looks like you just heard a white guy drop the "N" word in public.

Obviously, something is going on. How dumb do you think we are?

We aren't asking what wrong because we are taking a shot in the dark about your feelings, we are asking what's wrong so we can find out and then resolve the issue that is putting you in a bad mood. We want to help you out; we aren't asking the question to attack you. We can not help you though it if you do not tell us what is wrong, and I would assume you want our help in being happy, because no one likes being sad or grumpy all the time.

So next time some see you are in a bad mood and asks what is wrong, tell them. We only want to help, and I assure you that if you tell us what is wrong, we will do what we can to help make it better and put you in a good mood.

Moral of the story: Guys aren't the only ones that can improve in dating - women can too. I implore the men reading this article to spread this to all the females you know in your life. Ladies, impart this knowledge on your friends, because not only will it make you happier and your relationships more fulfilling, but will improve those of others as well.

The year 2018 isn't about respecting men or respecting women. It is about respecting both and ourselves, because we have been stuck in these destructive tendencies and cycles for far too long, and we could make marked improvements if we just took simple steps in the right direction. So stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.

Cover Image Credit: Warren Wong

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You Should Be Journaling

I dig it. You will too.

Let's take it back to 15 years ago when we swore our parents had no access to our little diaries that we endlessly scribbled our crush's name across most of the pages or when we went on rants about that time that one girl (you know who) took our seat in the school cafeteria. So rude.

Anyway, then we remember those times in late elementary school/early middle school where our teachers encouraged us to keep journals. They encouraged us to write about our day, our thoughts, our ideas, and memories, promising it will help our writing skills yet, we still thought of it as a mere waste of time.

Today, after many years of making up excuses as to why I should not journal, I am more obsessed with it than I ever thought I could be. Back in February of 2017, I found myself questioning life from different perspectives. Some questions even turned philosophical at times, not that I would call myself a philosopher or anything, but when I asked those questions out loud to my friends, they would remain at a loss for words because they've never heard that particular perspective before.

I also started experiencing a lot of strange coincidences going on in my life and felt the urge to start recording everything down on paper.

I took the initiative and bought myself a small little journal, one that would fit in my bag, something easy to travel around with and I got right to it. I started writing down all the random questions I had floating around in my head, questions I had no answers for, zero explanations.

I wrote down my thoughts on current events and brainstormed different point of views that could possibly be used as an explanation. I wrote down dreams I would have at night, my feelings. Sometimes I would write about my goals, the type of man I want to marry and other times I just doodled.

Over the course of the year, journaling became a part of my everyday lifestyle. It was something that took my mind off of every other responsibility I had to do. It also became one of the most interesting parts of my day because I started to notice things come full circle. Reading back at my earlier entries, I noticed connections between my thoughts, my questions, even my weird coincidences. It's been one of the craziest things to see how everything in my life, in this world, works and develops. Sometimes I'm left speechless.

With journaling, I started becoming more self-aware of not only myself but of my environment. It's also been an exciting way for me to look back at memories and all my experiences. Now, I always look forward to reading back at my entries to see how much my life has changed, my mindset, literally anything and everything that I have written down. The world has a mysterious way of working, and I kinda dig it.

Pick up your pen, grab yourself a notebook and start journaling. I can guarantee the things you'll learn will blow your mind.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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