Seniors: Be prepared for commencement changes

Graduating seniors, do you know why you had your photo taken during the graduation fair last month?

If you don’t, you’re not alone.

At this year’s April 27 Spring Commencement, Oakland University is shaking things up.

Instead of announcing names the traditional way, a photo of every graduate will be plastered on a giant screen with the student’s name and honors displayed. The student’s name will then be announced while they cross the stage.

We see lots of room for error.

Not only were students unaware of why their photos were taken during the graduate fair; most weren’t aware a photo was going to be taken at all.

According to the Provost’s Office, there is a procedure set in place to ensure the right face will be matched up with the right name, but we won’t be holding our breaths.

We’re also worried about the parking situation on that day.

Currently, the campus map on the Commencent page lists the P5 parking lot across from Vandenberg Hall, as well as the P3 lot by the Human Health Building, as open lots.

If you live in Vandenberg Hall or in any of the surrounding dorms, you know that is not true. Both lots are currently closed for the construction of the new housing facility.

Additionally, College of Arts and Sciences graduates have only been given four tickets for commencement, while the rest of the colleges are receiving six. For those with large families, many friends or a sizeable support group, this simply is not enough tickets.

Extra guests may watch the commencement ceremony from the televisions in the Oakland Center.

Instead of giving away extra tickets, students are selling them. We’ve seen tickets listed on Facebook for all ceremonies going for $20 or $40 each.

Where’s the Grizzly spirit? Why can’t we just give them to other classmates for free?

Oakland administrators said this is because of a change of venue from Meadow Brook Theater to the O’rena because of unpredictable weather.

This change was announced in early March, which arguably gave those in charge plenty of time to either change venues, add a second evening to alleviate crowds, or find another solution to the issue.

To summarize: Unprepared students were photographed in possibly embarrassing and dishevelled states. Parking will definitely be an issue for commencement. And some graduates won’t be able to invite their entire support groups.

For graduates, we recommend doing things to alleviate these issues.

Tell your guests to arrive early, and park in an out-of-the-way location. Whether they’re at the O’rena or watching from the banquet rooms in the OC, it’s recommended they get there early. The banquet rooms will have tables and TVs set up, as well as food. A backdrop for photos will also be provided.

Carpooling is highly encouraged as well, as there won’t be space for too many cars. Bear Buses won’t be running for commencement, so let your guests know they may have a walk ahead of them.

Also let your guests know about which lots will be closed so they can find alternative arrangements. And if guests don’t have a tickets, make sure they know how to get to the OC.

While this year’s commencement might not be as well-planned as it could have been, some careful planning on your part can prevent a lot of headaches.


The staff editorial is written weekly by members of The Oakland Post’s editorial board.