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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Campus

Students react to return of in-person commencement


corona commencement

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

With the COVID-19 vaccine becoming more available for faculty and students, the University announced that it will hold commencement ceremonies in-person.  

The announcement came on March 11 confirming graduation will be held May 10-16. 

“I am very happy about being able to graduate in person. I had always envisioned myself being able to walk across the stage,” said supply chain management senior Alex Huffman.

“Although we are in unprecedented times, I think the University’s COVID-19 policies should mitigate the situation well.” 

The ceremony is set to take place in-person, however, it will also be live-streamed for those not able or comfortable attending. 

Due to the current decision made by the University, students such as English senior Taylor Thomas are still cautious as to what this means for the future and a possible outbreak. 

“The idea of a mass outbreak due to the graduation is the obvious concern, but personally, if even one person got seriously ill over it, I would feel guilty in participating,” Thomas said. “No one needs to go through that, potentially develop long-term complications or die so that I can have a moment of happiness.” 

Tickets for guests will be required, but the amount of guests allotted per student has yet to be decided.  

With this unknown, students like Huffan remain concerned about the amount of family and friends that will be able to attend. 

“I have concerns about family members being able to attend,” Huffman said. “In a perfect world, I would want my grandparents and extended family to attend, but I know that that may not be a wise decision yet.”

The commencement ceremony will take place outdoors as well, with all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines implemented to further reduce exposure.

Despite the precautions and regulations that will be observed, some students such as Thomas are still not comfortable attending the in-person graduation, feeling the risk is too great. 

“In regards to an in-person graduation, I don’t personally feel comfortable going,” Thomas said.

“I don’t think a mass gathering for pleasure or validation is necessary. I can understand why some would want to go or feel differently than I do, but that is how I personally feel about it. For me, the idea of attending a graduation is entirely a bonus to the actual achievement of my degree, so I will not be attending.” 

According to the announcement by the University, plans are still being developed with more details and notifications released in the weeks ahead. Additionally, dates, times and format of graduation are subject to change. 

“When I think of graduation, I picture myself walking across the stage as my family cheers in the audience,” said journalism senior Sydney Davis. “After 2020, we wouldn’t have guessed that in just a few short months, UH is allowing us to have an in-person commencement. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to have a sense of normalcy with the vaccination approaching, and change is near.”

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