Hands shaking, stomach quivering with excitement, and then your name is called. Walking on stage is the moment every student is waiting for, to celebrate all the struggles and sleepless nights to get where they are now.
However, last year’s ceremony at Rocky Young Park was overcrowded to the point that families and friends were on their feet watching their graduate walk. There have been discussions between the Academic Senate, Student Services and President Kathleen Burke about the possibility of moving it to the Shepard Stadium for the spring 2017 graduation ceremony.
According to Vice President of Student Services Earic Dixon Peters, for the past few years the number of students participating in the graduation ceremony has increased.
“When I first got here, we were only having 300 students graduate,” Peters said. “People are getting through the system. They are graduating and participating in the ceremony which is great. I honestly didn’t expect these many students in the system,” Peters said.
According to Peters, the last day the students are on campus is for the commencement ceremony, and that day is the most important because it’s the last time they can connect with their fellow classmates.
Dean of Student Services William Marmolejo said that moving the ceremony to the stadium would create some changes. For example, shading would be a problem because the stadium is very exposed. However, it has not been decided and the decision will be made by spring semester.
“We want to create an environment and have a beautiful ceremony where it’s going to be comfortable, not only for our guest, but our students,” Marmolejo said.
According to Peters, students will be asked if they will participate in the graduation ceremony to have an accurate account and to provide enough chairs. In addition, for next year’s ceremony there will be more restrictions about students leaving in the middle of the commencement ceremony.
Other changes include a graduation petition. Students who want to attend graduation have to meet with a counselor first to do a preliminary evaluation of the student’s academic history along with the graduation petition, said Astorga.
Dean of Student Engagement Juan Carlos Astorga thinks that having the commencement ceremony at Rocky Young Park would be a potential benefit because individuals who are hungry or thirsty will be able to go to the food court.
“It was my first commencement last year and I really liked it. I wish there could’ve been more seating for guest, but overall I think it was nice and it wasn’t too hot,” Astorga said.