The Homecoming Royalty is passionate about Virginia Tech, its traditions, and the values of Ut Prosim. They have extensive leadership experience in at least one student or service organization and are able to describe how their engagement has shaped their time at Virginia Tech.
The Royalty strives to positively represent the entire student body and display the characteristics of the Division of Student Affairs Aspirations for Student Learning and the Virginia Tech Principles of Community. They have a deep connection to their platform and are dedicated to seeing it become a sustained piece of Virginia Tech’s service portfolio.
Meet Virginia Tech's 2022 Homecoming Court!
Alex Costanza is an international relations and Spanish double major sponsored by Gamma Phi Beta. Her platform promotes harm reduction; a risk management approach to drug and alcohol use. Her goal is to weaken the stigma surrounding addiction on campus and reduce overdose rates in the greater New River Valley area. Because of the effect addiction has had on many of her loved ones, she has always been passionate about safe drug and alcohol use and addiction awareness. Alex was encouraged to develop her homecoming platform around harm reduction due to the immense impact that the overdose crisis has on Southwest Virginia. She became increasingly aware of this through her work with Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Hokie Wellness. Unfortunately, addiction is something that has touched many people, whether it be personal experience, a friend, or a family member. She hopes to provide another way to connect the Virginia Tech community by opening up an important conversation that has been long overdue. She would truly be honored to be the Hokie that brings awareness to this cause in the Blacksburg community.
Aubrey Hubel is majoring in clinical neuroscience and minoring in psychology. Her supporting organization is Hokie Ambassadors and her platform is “Making Women the Medical Leaders of Tomorrow.” With this platform, she would like to create a mentorship network for young women wanting to become doctors and physician’s assistants. As someone who is going through the process of becoming a PA, she wishes she didn’t have to rely on the internet and lucky connections to get all of the necessary information to achieve her goal of becoming a PA or doctor. That’s why, with her platform, she wants to create a mentorship program where young women can be properly educated on this tough but rewarding process of becoming a medical professional. After witnessing improper care firsthand, she sees a need for change. Aubrey looks forward to being on Homecoming Court to be able to represent Virginia Tech as she makes a difference in the medical community with a focus on uplifting women to become the next generation of medical professionals.
Audrey Rowe is a public health major and health communication minor. She is representing Omega Phi Alpha. Her platform aims to bring awareness to gender-based violence and survivorship. Audrey chose this platform because she wants to foster a welcoming and safe community for all Hokies because this is home. She wants to represent Virginia Tech by being on Homecoming Court because it is another way for her to embody the school’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Service is one of the core values that she has been able to embody at Virginia Tech through her membership in Omega Phi Alpha, a national service sorority. Her previous experience as an orientation leader for Virginia Tech taught her all of the reasons why she is proud to be a Hokie and why she is proud to represent Virginia Tech.
Carolina Bell is majoring in biology with a minor in diversity and community engagement. She is running on the platform “Consent Comes First with Carolina” and hopes to have conversations about consent and sexual assault prevention on Virginia Tech’s campus. She is president of her sponsoring organization, United Feminist Movement (UFM). Carolina is a tireless advocate for survivors and continues to speak out against gender-based violence and push for change. As a part of the organization, she has served on the Title IX Student Advisory Board, the Women’s Center Racial Equity Review Board, and many other university initiatives. Carolina wants to represent Virginia Tech on Homecoming Court because she is passionate about equity and safety for all people on our campus.
Chase Basham is a mechanical engineering major supported by Chi Alpha. His platform is Night to Shine; an event committed to celebrating people with disabilities. He has been able to participate in this event for many years, and the joy that it brings those people and their families is indescribable. He believes that being able to bring this event to Virginia Tech and the New River Valley would be so unifying for the community and help celebrate those who are often forgotten and overlooked. Chase is honored to represent Virginia Tech and his supporting organization Chi Alpha on Homecoming Court. Both his organization and Virginia Tech have a mission to serve others and truly embody the Ut Prosim motto. He has grown so much as a person and in his ability to serve others during his time in college. The things he has learned and the principles he has adopted will follow him for the rest of his life. He hopes that by representing Virginia Tech in this incredible tradition, he can give back to this amazing community and serve those around him.
