This year, the announcement and crowning for Mr. and Ms. Marshall were held on the Rec Center outdoor field the morning of the game, rather than during half-time at the game itself. The event was streamed live from the Marshall University Facebook page and a few students and staff were allowed to stand outside around the field following social distancing procedures.
Mel Thomas was crowned Mr. Marshall 2020. Thomas is a senior from Bluefield, WV double majoring in criminal justice and communication studies. He is the current president of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. He is also a first-generation college student.
“This was really my first time being away from home. However the love and support I received was unmatched,” said Thomas. “I instantly felt at home. One of my favorite things about Marshall is the freedom and ability to be who you want to be.”
Thomas ran for Mr. Marshall to bring people together and to show others that it is important to follow your dreams and to not be afraid to stand out and be yourself.
“Every person on Marshall’s campus has unique traits and backgrounds. However, that does not stop the community from finding common ground to connect,” said Thomas.
Thomas’ platform is based around diversity and inclusivity on campus. He wants to create a more open and secure environment for those who feel excluded and discriminated against. He plans to work with many campus organizations, such as the Women’s and Gender Center and the Intercultural Affairs office, to promote their resources for minority groups on campus
and how to access them when in need.
“I look forward to making everyone feel like part of the Herd,” said Thomas. “There is something on this campus for everyone and I will take it as my personal responsibility to make sure everyone finds that group.”
Kristen Shomo was crowned Miss Marshall 2020 the morning of the Homecoming football game.
Shomo is a senior from South Charleston, WV majoring in biology, with hopes to become a pediatric dentist. She is a feature twirler for the Marching Thunder and a part of the Baptist Campus Ministries. She has also been an RA in the First Year Residence Halls for three years.
Shomo ran for Miss Marshall with a platform on food insecurity with “Promote and Encourage #Stepup2thePlate,” which is a two-step approach to promoting food insecurity awareness across West Virginia and encouraging people to get involved to help. She has a few plans to get Marshall involved and events to help raise awareness.
“I want to have a food drive competition among different organizations on campus. I believe breaking the competition up into different groups will help with get more people involved.” Shomo said, “I’d also want to try to set up a collection of non-perishable food items at a football game. The food would be donated to the university’s food pantry as well as Facing Hunger Foodbank.”
Shomo grew up going to Marshall football games. Her favorite part about Marshall is also one of the many reasons she chose to run.
“I have made an extended family here,” said Shomo. “I know a lot of people on campus and felt that this would be a great network for me to be able to reach out to a lot of people. I feel that I have great leadership characteristics and can get lots of people involved to help make a difference.”
She is looking forward to getting to be a face of Marshall University, from speaking on and off campus and further share her platform.
“In West Virginia, over 250,000 people are struggling with hunger. If we all come together as a Marshall family, we can make a difference and help knock out hunger,” said Shomo.
Abby Hanlon can be reached at [email protected]