“Practice what you preach.”
This well-known, slightly-over-used cliché can be applied in an endless amount of ways, including this time of the school year when one begins to consider graduation events at Franciscan University.
Now, I will admit that I have no experience organizing an event as great and grand as a graduation ceremony, but I certainly have been on the receiving side of the graduation scuffle.
Let me explain.
First of all: finding a proper space for the ceremony itself. Each student is given only four tickets for his/her loved ones to attend the graduation ceremony. With the culture at Franciscan fostering the ideal that having a big, holy family is one of best things for a Catholic, one would assume there would be more space allowance made for the graduation ceremony.
Yet, counter to this Franciscan culture trend, the large family does not have room to even stand in Finnegan Fieldhouse to watch a loved one walk the stage at graduation.
With such big families being encouraged at Franciscan, I believe the university needs to be more accommodating with the space they select for the seniors’ final moments as a student. Each family member has sacrificed in some manner to allow the soon-to-be graduate go to school – from the youngest sibling to the grandparents.
Here are two potential solutions I propose, seeing that there are many things that could be changed in order to accommodate such a large crowd: One, the university could invest a little more money to rent out a larger venue in Pittsburgh or similar location.
If spending more money is out of the question, the second solution could be that the single undergraduate class ceremony could be divided into two ceremonies – one for the bachelor of arts graduates and another for the bachelor of science.
The second problem that I have seen concerns housing for graduation.
Franciscan University prides itself on fostering a healthy community of the faithful, which I generally believe it succeeds in doing. Yet, the rest of the students on campus are not allowed to remain living on campus for an extra four days to watch their good friends graduate.
There are no hotels still open in the area, and even if there were, most students could not afford to spend more money to stay. Many campuses allow all students to stay in their dorm rooms until after graduation ends. Considering that the students graduating are already allowed to stay, it is not a matter of closing out the halls and heights – so there would not be a drastic inconvenience for the residence life staff.
Any institution can find areas in which it should improve, and I believe graduation traditions and routines should be the next to be reformed here at Franciscan University.