Students to ring cowbells at graduation


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Photo by Ashley Ross |

Jerome Kukor, dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Academic Programs and Research, explain details and plans of the school's convocation Tuesday night at the SEBS Governing Council meeting in the Cook Campus Center.


It looks like this year's University commencement will have a little bit more cowbell.

As their signature noisemaker, the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences will ring cowbells during the ceremony to distinguish themselves from other students, said Zaid Abuhouran, SEBS Governing Council president.

"The general consensus was most students loved the idea of cowbells," said Abuhouran, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior. "It's very representative of the cultural background of our school, of our campus, Cook campus."

When called in front of everyone in the stadium, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences students will stand up, use their cowbells and cheer, he said.

A committee from the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences academic office concerning its individual convocation created a Facebook event and invited School of Environmental and Biological Sciences students asking them for their opinions on what they wanted to use including vuvuzelas, party poppers and other options, Abuhouran said.

At first, council Vice President Nate Girer said he was not too fond of using cowbells, but the council is working to make them more personalized to the professional school.

"We're trying to get them painted green and have SEBS engraved on it and we take it home" said Girer, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior. "It's better than plain old cowbells you can't keep."

Most of what is going to take place at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences convocation, after the University-wide commencement, will be very similar to past Cook College graduations, he said.

Graduating students will sit at the bottom of the hill on Passion Puddle on Cook campus, where convocation will take place, Abuhouran said. There will be seats in the center going up towards Martin Hall on Cook Campus for deans and faculty.

Parents and guests can park their cars on Cook campus and reserve a spot on the lawn to make a U-shape around the students and faculty, he said. There will not be assigned seating for parents and family.

"They can bring their own lawn chairs and blankets and lay out on the lawn and hang out," Abuhouran said. "It's very informal, that's how it's always been for Cook College."

Environmental Policy representative Dayna Bertola said she is glad the University is trying to unite the campus community as a whole, while keeping the individuality between schools.

"Cook students look forward to graduation at Passion Puddle," said Bertola, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior. "One of the big concerns was not having it. I think it's good they're doing a little bit of both."

Although the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences convocation will not have a guest speaker — the main commencement will have Toni Morrison speak — it will feature a student class speaker, he said.

Seniors or the dean of students and Cook campus will select the speaker, he said. Either party is expected to choose the speaker after spring break.

"The deans will choose somebody who's been in the community and a great student, someone who is a good role model and embodies the student body," Girer said.

To elaborate on convocation plans, Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) Academic Programs and Research Jerome Kukor, spoke Monday night at the SEBS Governing Council meeting.

Focus of the convocation is to recognize the students with the Latin honors — cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude, Abuhouran said.

One issue Kukor mentioned in the meeting is May 15 will be the last day for final exams to be submitted, Abuhouran said. The registrar will not have grades processed until Saturday evening, the day before graduation.

Staff will need to stay up late Saturday night or very early Sunday morning in order to arrange the honor recognition for students at convocation, he said.

"Dean Kukor said his office will work very hard to make sure students are honored at graduation for their academic achievements," Abuhouran said.

The School of Environmental and Biological Sciences will keep the Cook Campus tradition of giving red oak seedlings to each graduating student, he said.

"As the first ever graduating class of SEBS, since there is no longer a Cook Campus, we want that tradition to stay," Abuhouran said.

Last summer, the committee for the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences convocation chose the robes students will wear this summer, Abuhouran said.

Cook Campus graduation robes were mainly green, Girer said. Robes now will be black with green trails. One example is currently on display at the Cook Campus Center.


Reena Diamante

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