Students lose identity with 2010 consolidation
As I picked up yesterday's edition of The Daily Targum and read the headline "U. consolidates 2010 graduation ceremonies," I was in disbelief. It hit me hard seeing that starting in 2010, there will only be one graduation ceremony for the last ever Rutgers College, Livingston College, Douglass College and University College classes. As I sat and read the article about the decision, I could not help but feel like I was being made into a number and only a number. I was told I am going to be packed into the stadium on Busch campus and essentially not mean anything with bare minimal recognition for my success with my name being displayed for a few seconds on the scoreboard. With this change in graduation procedures, I will no longer be a Rutgers College graduate of 2010 with lots of tradition and pride. The fact that I made it into a competitive program, made it through and have waited my entire academic career at the University to walk through the gates on Old Queen's campus into Voorhees Mall on the College Avenue campus means absolutely nothing. All the traditions that keep me linked to a prestigious school will now be eliminated. Furthermore, the traditions that will connect me with the rest of my family, a Rutgers legacy who are Rutgers College graduates, will be eliminated. I ask you: What was the point of telling the Class of 2010 that they were the last respective class for their individual schools to uphold all their traditions if they were to be eliminated by a select few individuals? Why take away all those things that keep the Class of 2010 associated with their schools when they were asked to choose between remaining in their colleges or switching to the School of Arts and Sciences? It is absolutely ludicrous to think that the Class of 2010 will be complacent with this decision. There is no reason for us to be. We are being turned from proud and honored individuals to numbers so the University can boast about how successful it is instead of how successful individual students are.
The University can try to make excuses about students having complained about the days and times of their graduation ceremonies, work conflicts and the like, but I know that since graduation and tradition is so important to the students at the University, students find ways to work with those conflicts so they can be present for one of the most important days of their lives. Changing the dates and the setup of graduation to alleviate parking problems and to reduce the amount of time faculty must spend on school grounds is ridiculous. This change only takes away from the spirit and pride of the event.
The changes in graduation procedures do not just affect the present graduates and their traditions; they affect all the alumni of the University as well. The weekend that graduation ceremonies begin also happens to be Reunion Weekend for alumni. With the elimination of ceremonies for individual schools comes the elimination of Reunion Weekend. This weekend means more than words can express to our esteemed alumni. These people look forward to reuniting every year to reminisce about their memorable pasts and discuss all that has changed since their time on the Banks. Why take something away from all these people that take joy in sharing their traditions with their classmates and future graduates?
It makes no sense to condense all the graduation ceremonies. Why only let specific professional schools maintain their traditions? When I read about that, my heart broke even more because I was told my school's traditions are not considered as important as another school's. What would alumni think if they were told this? Would they be complacent to know that everything that was and is important to them at Rutgers is not considered valuable? Absolutely not. Then I ask: What's the point in attending a school with so many valued traditions to be told that what you value is meaningless?
I am wholeheartedly offended to know that the Class of 2010, my class and my peers' class, had its commencement procedures decided upon by a select few individuals. Our traditions have been stripped from us without our consent. This needs to be fixed and it needs to be done quickly. Think of what this University means to us. Our alma mater says it best: "Her ardent spirit stirred and cheered me, from the day me college years began; Gracious Alma Mater mine; Learning's fair and honored shrine; On the banks of the old Raritan."
Kari Setzer is a Rutgers College junior majoring in Spanish linguistics.