Courts Breeden is a mechanical engineering major with a minor in nuclear engineering. In his supporting organization, Sigma Phi Epsilon, he has developed into a man who is passionate about serving the community through leadership. His platform, Brighter Brains with Breeden, is focused on helping secondary school students who have learning disabilities to better prepare for higher-level education. The driving factor behind choosing this as his platform is his personal experience with learning disabilities. As a student with multiple learning disabilities, he was very fortunate to have many resources provided to him to overcome his disabilities and excel in school. Because he’s been so fortunate, he feels a responsibility to help the next generation of students in preparing for college as well as leading a successful academic career. He sees his placement on Homecoming Court as an amazing opportunity to promote his platform, help out the community, and represent his fraternity.
Grayson Moyer is currently double majoring in agricultural sciences and environmental horticulture. Her sponsoring organization is Kappa Kappa Gamma, and her platform is focused on addressing food insecurity and increasing food access on campus. Through her classes and her volunteer experience in a community garden, Grayson has grown to be very passionate about food insecurity issues. In one of her classes, they discussed the Virginia Tech Food Access and Security Study which found that 29% of undergraduates and 35% of graduate students have low or very low food security. Only 9% of those who sometimes or often did not have enough to eat received food assistance (Hall et al. 2019). By representing her organization and Virginia Tech on Homecoming Court, she hopes to use this platform to increase awareness of current food assistance programs and resources. This includes spreading information on eligibility and decreasing the stigma associated with food assistance so that all members of the Hokie community have access to healthy food.
Kayla Hess is majoring in management EIT. She is grateful to Sigma Kappa for allowing her to represent them as a candidate on Homecoming Court. Her platform is Men’s Mental Health and Suicide Awareness. She chose this because it is something that needs to be talked about. She has never liked the stereotype that men should not be vulnerable because it deems them weak. When talking about mental health, most minds go toward the female audience. What people don’t know is that ⅔ of suicides are men. Kayla wants to represent Virginia Tech to leave a legacy and impact people’s minds. She wants to change the culture at Tech and bring men’s mental health into the light. She is honored to be participating in this tradition at Tech, and cannot wait to meet everyone! She wants to share her message for everyone to remember; it’s okay to not be okay.
Mason Cobbler is majoring in finance with a double concentration in investment management, as well as risk management and banking. His supporting organization is Alpha Tau Omega and his platform is body positivity. His struggle with body positivity was a very rough period in his life. In March of last year, a study found that about 77% of college students were dissatisfied with at least one part of their bodies. This can lead to an abundance of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, or, at its worst, an eating disorder. He wants to use his resources to shed light on this issue and prevent someone else from ever having to deal with what he went through. Mason desires to make Virginia Tech a safe space where people feel loved for who they are; where people can strive to be the best version of themselves and not seek to fit some mold that has been shaped by unrealistic and destructive ideas. He became interested in running for Homecoming because he wants to represent the university he loves. He would love to be an ambassador and role model for the university and show what it really means to be a Hokie.
Nawras Zalzala is studying civil engineering. Her supporting organization is the Virginia Tech Union and her platform is Celebrating Diversity. As a person of color, it was hard for her to find her place once she first got to Tech. She felt like she didn’t find anyone who shares her culture. Nawras was born in Iraq and raised Muslim. However, once she started looking into the cultural groups on campus, she finally found groups of people she could really relate to. The purpose of her platform is to show students at VT that there is a place for each person here. There are many groups on campus that can help everyone feel more at home. She wants to represent the different cultures that are on campus and show how diverse the student population is.
