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Seniors Are Given Four Guest Tickets to Graduation: What Gives?

By Kelsey Davis; News Editor Elect
On March 7, 2016

Seniors Are Given Four Guest Tickets to Graduation: What Gives?

Kelsey Davis
News Editor Elect
kld1009@plymouth.edu

This year’s commencement ceremony is the start of a new tradition. For the first time, the ceremony will be held in the new ALL Well North building. An estimated 800 under-graduate students and between 150-200 graduate students are expected to receive diplomas. In the past, the commencement ceremony has been held in the athletic fields. However, this plan is not possible due to scheduling conflicts.

While the football field was used in the past, this year the field will be in use by the sport teams up until finals week, not leaving the university enough time to prepare the field for the ceremony. For the first time, the university has a large enough venue for the entire graduating class to be in the same area indoors, which means that there is no need for an emergency rain plan which has previously been to split the ceremony up between four locations around campus.

There is a limit of 5,500 people allowed in the ALL Well North building at one time, due to Life Safety codes put in place by the Holderness Fire Chief. Along with the graduating students, there are 200 faculty members and an estimated number of 100-150 VIP guests attending. There is also going to be a number of staff working the event. This large amount of people attending has forced the university to put a limit on how many guests a student can bring. Graduating students are only allowed four tickets.

The news that there would be a limit on how many guests a student could bring created a lot of backlash from seniors.

Senior Hannah Boutin said, “I find that four tickets is not enough for some families, or for the student who has a larger family. For example I only need one more ticket. I think that it is unfair that I can't just ask for a fifth ticket. A solution might be, on graduate’s day that the people who don't need all of the four tickets leave them for others to have. It's just not enough tickets for some people.”

Senior Justin Hardesty said, “Compared to most of my friends, I have a really small family but still need more than four tickets. If the school keeps accepting more and more students, I hope they realize they will definitely need more than four tickets per student.

Jen Smith, the Administrative Manager for the Academic Affairs office at Plymouth State said, “We looked into other, larger venues outside of Plymouth. Many venues around the town of Plymouth didn’t have the necessary infrastructure, others like the Verizon Center in Manchester were too far away.”

Smith continued to say, “Students wanted to have the ceremony here on campus. The ceremony is a celebration of four years of hard work. Many students think it is appropriate it have it on campus. Having it in the ALL Well North building allows us to do that, and also have the entire graduating class be in one space, instead of spreading it out to four different locations like have done for the past two years.”

Senior Cassidy Spencer said, “I agree that the day should be more about the success of the graduating students rather than showcasing a new building. I'd much rather have the ceremony outside and be able to invite more of my family members. Now, I'm being forced to decide between my grandparents, and that is a very unfair position for a graduating senior to be put in, especially on a day that is supposed to be about recognizing their accomplishments.”

“I understand why they would choose this building and want to have graduation there because of it being new and trying to promote the building,” said senior Kayla Coates. “But it did stress me out a little bit because I have two parents, two brothers, and my two grandparents coming to the event. This is a special day for me and my family so to have that possibility that two of my family members would have to watch the event somewhere else is unfortunate.”

The student body’s reaction to the venue selection is now opening up a new conversation about where future events will be held and how students and their families celebrate this extremely important event in their lives.

This year’s commencement ceremony will be held on Sat., May 14 at 10 am.

CLOCK PHOTO/ALEX CROSSLEY

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