UW Bothell Homecoming Royalty

UW Bothell Homecoming Royalty

Published: October 23, 2015

On Saturday, October 17 before the Husky Nation, Cruz De Jesus Garibay became the first ever University of Washington Bothell student to be named Homecoming Royalty.
The Yakima, Washington native is a senior double majoring in Health Studies and Law, Economics and Public Policy with a minor in Human Rights.

Assistant Director for Alumni and Student Engagement Marcella Flores says Cruz was one of 92 applicants for the Royal Court. She says Cruz stood out because of his involvement on the growing UW Bothell campus and his ability to think critically about his student experience and improve the experience for other. His passion for community and a great sense of humor couldn’t have hurt.

Why did you choose UW Bothell?
I chose to come to UW Bothell after my first visit to the campus. During this time I was unsure of which school to choose for my undergraduate degree. I knew that I had made my decision when I saw something that I had not seen touring other campuses; a student with a chemistry book going over problems with his professor in the commons.

Why did you decide to run for Homecoming King?
I never imagined that I would be selected to be part of the court, much less be crowned king. When I first heard about it, I was reluctant to apply because I was not sure if it was open to all three campuses, but after talking to one of the members of the selection committee, Ann Nguyen, I found out that this award is open to students from all three campuses. I applied because I wanted to be an example of some of the great things students are doing at UW Bothell.

Can you talk about some of your leadership activities on the UW Bothell campus that you believe contributed to your selection?
I am a firm believer in gaining the most out of my education, and for me that means involvement on and off campus. I was a resident advisor for three years, and always held an on-campus job promoting resources to students. I am a big proponent of initiatives that can make the student experience better; I was a part of the first group of Peer Academic Advisors and I began a foundation for a first year experience program with the help and support of resident life directors. Currently I am working with the Health Educators Reaching Out (HERO’s) as the health educator for Health Services. My goal is to begin the structural framework for a health service center that will make healthcare services more accessible to students at UW Bothell. When I am not working as a HERO I am working as a peer scholarship advisor guiding students through the scholarship application process.

Briefly describe the process and interview experience.
The process began through an online application. I had to fill out general information such as my name, major, hometown and on campus involvement. I also had to complete an essay which described my Husky experience. Out of those who applied, the committee had to cut it down to twelve individuals to invite for an in-person interview in front of a committee. After we were interviewed there was a final cut and six applicants were chosen, four for the court and two for royalty. The court consisted of, Harnoor Mahal, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Jan Jimenez, and Collin Olden, each of them received a $1,000 scholarship. The royalty (King and Queen) consisted of Mayowa Aina and me. Both of us received a $3,000 scholarship.

Describe the moment you found out.
Initially I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I had to reread the email a few times. Just remembering the moment brings back the joy and excitement I felt when I received the email. I was in line at my favorite restaurant in Woodinville, Chipotle, when I felt my phone vibrate. My heart skipped a beat realizing it was from the Homecoming Committee. I thought, “Well if it’s a no then at least I have food to drown my sorrows.” I didn’t have a chance to open it because I was next in line so I asked for my order to go and took extra napkins just in case. I finally read the email in my car which was a good thing because “allegedly” I might have let out a few fanboy yells.

How does it feel knowing you’re the first UW Bothell student to be named University of Washington Homecoming King?
Knowing that I was selected among a pool of highly qualified candidates is humbling. I feel honored, but nervous at the same time. I want to live up to the expectations and standards that come with being a UW student (soon to be Alum) and do not want to let anyone down.

What would you say to other UW Bothell students who may want to run for future Homecoming Courts?
Just apply! From personal experience and through mentoring other students, we ourselves are our own worst enemies. Sometimes we question and down talk ourselves, but if I would have listened to my own self-doubts, I never would have been the first Homecoming Royalty from UW Bothell.

You received a check for $3,000. How will that help you as you pursue your degree?
The funding that I received will help offset the cost of tuition. As a first generation student, I have had to manage financing education on my own. I have had to work up to three jobs simultaneously while taking a full time course load just to be able to afford tuition and living expenses. I am grateful and thankful to ASUW for this opportunity which was funded by the Alumni Association. This award will help me devote more time towards my studies during my last year as an undergraduate.

Congratulations to Cruz and the rest of the Homecoming Royalty!

Cruz De Jesus Garibay Cruz De Jesus Garibay