Nicole Bailey is pursuing a double major in marketing and management and her supporting organization is Alpha Delta Pi. She is honored to represent Virginia Tech on the Homecoming Court. She attended many Homecoming games growing up and knows what a special tradition this is to the school. She believes this would be an amazing opportunity to raise awareness for a cause that she, and many others, cares so much about — childhood cancer. Nicole chose this platform because she has personally seen the impacts childhood cancer has on children and families that she knows. The fight against cancer doesn’t just impact the person carrying the disease, but it also takes a toll on the entire family. Because of this, she has also worked with ASK, a nonprofit childhood cancer foundation in Richmond, VA, that focuses on helping and supporting families and children. Childhood cancer still needs so much attention. While it is the leading cause of death by disease in children in the US, it only gets 4% of funding from the federal budget. With her platform, she hopes to educate others, raise awareness, and gain support for such an important cause.
Olivia Escalante, a meteorology major represented by Alpha Chi Omega, is ecstatic to be given the opportunity to run for Homecoming Royalty. Just a few days after Olivia’s 17th birthday, she received news that she was diagnosed with an incurable hearing impairment which may continue to affect her hearing for the rest of her life and potentially result in full deafness. Olivia’s platform was formed when she saw the immediate need for a less stigmatized community for those who may have, what she calls, “invisible disabilities .” Invisible disabilities, otherwise known as “invisibilities,” is a diverse community ranging from forms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD to Autism, POTS, and more. Conversations on “how to be better” and words students should or shouldn’t say based upon the presence of the student with an invisibility, need to be a larger topic of discussion and a safe place in order to grow and learn more about this community. Olivia wants to be the voice for those who otherwise may not be heard. She wants to break the social stigma towards those who are beautiful in a way that was never seen as “normal.”
Prince Wang is pursuing a dual degree in international relations and business management with a minor in Chinese. His supporting organization is Model United Nations (MUN), which seeks to uphold the principles of the United Nations through simulated conferences, train members in diplomacy and act as representatives within a diverse array of worldly issues, and promote an inclusive environment where all are welcome. His platform is building a better world through better learning, which seeks to provide education on world affairs, diplomacy, and current events to schools that do not have these programs. Through the context of Virginia Tech, his platform would strive to reach students from the New River Valley and help create Model UN and related programs that educate students from a worldly perspective. He is passionate about this platform because learning about the world beyond one's immediate community is incredibly important. It fosters empathy, open-mindedness, and a contextualized understanding of the world. He wants to represent Virginia Tech on Homecoming Court because this is a platform he is truly passionate about, and an incremental step that MUN can take in combatting educational inequity.
Reid Burton is super excited about the opportunity to be on this year's Homecoming Court with his sponsoring organization German Club! Reid is currently a rising senior studying both marketing management and creative writing. His platform is focused on providing mental health resources and education to middle and high school kids, spreading awareness about the mental health challenges of those middle to high school years, and helping those facing these challenges to better understand mental illness and that it's okay to reach out and get help. Reid chose this platform because when he was in high school, he was diagnosed with alopecia universalis, an autoimmune disorder that caused him to lose all of his hair. This caused his mental health to deteriorate. His lack of knowledge of what anxiety or depression is kept him from taking the steps to reach out and get help. He wants to represent Tech on Homecoming Court in order to stand up for kids who feel the same way he did and foster a community of understanding, care, and support not only in the New River Valley but beyond.
Tia Farese is majoring in industrial and systems engineering and minoring in business and psychology. She is sponsored by her sorority, Pi Beta Phi. Her platform is to educate, motivate, and support young girls in STEM. Growing up, she was always outnumbered by males in advanced STEM courses. Tia hopes to teach young girls in the Blacksburg community about their potential and get them excited about their abilities. She is a proud Hokie and a proud woman in STEM. She can’t wait to give back to Virginia Tech, connect with her peers, and make a positive impact on young girls. She is honored to be serving on court and thankful for everyone who has helped her achieve this.