When I started at Florida International University in Fall 2017, moving from India, I didn’t even know what Homecoming was. I learned that Homecoming celebrated the spirit of FIU by inviting alumni and organizing various festivities throughout the week for current students and members of the community. One part of the festivities is the Homecoming Court where first-years and sophomores are represented by Duke/ Duchess, juniors by Prince/ Princess and seniors/ graduate students by King/ Queen.
I decided to run for Homecoming Prince because I have been fortunate to grow as a person and gain leadership skills at FIU, and wanted to give back to the FIU community on a larger scale. I cherish FIU traditions such as not stepping on the Seal at GC or rubbing the head of the Panther for good luck. I love the plethora of opportunities available to all and the freedom to do more, more than just classes.
The event on Thursday was a year-old tradition called the Uncaging: a carnival hosted on the GC lawns open to the public. It was very well organized with a lot of activities and community partners and student organizations tabling in the lawns. I walked around talking to people and participating in activities. I was feeling anxious until I saw President Rosenberg and he said, “You would make a good Prince!” It was 7 PM and the sky turned dark, it was time for the announcement. “The 2019–2020 Homecoming Prince of Florida International University is Rahul Mittal.” I was taken aback, my heart was filled with joy as I saw all the hard work I put in bear fruit, getting crowned in the heart of FIU: GC Lawns.
Running for Homecoming Court and becoming Homecoming Prince is one of the most special moments of my time at FIU. With this position, I will be helping FIU fundraise for the Ignite foundation and fostering Panther Pride on campus by helping organize next year’s Homecoming. I aim to meet more students and be able to share my experience with them to encourage them to do more and inspire myself to do even more.