Graduation is a special time here at the University of Nevada, Reno — the Quad is at its best after being primed all spring, students file in after spending the previous hour drinking free mimosas at the Wal and families gather to celebrate the major success that is completing a college degree. However, the university has implemented some changes that might end up hindering that excitement and sense of accomplishment.
The first major change the university made was to completely change the schedule of graduation. The colleges that used to graduate in the mornings now graduate in the evenings and vice versa. While this rescheduling might not impact the excitement graduation brings, it’s definitely a major change to what has been a primarily set-schedule, for unclear reasons.
The university also is discussing raising the graduation fee by $20 like they did in 2012. If they go forward with this plan, students will have to pay $95 just to merely receive the diploma they already earned. Melisa Choroszy, associate vice president of Enrollment Services & Commencement, told the ASUN Senate this fee goes toward the processing of the graduation application, reconciling any issues with the graduation application, coordination of the entire program, mailing and printing of diplomas and programs, compiling the list of all graduates and declaring all degrees. The fees from last spring’s commencement did not cover the entire bill, leaving a $50,000 deficit.
While this increased fee would benefit the aesthetic and efficiency of graduation, students have already paid their dues not only in money but in hard work to be able to cross the stage. On top of the already exorbitant cost of tuition and housing, there are even more fees to pay before graduation. Students must pay for their cap, gown, tassel, university stole, diploma frame and more, not to mention the cost to the families to travel to and stay in Reno for the ceremony. It’s not fair to keep tacking on little fees here and there because they add up quickly.
Honestly, us graduates want the best possible experience when the time finally comes to cross that stage, so most of us probably will pay the fee, even if it is annoying. What’s not fair is to assess the fee to those who choose not to walk across the stage and just receive their diploma in the mail. If the fee partially goes to making the ceremony itself better, those students not participating shouldn’t have to pay it, or at least the whole thing. Believe it or not, it costs money to graduate, and not a lot of us have much of that by the time we’re done here.
However, if this fee is not assessed and it remains to be $75, a number of things could happen to conserve funds. One solution would be to stop printing the commencement programs that list the graduates by college and the schedule of the ceremonies, as they cost over $20,000 to produce. These programs are another piece of memorabilia to graduates of their accomplishment and should be kept if possible.
The second option Choroszy gave is to move all commencement ceremonies from the Quad to Lawlor Events Center, which would cause an uproar amongst the student body. During the rainy Spring 2018 commencement, the university announced the possibility of moving the ceremonies to Lawlor in spite of the weather. Students took to Twitter to protest and express their disappointment—mostly along the lines of “I didn’t work this hard these last four years to graduate in Lawlor”. While all of us have great memories in Lawlor, this is not where we want to have our last hoorah. The Quad is a traditional part of what makes graduating from UNR so great.
It is clear there will be changes when it comes to graduation this school year, but we urge the university to weigh these choices with the thought of the student experience on their minds. Yes, the days may change and those choosing to walk across the stage may have to pay a little more, but it’s unfair to make those students not walking at graduation to pay the same as those who do and it would essentially ruin graduation to have it anywhere but the Quad. So please UNR, don’t ruin our graduation.
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