There was a stir last week when Rider announced a change in its graduation venue. The University has decided to hold the undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies ceremonies as one ceremony at the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton.
In the past, when Rider set up for graduation, they had two venues: one outside and one indoors in case it rained. However, the one indoors had very limited space for the entire graduating class. And now that we have added the continuing studies graduates, we need a better place to accommodate everyone’s families.
Not to mention, with one giant ceremony, it is much more cost-efficient.
According to Beverly Braddock, Rider’s special events and projects manager, only two tickets were given per student the last time we had a rain event. For a lot of students, this just won’t cut it. For me personally, I have divorced parents. I can’t exactly give those tickets to my mom and dad because neither would come by themselves and they surely would not go together. Two tickets would cause unnecessary family drama. And I’m sure other students have similar problems within their families.
Also, Rider has limited parking, and the parking can be confusing for people who have never been to campus. The Sun National Bank Center has 3,500 parking spaces within eight parking lots.
And, by making it off campus, we won’t cause an influx of traffic in Lawrenceville, but at a place where they are used to having big events.
Plus, who doesn’t want to have the luxury of air conditioning when sitting among hundreds of people? I would rather be inside than roasting in the sun, smelling everyone’s sweat.
And another thing: this is an arena. They have inclined seats. Your family won’t have to crane their necks or step into the aisle to try and snap a picture of you walking. They can do so comfortably from their seats.
So if my grandmother comes, she would have a much easier time navigating a handicapped-friendly place instead of walking from the parking lot across a field to sit outside in a lawn chair in the heat. I’m sure she would much rather sit inside with some AC, being able to see her favorite granddaughter walk.
The only problem with the change in venue is wanting to graduate where I have studied for the past 3.5 years. It would make graduation more sentimental. But we now have senior week, so I can build up all the sentimentality I want then.
The ceremony might have been beautiful on campus, but having all my family there for me when I graduate is more important to me than scenery. It was the people at Rider who made a difference in my life, not the campus itself. It was the professors and faculty here who helped me become who I am today, not the Fine Arts building.
Printed in the 09/28/16 issue.