U. commencement upsets traditions


A lot of students are upset about the changes made to the University's commencement ceremonies. We can't blame them. The University is an old school, rich with traditions and its own colorful mythology. The traditional ceremonies were a part of that tapestry. However, this is not the first move the University has made away from its traditions, and it certainly will not be the last. In fact, this stage of the University's existence really began back in 1982, before many of us were born. That was the beginning of the union of the various residential colleges — e.g., Rutgers College, Livingston College, etc. into one. This merger was completed in 2007, with the creation of the School of Arts and Sciences.

Many of us were not even students at the University when the School of Arts and Sciences was formed, so it is odd we have such nostalgic yearnings for something we never had in the first place. Still, we cannot help our feelings. As students at the University, we want to feel connected to the tradition. We want to be embedded in the school's history. Unfortunately for us, we never really had a shot at that. Traditions like breaking the clay pipes at graduation may seem small, but we do not believe we're making mountains out of molehills. Little details like this are important because of their symbolic weight.

It's difficult to be saddled with the weight of starting new traditions. Grudgingly, we admit it makes sense for the University to change the commencement ceremonies. Whether we prefer the old structure to the School of Arts and Sciences, this is what exists now and accommodations must be made. In terms of efficiency, this new commencement ceremony is the way to go. In time, this will become the new tradition and years down the line, students will be upset when it, too, changes.

Everyone has felt it before — the longing for something we've never even had. It's never pleasant watching old traditions die in favor of new ones. If there were some way to make commencement more personalized, and to keep the old traditions alive, that would be great. We'd throw all of our support behind it. But, as it stands now, this is what we get. That doesn't mean we can't be dissatisfied with it, though.


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