Troy University’s 2016 homecoming queen wants to shed a light on volunteer work and open communication during her reign.
Destiny Oliver, a senior global marketing major from Dothan, was crowned during halftime of the football game on Oct. 15 and chose the Boys & Girls Club of Pike County as her platform for the year.
Oliver attended the Wiregrass Boys & Girls Club when she was younger and began volunteering at the Pike County location during her sophomore year of college.
“It’s so cool to go hang out with the kids throughout the week while you’re here in Troy, rather than just donating money, because you get the experience with the (kids),” she said. “You get to help them with their spelling tests and homework and just play games with them.”
As part of her platform, she pledged to help the Club raise money for uniforms for its first ever flag football team and cheerleading squad. Since the money has now been raised, she is continuing to work with them on other needs.
“I chose them as my platform to help with uniforms, but they already have the uniforms now, so (Club Director Wayne) Buchanan and I have been working to see where that money is going to go to,” she said. “It’s been really exciting to see the kids get ready and get excited about this.”
Oliver said she was inspired by her sorority, Phi Mu, to run for homecoming queen and to promote the Boys & Girls Club. She and her sorority sisters volunteered last summer by cleaning and getting the building ready for the school year and helping pick vegetables from the garden.
“It’s just the little things to go and help,” she said. “I feel like if we’re here for four years, we might as well help out locally because this is your home while you’re here.”
Oliver is also heavily involved in other areas of Trojan life. She is the Phi Mu Panhellenic delegate, a Trojan ambassador and a senator-at-large in the Student Government Association. She also helped organize the “Breaking down Barriers” event in September, after attending a similar event on the Dothan campus, to help students understand the struggles people of other races experience.
“I was inspired to do one here at TROY because I feel like we are the next generation, and no one wants to get out of their comfort zone,” she said. “I felt it was needed to allow people an open comfort zone to let people talk about their experiences with race because we very freely talk about our own perspective on race with people who look like us, but not so much with people who don’t look like us.”
The discussion was moderated by four TROY administrators and professors and focused on questions such as, “Where are we?” “Where do we want to be?” and “How do we get there?”
“We all, in a sense, need that time to just talk,” she said. “Conversation is the only way things will get changed. We can all post on Facebook or Twitter and make memes, but until you have empathy, nothing will change.” She hopes to hold another discussion in November.
Oliver said she wants to “be a light to people” for those she meets on and off campus, whether by giving a smile, a wave or just being kind.
“Don’t be afraid to be in the background of things,” she said. “That’s the true meaning of the Trojan spirit. People who come here always say, ‘Ya’ll are really friendly,’ and it’s like, ‘yeah we really are.’ I like to show all aspects of Troy, not just the aspect of getting a good education.”
During her year as queen, Oliver said she wants to continue to break down barriers, persuade the students on her tours to choose TROY and encourage others to go out and volunteer.