Inside Tulane’s 2021 homecoming

Caroline Latta, Staff Reporter

homecoming court
The 2021 Homecoming Court. (Courtesy of Tidal Wave Board)

Tulane University’s annual homecoming kicked off this week with an extensive lineup of events. On Monday, clubs and other campus organizations were able to paint a window in the Lavin-Bernick Center. The ceremonial lighting of McAlister debuted homecoming week. Included in the festivities were performances from two a cappella groups, before emcee Jalen Lacour announced the 2021 Homecoming Court. 

Tuesday involved a Food Truck Village on the Berger Family Lawn with inflatable lawn games. The food trucks included local New Orleans eats from Johnny’s Jamaican, Dirty Dishes, La Cocinita, Tangerine and Queen on Wheels. 

The LBC also hosted a comedy show, featuring stand-up comedian T. Murph in Kendall Cram. T. Murph was featured on Comedy Central and Hulu’s Television Series “Woke.” 

Thursday is Tidal Wave Thursday on the Berger Family Lawn showcasing a variety of celebratory events. That evening, Snakehips, a British electronic music duo will host a free performance. 

On Friday, students can grab a free Homecoming 2021 T-shirt inspired by this year’s theme of “Off TU See the World.” The week wraps up with the homecoming football game against the University of Tulsa at 3 p.m. on Saturday in Yulman Stadium. 

Here is an inside look at this year’s Homecoming Court.

Lance Brunson

Hometown: Mobile, AL

Major(s): Communication and Anthropology

Minor: French

Favorite Tulane Experience: Performing at my freshmen year Homecoming A Cappella Concert! McAlister Auditorium was filled, and it was so much fun to be on stage and perform in such a large venue for the first time.”

Involvements on Campus: Green Envy A Cappella, Green Wave Ambassadors, Intern in Office of Admission, New Student & Leadership Programs

Why Homecoming Court: I ran for court because I saw it as an opportunity to collaborate with really amazing leaders from all across campus.”

Post-Grad Plans: I plan to attend Graduate School for Biological Anthropology.”

Luisa Cuellar

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia

Major(s): Psychology: Early Childhood education and Sociology

Favorite Tulane Experience: “Snow day at the LBC quad”

Involvements on Campus: GWA, Admissions, AKPsi, Infant and Toddler Development Project

Why Homecoming Court: “I want to be able to celebrate my Tulane experience with anyone who made it possible!!”

Post-Grad Plans: “teaching!!!”

Elise Gjertson

Hometown: Lafayette, Louisiana

Major(s): Marketing Design 

Minor(s): Psychology

Favorite Tulane Experience: 

Involvements on Campus: Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi), New Student Orientation Board of Directors/Waveleader, Phi Mu

Why Homecoming Court: “In hopes of sharing in one of the final opportunities to participate in the energetic, imaginative, and merry festivities that Tulane students can share together” 

Post-Grad Plans: “Working for a little while, then hopefully grad school for design or marketing”

Zack Gronlund

Hometown: Ellicott City, MD

Major: Chemical Engineering

Favorite Tulane Experience: My favorite Tulane memory was my first crawfest freshman year. It was the first time I learned how to peel a crawfish and I felt like I was finally becoming a part of not only the Tulane but the New Orleans community and experiencing the culture that I came here for.”

Involvements on Campus: New Student Orientation Board of Directors, Tu Tones A Cappella, Tulane University Roller Skating Club (TURSC), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AiChE), and Tau Beta Phi Engineering Honors Fraternity.

Why Homecoming Court: I ran for homecoming court because I was nominated, it sounded like a fun experience, and thought it would be a great way to cap off my time at Tulane.”

Post-Grad Plans: My post grad plans are potentially a job with Epic Systems in Madison, WI or pursuing a PhD in chemical engineering.”

Peyton Jernigan

Hometown: Arlington, VA

Major(s): Neuroscience and Public Health

Minor: Music

Favorite Tulane Experience: Jumping in the Reily pool with the entire orientation staff”

Involvements on Campus: Green Wave Ambassadors, Undergraduate Admission Intern, Phi Mu Fraternity Phi Director, NSLP Board of Directors & Waveleader, LBC Building Manager

Why Homecoming Court: It’s an incredible opportunity to celebrate the people who have made the most of their Tulane experience & I wanted to be a part of that community”

Post-Grad Plans: “Staying at Tulane for a Master’s in Public Health”

Patricia Noel

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Major(s): Political Science and Legal Studies in Business

Favorite Tulane Experience: “I loved being a wave leader during my sophomore year. I had 29 incredible first-years, and I believe that it is so special that I was able to be the first person to welcome them to our great institution. I was also placed on the floor I lived on my Freshman year, Wall 4, and it was so fun to be back.”

