Homecoming is an All-American, beloved tradition that students look forward to all season, especially in the south. Here at Southern Methodist University, we like to go all out and celebrate homecoming Texas style. From colorful floats to spirit rallies, SMU doesn’t disappoint. One of the biggest parts of Homecoming is the crowning of the Homecoming King and Queen. This year SMU crowned Karly Zrake from Alpha Chi Omega as our Homecoming Queen. We interviewed Karly Zrake about her homecoming experience, her plans after graduation, and to go along with this year’s theme, her personal “American Hero!”
Her Campus SMU: What are your thoughts on being elected Homecoming Queen?
Karly Zrake: I am honestly still in awe about the entire experience. It is an absolute honor to have been elected Queen, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve as a representative of SMU, the place I love so much. This definitely would not be a reality without my Alpha Chi sisters and the men of Kappa Sig, who all worked so hard to make Homecoming a huge success. I feel blessed by the amount of support I’ve gotten from all across campus—SMU really is a community of amazing people!
HCSMU: Who is your personal hero and what makes them your hero?
KZ: My mom is my personal hero– no competition. She is an incredibly strong woman who has raised my brothers and me on her own, while working more than full-time, and always being there for us, whether we needed emotional support or a ride to a sports practice. She’s a real-life Wonder Woman. She has dedicated her life to the service of others and always seeks to live her truth with kindness and empathy.
HCSMU: What’s your favorite thing about SMU?
KZ: Cheesy as it sounds, I’d have to say the people. The students, faculty and staff here really are the best of the best, and my experience would not have been the same without them. I appreciate how genuinely friendly everyone is and how people are happy to be here. The beautiful campus doesn’t hurt either
HCSMU: How are you involved on campus?
KZ: In Alpha Chi Omega, I have served the chapter as VP of Ritual and Fraternity Appreciation, Sisterhood Chair and several other chair positions. I have worked with the Embrey Human Rights Program for over three years and am the Administrative Director on its Student Leadership Initiative Board. I’m a Dedman College Scholar and sit on prospective student panels as a Dedman College Ambassador. This August, I was a Mustang Corral Guide for the third year. I belong to Golden Key Honor Society, Hyer Society, Mortar Board, and am an Engaged Learning Fellow. I also currently volunteer with the ESL classes on campus, which has been really awesome!
HCSMU: What is your favorite Homecoming tradition?
KZ: I love the Homecoming parade! It’s so fun to see all the hard work of float building pay off, and it’s also a really cool show of spirit and pride for organizations all over campus to come together and celebrate SMU. I always have a blast seeing the families and alums that come back to cheer on the Mustangs!
HCSMU: What is your favorite SMU tradition?
KZ: That’s a tough one. Is it too easy if I say Homecoming? All of the Homecoming festivities are an absolute blast! Whether we’re showing off our spirit at Rock the Vote or putting finishing touches on our float at 2 in the morning, there are so many great memories attached to the week. It’s a time where SMU can show off in full force just how amazing, creative and dedicated our people are, which is really awesome.
HCSMU: What are your plans after graduation?
KZ: I’m planning on taking a gap year before going to grad school, so I’m currently in the process of applying to jobs for this next year. I won’t find out about a couple options until next semester, so we’ll see what happens. I’m just enjoying the ride at this point!
HCSMU: What are you going to miss most about SMU?
KZ: Definitely the people. I’ve met my lifelong best friends and mentors here and have made so many connections that it will be really weird not seeing everybody everyday. I also think we’re so lucky to go to a school that always has something going on. Every way you turn there’s a cool event or opportunity, so it’s impossible to get bored. That being said, it’s the people that make those experiences all the better.
HCSMU: Anything else you want to add?
KZ: I just want to thank everyone who worked so hard on Homecoming! It’s no easy feat pulling off such a large-scale event so successfully. Major props to Student Foundation and everyone else who put their all into the week.