By Angela Le Quieu, Staff Reporter | Photo by Angela Le Quieu
The Student Activities office is working to help more students be able to walk in the Spring 2014 graduation ceremony, and in past semesters only a fraction of students receiving degrees or certifications participated in the ceremonies.
Brandon Seber, Student Activities Coordinator said there are a few steps that students eligible for graduation need to take in order to participate in the graduation ceremony, but that the first step is to go on line and apply for graduation, and after that, Seber said he can help students with concerns that they may have about the ceremony.
The graduation ceremony for the Spring 2014 semester will take place at Tingley Coliseum on May 3, 2014 and graduates must arrive between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to check in and then the ceremony will begin promptly at 12 p.m., Seber said.
“Generally speaking I think that all students who receive an Associate degree or certificate should walk in the graduation ceremony to celebrate their academic success since they put a lot of effort, time, energy, and sacrifice into getting the degree or certificate,” Seber said.
The deadline for students to apply for graduation who want to walk in the ceremony is March 28 by 5 p.m., but if a student does not want to walk they have until May 1, Seber said.
Seber and his office want to get more students to participate in the graduation ceremony, he said.
In the Fall 2013 semester there were more than 2000 students awarded a degree or certificate and only 500 students walked the line in the graduation ceremony, Seber said.
“It’s nice to walk on stage, celebrate with the family, but also I try to persuade the students who don’t want to walk that maybe they should if they have younger kids or cousins, so that way they can be the role model to inspire the younger generation to want to complete high school and college,” Seber said.
Student concerns include economic issues like being able to afford their cap and gown, or mobility impairment for disabled students, but there is help if a student has notified the Student Activities office, Seber said.
If a student has economic concerns about their regalia for g r a d u a t i o n , Seber said students can work with him to make sure that they can still walk.
There is also a system in place that can help students with mobility and other impairment issues, Seber said.
“Since I’ve been on board on the team and working with the graduation, there has not been a problem we were not able to assist with,” Seber said.
Diana Myklebust, Administrative Technical Assistant is in charge of organizing assistance for students, she said.
After a student has filled out a graduation application, if students indicate that they have an impairment issue, their information is sent to her and she calls students to see what assistance they might need in order to walk in the graduation ceremony, Myklebust said.
“The biggest part of the process is letting us know that there is an impairment that we need to assist them with,” Myklebust said.
Myklebust has helped students walk who have had mobility problems, students with diabetes and blind and hearing impaired students, she said.
After a student is called by Myklebust, she will ask about what their needs are, if they can walk up stairs or ramps, if they have trouble sitting or standing for long periods of time, and then she will make an arrangement for that student, she said.
“We try to accommodate all spectrums of impairment, so that we can make sure they can still be a part of that process,” Myklebust said.
There are volunteers at the graduation ceremony that help students with these needs from the moment they arrive to check in until the end, Myklebust said.
On the occasion that a student cannot make it up the stairs or ramp Myklebust’s group will inform the dean of that student’s school and CNM president Dr. Katharine Winograd so that they can come down from the stage and shake the student’s hand, Myklebust said.
“The goal is to have them involved in as much of the process as possible and make it easy and comfortable for them,” Myklebust said.
There are other concerns which students have about participation in the graduation ceremony and this includes students who receive an invitation to be in the graduation, but have not applied under their declared major, Seber said.
Two offices handle graduation and because of this the graduation process is in two parts; the first office is Enrollment Services which oversees graduation applications, and the second is Student Ac t i v i t i e s which runs the graduation cere m o n y i t s e l f , S eber said.
Enrol lment services has begun “farming out” people who are qualified for different degrees or certificates regardless of a student’s program of study, Seber said.
“We in the office of Student Activities have been encountering lots of questions as to why they are being invited to the graduation ceremony, because they are still pursuing their declared major,” Seber said.
Seber’s offices will run a report of each graduating term that is created by Enrollment Services based on the information that the office generates and then send out graduation invitations based on that, he said.
“And that’s been challenging for us in Student Activities, but it’s confusing for our students because we’re having to answer all of these questions,” Seber said.