Commencement ceremony presents new regulations for graduates

Not only will students graduating in May be embarking on a new journey in their lives, they will be the first to experience graduation at Sonoma State University’s Weill Hall.

The Green Music Center will now host Sonoma State’s Commencement ceremony. Also new rules will be in place. No alcohol will be permitted during the ceremony and glitter cannot be used in the decoration of ceremony caps.

In past ceremonies, graduates could be seen enjoying champagne straight from the bottle and sharing it among their friends. 

According to this year’s commencement standards, there will be a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy at the commencement event. Any graduates who appear to be intoxicated will be directed to the Student Conduct Officer and may not walk the ceremony.

“You should be sober enough to remember your graduation because there’s no point in showing up if you are not going to remember. I think it’s okay for people take pictures [drinking champagne in previous commencement ceremonies], but there shouldn’t be drinking during the ceremony. Especially in Weill Hall, [since] you can’t drink in there anyway,” said senior Jessica Shipma a communications major at Sonoma State. Shipma is a member of the graduation cap contest committee.

“I was a little bit disappointed because I knew I wanted to bring a bottle of champagne or something like that. But I think it does prevent problems and prevents people from being too intoxicated during the ceremony. I think we’ll all adapt. People are still going to go Friar Tucks Pub for the crawl in the morning and have celebrations. We’ll find [other] ways to celebrate,” said Riley Nichols, a senior communications major.

Weill Hall seats about 1,400 people and that means that each student will be allowed only two tickets inside. Previously since the ceremony was out on the lawn, there were bleachers to accommodate family and friends. Now there’s not as much available seating inside the new venue.

To accommodate the students who may have a party larger than two, there will be unlimited seating outside on the grass. No tickets are necessary for outside, but it’s first come first served. Outside audience members can view the ceremony on large jumbotrons with audio.

“I think it’s inconvenient with [only] the two tickets, but also there is no obligation to use the two tickets. So, if your family feels very strongly about sitting outside and sitting together; there are going to be chairs set up on the lawn,” said Nichols.

“I think the two-ticket limit is fair for the first year to try it out. In theory that would mean just your immediate parents would be inside, but there is unlimited seating outside on the lawn. [Due to] the huge TV outside it might be worth it to have your parents not even sit in Weill Hall. I’ve talked to a few people about this, just because it can get kind of stuffy and hot inside,” Shipma said.

The next significant change is that graduation caps cannot be decorated with glitter. This is due to the venue’s air filtration system. Students who have glitter on their caps, will be permitted inside but without the cap.

“I’m a little sad, my high school graduation cap was decked out in glitter. I’ll have to be using my creative resources and going with a different cap plan,” said Nichols.