By Ryan Huynh and Matthew Acosta, Mar. 1, 2022
Cal Poly Pomona officials have detailed plans to host a fully in-person commencement ceremony in the University Quad from May 20 to for the first time since the pandemic began.
The commencement will be spread over three days, across 12 ceremonies divided by colleges. This comes after last year’s drive-through commencement, which was held at the Pomona Fairplex as one large continuous event.
“We’re excited to bring commencement back to campus,” said Vice President for University Advancement Daniel Montplaisir. “We want it to be both rewarding and safe for those walking across the stage.”
Each ceremony will be roughly 90 minutes, spread across the weekend. The deadline for students to apply for graduation will be March 18, and GradPass reservations will open March 24. The GradPass system is required to reserve graduation spots for students, and to claim seating tickets for accompanying guests in the form of a QR code linked to the student’s name and ID number.
On Friday, May 20, the College of Education and Integrative Studies, the Collins College of Hospitality Management, the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture and the College of Environmental Design will be the first colleges to participate in the ceremonies.
The College of Business Administration and the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences will be the only two colleges participating on Saturday May 21, with each college being split into two ceremonies, according to major.
The College of Engineering and the College of Science are the only two to participate on Sunday, May 22. Their ceremonies will also be divided into two different times, also according to major.
The planning for this year’s commencement has been influenced by monitoring COVID-19 cases in the region, where the winter surge has passed along with the easing of Los Angeles County’s mask mandates. The under the mega event category according to the L.A. County Department of Health, which recommends mask usage, but is not required for outdoor events. Mega events include indoor events with more than 1,000 attendees and outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees.
Amberly Recendez, a graduating hospitality management student, was looking forward to the possibility of a ceremony but with COVID-19 guidelines always in a state of uncertainty, it has been difficult to look toward anything substantial.
“I was technically supposed to graduate last semester but because I wanted it in person, I stayed an extra semester just to get a ceremony but even then, it’s kind of restricted,” said Recendez. “It’s definitely something that made me a little sad, but it is very understandable, but at the same time sad just because I am the first one to graduate in my family.”
This upcoming commencement will allow graduates an opportunity to claim eight tickets initially. The announcement also mentions a tentative date of late April of additional tickets being released to graduates, depending on how many tickets are initially booked.
“90% of the Cal State’s use a ticketing system for their graduation ceremonies,” said Director of Events Helen Yniguez. “Our hope is that the (GradPass) system will be efficient and allow everyone graduating to bring the people who helped them get there.”
The first round of tickets for GradPass will be available starting on March 24 and will close on April 21. After April 21, any unclaimed tickets may be redistributed into a second round for those who wish to bring additional guests, according to Yniguez.
The announcement about tickets comes at the perfect time for some students as many had begun to worry about the possibility of ticket limitations.
“The possibility of limited tickets definitely does suck because since I am the first one (to graduate) so I would want all of my family there and as of now it is only looking like it’s going to be my parents, maybe my younger sister but that’s a very limited possibility but I would want both my grandparents there,” said Recendez. “It is something that made me sad.”
Though there is much care that goes into the number of family members and friends that will be available to graduates, however, there are some students that simply just want the commencement ceremony to go on. Samantha Miranda, a graduating history student, wants to make sure that no matter the circumstance that she still has a ceremony.
“I feel like normally graduations have limited tickets so with COVID possibly limiting them a little more, I hope it is still a reasonable amount like four or six,” said Miranda. “I would want the graduation to be held with whatever guidelines have to happen for that to happen.”
CPP will not be requiring proof of vaccine or negative test for students due to the requirement of being fully vaccinated and boosted to attend classes on campus. Accompanying guests will not need to show proof of vaccine or negative test to attend. Masks are highly recommended but not required either.
“I feel like it would be a hassle to have the requirement of them being tested,” said Miranda, when asked about the potential of guidelines at the commencement ceremony. “Honestly, all LA County guidelines should be followed and I’m fine with following those.”
The Bronco Bookstore will also be hosting a Grad Fair on March 15 and 16, where students can purchase cap and gowns, tassels and other graduation necessities. The Bronco Bookstore will share details via email and home mailers or students can visit www.cppgrad.com or follow the bookstore on Instagram at @broncobookstore.
Feature image courtesy of Joshua Hoehne
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