Involvements on Campus: Admissions Intern, Green Wave Ambassadors, NSLP Intern, Chi Omega

Why Homecoming Court: “I was the [homecoming] queen at my high school 4 years ago, so I thought this could be a great opportunity for me to show my love for Tulane. Additionally, I think Homecoming Court is so unique, and this is definitely something I will remember for the rest of my life.” 

Post-Grad Plans: “I am currently in the process of applying to law schools across the country. I hope to be at SMU Dedman School of Law pursuing a specialization in Civil Rights litigation.” 

Lucy Sartor

Hometown: Monroe, LA

Major(s): Digital Media Production and English with a concentration in Creative Writing

Minor: Theatre Performance

Favorite Tulane Experience: The most impactful experience I’ve had at Tulane was marching from McAlister Auditorium to Jackson Square in support of Black Lives Matter last summer. The demonstration was organized by Tulane students– Les Griots Violets, a coalition of Black women. Students, administrators, and teachers walked 5 miles down St. Charles Avenue in solidarity, our group growing as people hopped off streetcars, ran out of restaurants, and drove alongside us. It was very powerful.”

Involvements on Campus: Comedy Chair for Tulane University Campus Programming, Green Wave Ambassador, Chi Omega, student film and theatre productions on campus

Why Homecoming Court: My family is full of Tulane alums: my grandmother was Student Body President of Newcomb in 1957, and my parents met at Tulane and got married here. My grandfather taught in the law school, and later taught me the Hullabaloo chant as a toddler. I’ve been a Tulanian all my life and have wanted to be on homecoming court since I was a kid watching the halftime presentation. I’m excited for my fellow court members/best friends and I to take Yulman by storm!” 

Post-Grad Plans: After graduation, I’m going to NYC for the summer to film a movie that I’m writing with my director friend. Then, I’m moving to Los Angeles to start writing, acting, and producing in Hollywood.”

Westly Sturhan

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Major(s): Public Health, Political Economy, and Economics

Favorite Tulane Experience: “My favorite Tulane experience is probably when during my freshman year at Tulane I joined the Outreach Tulane, and we were tasked with removing debris from the neutral ground in the Bywater, and as a part of it there was a tree threatening to fall into the road, and as an upperclassman stared at it with me, looked me in the the eyes and said “only the audacious”, and without saying anything else we both managed to move the large debris away from the road safely. That experience shows a constant spirit which students here have, and that spirit is my favorite part of Tulane.”

Involvements on Campus: Tulane Journal of Political Economy, Tulane Engineers without Borders, Tulane Habitat for Humanity, Honors Peer Mentor, TotheWall! Intramural Soccer team. 

Why Homecoming Court:My friends signed me up for court, so I was [kind of] thrown into it, so I decided to do my best for them, but by the end of it I accidentally started having a little too much campaigning”

Post-Grad Plans:My plan is to pursue a masters degree in economics, or to go into economic work with a healthcare focus.”

Clara Tome

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Major(s): Environmental Studies and Political Science (International Development)

Minor: Portuguese

Favorite Tulane Experience: My favorite Tulane experience was seeing Waka Flocka Flame live on campus in the Homecoming Week of 2018. The concert was so much fun, and I got to bond with my friends. My other favorite Tulane experience is Festival Latinx in March 2020. This is TU Gente, :most important yearly event and last time we did it, we had so much food and live music and I bonded with my friends and the rest of the TU Gente executive board at the time. I am excited to bring this back next semester”

Involvements on Campus: TU Gente, TIDES Peer Mentor Program (Team Leader), Tri Delta (Diversity and Inclusion Chair and Morale Chair), Tower and Crescent Alumni Organization, Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity

Why Homecoming Court: I ran for Homecoming Court because I love this Tulane tradition. I wanted to step out of my comfort and put myself out there to the Tulane community and not miss out on anything during my last year at Tulane. I am so excited for this.”

Post-Grad Plans: I am currently submitting Law School applications and am planning on entering Law School in Fall 2022. I plan on spending time with my family and friends next summer before I begin studying and working in the legal field. Fingers crossed.”

Kennedy Walker

Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA

Major(s): Dance and Neuroscience

Minor(s): Chemistry

Favorite Tulane Experience: My favorite Tulane memory was getting to perform in Music Box Village this past spring. with Newcomb Dance Company and local New Orleans artists during the pandemic when live dance was basically non-existant”

Involvements on Campus: intern in the Office of Undergraduate Admission, Vice President of Special EVents for Green Wave Ambassadors, secretary of Tulane Roller Skating Club, Panhellenic delegate for Chi Omega. 

Why Homecoming Court: I ran for homecoming court because the people I have looked up to as mentors throughout my Tulane experience mostly all ran for or were part of Homecoming Court, so it seemed like the thing to do in an effort to keep inspiring people they way they inspired me. I also love this school and I have always thought of being on court as such an honor.”

Post-Grad Plans: After graduation, I am planning to get my Masters in Dance Science at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London. This will give me the opportunity to really combine my neuroscience and dance education in one place.”