“Throughout my three years here at the university, I’ve just been putting in effort into different organizations and trying to get to know people. So at the end of the day, it’s just a big accomplishment that I was able to pull off,” Kenzee Blount said.
Homecoming king, senior Kenzee Blount, succeeded in being “authentically himself” and hopes to continue in sharing this message to others on campus.
“So hopefully, throughout the rest of my time here at the university, I can really just encourage people to truly just take advantage of all the resources in the community here at the university,” Blount said. “And to really just help them understand that they’re perfectly where they are, and that without them, our university wouldn’t be the same.”
Throughout his time at the university Blount has been involved in organizations including co-director for special events for Active Minds, a learning and engagement ambassador, MPower peer leader, director of Rebel Run and an orientation leader.
“The one position that really helped me just growing leadership skills and the individual that I am today would be an orientation leader and just going through that training and doing that for the past two summers has really helped me grow so much,” Blount said.
Blount is from the nearby town of Independence, Mississippi and has always held a special place in his heart for the University of Mississippi.
“I always knew about Ole Miss. I’d come to different events and everything but you really don’t understand the community that comes with it until you get here. Just being able to make those connections and have that community is really just what makes Ole Miss special,” Blount said.
After completing his campaign for homecoming king, Blount is hoping to create lifetime memories during his senior year both on and off campus.
“I’m trying to get more into going on like little spontaneous road trips and stuff like that. I just got back from a trip to Chattanooga so that was fun,” Blount said. “But really just kind of just like getting more out there like traveling and stuff like that.”
Blount credits the university as helping the development of his campaign platform and his slogan “be authentically you.”
“When I came in my freshman year, I was really just kind of struggling with my identity, and who I was, and everything and just mentors and peer leaders and people in the community here at the university, really just embraced who I am,” Blount said. “It’s like having a better understanding of who I am. So really, that’s just kind of where the idea kind of stemmed from was really just kind of trying to be that person.”
After an extended campus absence and restrictions from COVID-19, election results are once again being announced outside of the Lyceum.
“Honestly, when I first started thinking about running and stuff that was kind of like one of the first thoughts that I had because with COVID-19 in the past and not being able to have those announcements out there at the Lyceum, I thought it was a really big bummer. But being able to do that, again, just the thought of it was just kind of exhilarating, but then actually being able to be there,” Blount said.
Blount said that being able to be present at the announcement of election results made the hard work of the campaign worth it.
“Hearing like all the names, the announcements, stuff like that, it just really just broadened the perspective. Like wow, this has been what my time here the university’s kind of been leading up to, and just really, it was just really just a good time. And it’s an exciting moment, honestly,” Blount said.
Blount had strong feelings about the best restaurant in Oxford and answered with no hesitation.
“That’s an easy one, South Depot Taco Shop. I’ll say, there was a big debate over the summer between Chipotle or South Depot and anybody who said Chipotle, I gotta get out,” Blount said.
Junior exercise science major Addison Russell is one of Blount’s campaign managers and has known him since their first year at the university.
“So Kenzee is my best friend in the whole world. I met him my freshman year, his sophomore year, and the impact that he had on my life, like he really did change who I am as a person,” Russell said.
Even though Russell was one of the campaign managers, she said she couldn’t have done the campaign without everyone involved.
“Really, everybody helped, like, I cannot express that enough. There were so many people behind the scenes doing things and helping,” Russell said. “It was a super fun experience. I wouldn’t change it for anything. The people made it so incredible. So anything that we might want to stress about there was always somebody there to help.”
Senior integrated marketing communications major Aggie Doddridge is the other campaign manager and she has had a relationship with Blount since high school. After hearing his decision to run, she was overjoyed to be a part of it.
“I’ve known Kenzee since we were in high school, and, you know, ever since coming to the university and I think those, you know, friendships that you’ve had for a while can really benefit you and help you guide you through this academic whirlwind,” Doddridge said. “When he approached me about wanting to do it, I was just all gung ho and ready to support him and help him in any way possible. He is the type of person that you always want your corner and has truly made the University of Mississippi at home for me.”
Doddridge gave a piece of friendly advice for anyone on campus who considers running for homecoming court in the coming years.
“The pros outweigh the cons. And I would encourage people to take that leap of faith to examine how your life has been at Ole Miss. And, you know, no matter what the outcome is, at the end of it, you’re gonna learn something from it, you’re gonna make a better student because of it, be more well rounded, and you’re going to take it into your professional career,” Doddridge said.
Even though the campaign may be over, Blount and his team will continue to spread his message across campus and Oxford to encourage everyone to “be authentically you.”