Graduation consolidation takes away uniqueness of U.
As a transfer student from the University of Maryland, I am fully aware of how it feels to go to a huge college where your identity gets lost among the thousands of students. The reason that I decided to transfer into Rutgers is because it did not make me feel like a number. Rutgers is a very large school, but the individual campuses make you forget that and give you the feeling of a small neighborhood instead of a massive city, or at least they used to.
Although this letter is sparked by the joint graduation ceremony implemented for the Class of 2010, it is just the straw that broke the camels back. The first, of course, was condensing most of the colleges into the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. The University used to be known for having so many different personalities that made up its great identity as the state University of New Jersey. Now it is just known as another big school with nothing special about it except the bus system. Douglass College was a landmark women's institution that has now been integrated into School of Arts and Sciences. There is still a separate graduation ceremony this year, but how long will that last? I am sure that in the next few years they will be bullied into joining the massive impersonal ceremony. Cook College was one of the most influential agricultural colleges in the country and anyone who has ever visited it knows that it has a unique identity that cannot be found anywhere else. Have no fear; Rutgers is slowly trying to dilute that too. Ag Field Day has now been changed to Rutgers Day. The day is supposed to showcase agriculture and the work that this college does to improve and sustain it; now it is just one big promotional event for the University. Cook, now the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, is also lumped into this mass graduation ceremony. Cook College graduates have always worn green robes to symbolize the importance of agriculture in our academic careers. Trees were given as a reminder to promote agriculture in all of our future endeavors. I guarantee this will not be allowed at graduation in the football stadium. Cook/School of Environmental and Biological Sciences students will be made to wear black robes, and the only trees around will be the ones you can see from Johnson Park.
Officials say they modeled this graduation ceremony off of 15 different universities, but I do not go to those universities; I go to Rutgers, and I want a Rutgers graduation. Apparently there were focus groups of students who agreed with this idea. Well, whoever you are, you should be ashamed of yourselves for not standing up for our tradition.
As the most diverse college in the country you would think that the University would embrace individuality instead of crushing it. We as a student body need to stand up against these changes and make our voices heard so our families do not end up watching you graduate from through binoculars.
Anna Norcia is a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior majoring in nutritional sciences. Her column, "Just the Facts," runs on alternate Mondays.