Michigan State’s 2018 Homecoming Court is composed of 10 seniors — designated as “ambassadors” — who impacted both the MSU and East Lansing communities. The individuals were nominated and selected because they represent the ideals of diversity, commitment and school spirit, according to an MSU Today press release.
Read what being selected for Homecoming Court means to these seniors and their thoughts on how the position has impacted their lives.
Jessica Altenberger majors in child development with a minor in bioethics.
For her, being part of the court offers her personal connections to her family and education.
“I’ve been a Spartan since I was born. I come from a long line of Spartans,” Altenberger said. “To me, it’s a representation of how much I love MSU and how much my family has seen being a Spartan as part of our identity. I view it as a thank-you from Michigan State for what each of us has done for the community.”
Altenberger said she hopes to use her position on the court to advocate for children in the community.
“I’ve been fortunate to get to work with pediatric oncology patients in our community. I hope to use my platform to advocate for more pediatric cancer research and to give back to our community,” Altenberger said. “We have these children who are going through something super difficult right here in our community ... and I hope to raise awareness for them.”
Lauren Bernhardt majors in human capital and society and psychology with additional minors in leadership of organizations, German, global public health and epidemiology.
She wants to use her position to advocate for increased mental health awareness within the Spartan community.
“I’ve always cared a lot about mental health and having access to treatment — generally, making every student feel comfortable here,” Bernhardt said. “I’d also like to advocate for more people to apply for Homecoming Court in the future, because people deserve to be recognized. So many people have made quite an impact on their community and beyond as a Spartan as well.”
To Bernhardt, getting on Homecoming Court in college has a different connotation than in high school.
“Now it makes me feel like I made an impact on this campus, and tried to uphold what it means to truly be a Spartan,” she said.
Shavonna Green majors in social work with a minor in human behavior and social services. She said influence from her mentors and her love of MSU led her to make the most of her position on the court.
“I’m excited to be able to inspire other people around me,” Green said. “I was inspired by my mentor. I have a couple of mentors who have been on the Homecoming Court before me and the amazing work that they’ve done.”
Green said being able to be part of change on campus is one of the most important roles being on the court has to offer.
“I think that the most important thing about being on Homecoming Court is having a balance of loving your school and bleeding green and white, but also seeing change and striving to be that change agent, so I’m so excited for the programming myself and my colleagues will put on on-campus,” Green said.
Green is a first-generation college student. She said she hopes to make her family, fellow Spartans and the Spartans who came before her proud.
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“I’m excited to be a liaison and an ambassador for this university and represent the voices that Michigan State has because there is something so beautiful about all of our voices,” Green said. “Our voices carry color and they’re so vibrant and each tells a different story.”
Malik Amir Mix
Malik Amir Mix is in the Eli Broad Business College and majors in marketing.
Mix said he is most proud of philanthropic work he has done — for instance, he was named a Forbes Under 30 Scholar in 2018. He talked about how being on the Homecoming Court gives him a platform to engage in philanthropic work.
“I would say philanthropy, and just giving back to different communities — especially the African-American community and urban community,” Mix said. “Being able to be on the Homecoming Court allows me to establish connections and build relationships with different people and organizations. It allows me to create a larger footprint for the philanthropy I do.”
The 10 individuals chosen for the 2018 Homecoming Court are Jessica Altenberger, Lauren Bernhardt, Lamont Davis, Katie Frayer, Jessica Gonzalez, Shavonna Green, Lauren Lahie, Jan Mecano, Malik Amir Mix and Katherine “Cookie” Rifiotis.
Because MSU recognizes the seniors as ambassadors of their class, a king and queen won’t be chosen from the group. Instead, the seniors will be honored during halftime at MSU’s Homecoming football game against Northwestern Oct. 6.
Editor’s note: Court members Lamont Davis, Katie Frayer, Lauren Lahie, Jan Mecano and Katherine “Cookie” Rifiotis could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.
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