Students will be more involved this year with the commencement planning process than ever before, due in part to the formation of the student commencement committee.
Bernadette McVey, director of academic events, initiatives and planning and co-chair of the Commencement Planning Committee, said that she decided to form the committee so that the University could get input directly from graduating seniors about what they hope to experience at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony.
McVey tasked Student Government Association (SGA) president and junior English major Christina Simon with assembling this all-senior committee, a task that Simon said she has now completed.
“This committee will allow graduating seniors to work directly with the administrator in charge of the event planning of commencement to ensure that seniors see everything that they want to see at graduation and to ensure that seniors get the ceremony that best celebrates their academic accomplishments and hard work,” Simon wrote in an email.
Simon also hopes that student involvement will set a precedent for commencement planning in years to come.
While the committee has not met yet, Simon said that the committee will discuss their goals at the first meeting. After that, the committee will meet monthly with McVey.
Simon said that she cannot serve on the committee, so she won’t always know when the committee meetings will take place, but she knows McVey wants to
get started in November.
In order to get the word about the volunteer opportunity out, Simon met with the deans of each of SHU’s colleges. From there, the deans encouraged interested students to reach out to Simon by email. Simon met with those interested and then selected committee members based on the conversations she had with the volunteers.
Simon said that “many passionate student leaders” reached out to her as she sought one graduating senior from each of SHU’s schools to participate.
“Representing the views of the senior class collectively will be a big task as a member of the committee, and I am confident that the individuals on the committee will do a great job of this,” Simon wrote.
Bailey Howell, a senior public relations and theatre performance double major, is a committee member representing the College of Communication and the Arts, which she said is “a big responsibility, but a great honor.”
“I really wanted to make a difference for the senior class, so that our commencement ceremony is as amazing as our last four years have been,” Howell wrote in an email. “Graduation is something you look forward to from the beginning of your freshman year of college. It is my hope that this year’s commencement lives up to the expectations of the senior class.”
Students will not only be more involved in the planning but also in the ceremony itself. McVey said that one of her goals is to have students introduce speakers, rather than having one emcee from administration lead the festivities.
Howell also mentioned that the Class of 2018 seems to want a strong commencement speaker, which she found out from speaking to her peers.
“I want commencement to be an incredibly special day, not only for the graduating seniors, but also the family and friends celebrating the Class of 2018,” Howell wrote. “Ensuring this day is well-planned, organized, and furthermore executed will allow for an enjoyable morning for all.”
Brianna Bernath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.