Inside the Michigan Union’s Rogel Ballroom, participants in the annual Mr. Blue contest were asked a series of questions.

“If you could tell yourself something at any age, what would you tell yourself?” one organizer asked.

“I would go to a time when I was younger and tell myself about trying, attempting and being courageous, never having fear, never having regrets, about living my dreams to the fullest,” LSA senior Canon Thomas said. “Because when I put forward my passion and my tenacity I will be successful.”

Thomas would go on to win Mr. Blue, which is awarded to one student who is making a positive difference in their community. Mr. Blue is just one part of the celebrations associated with the annual Black Homecoming, held Saturday evening. Organized by the student groups H.E.A.D.S. — Here Earning a Destiny through Honesty, Eagerness, and Determination of Self — and Sister 2 Sister, “Resurgence: The Harlem Renaissance” was the theme celebrating the 15th annual semi-formal event, which also included an official after-party that night in the Biomedical Science Research Building.

Kinesiology senior Fitz Tavernier, H.E.A.D.S. chairman and president, wrote in an e-mail interview that the event’s theme was meant to highlight African American art, music and dance during the 1920s.

“It represented a time period that fosters black pride and uplifting of race through the use of intellect,” he wrote.

Tavernier also wrote that the crowning of Mr. Blue and Ms. Maize at Black Homecoming, an honor historically bestowed on two members of the senior class, was meant to highlight students who “made strides to enhance the school community, bring about social awareness, while also achieving high academic success.”

Participants in the competition went through an elaborate application process, which included writing several essays. Throughout the event, votes were taken and the winners of the titles were announced toward the end of the event.

Business senior Amber Blanks, who won this year’s Ms. Maize title, said the contest is about being a leader who can make a positive impact in the community. It is also about being recognized by peers in the community for one’s contributions.

Thomas said the title makes their contributions to the community seem appreciated and encourages others to promote positive change on campus.

“Ms. Maize represents a person that is very committed to not only holding themselves in high esteem, but also someone that is not afraid to go out and affect change whether on a small scale or large scale, just being able to really own whatever projects or assignments that are on and really work with people to make changes around the campus,” said LSA senior Shelbey Roberts, who also ran for the title of Ms. Maize.

Planning for Black Homecoming began in June, with organizers meeting once per week every Saturday. In addition to handling decorations, budget, arranging food and a DJ, organizing members also attempted to connect alumni to the event.

“We are hoping to make this event a networking opportunity for the University of Michigan Black alumni board and current students,” said Engineering junior Azia Harris-Martin, one of the event organizers.

The organizers said the event was planned for attendants to have fun without worrying about classes and to meet new people from their community and others around campus, as students from all backgrounds were welcome to attend.

Thomas said events such as this help to recreate relationships and bonds within the community.

In addition to celebrating the achievements and contributions of current students with the Mr. Blue and Ms. Maize titles, organizers aimed for Saturday’s event to increase the depth and breadth of student involvement in creating positive changes across campus and the greater community.

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