Grad Fair to be held in person


File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

Graduating students prepared to take pictures at the Grad Fair last year at the Student Union Ballroom. Grad Fair will occur this year on March 13 and 14 in Student Union Ballroom.

With new safety protocols and changes in operations, the Alumni Association plans to host its annual Grad Fair in person.

The fair, which will be held on Oct. 12 and 13, is a one-stop shop to equip graduate seniors with the resources they need to graduate. Unlike previous years, the event will be held in the Pennington Student Activity Center.

Olivia Graziano, associate director of alumni programming, gave further information about the changes in operation for Grad Fair this year.

“We are proceeding with an in-person Grad Fair as we have in the past, though we have changed locations,” explained Graziano. “Typically, we try to get the Student Union Ballroom, but because the Ballroom is being utilized as a space for dining, we have instead utilized the Pennington Center.”

Graziano explained why the Alumni Association decided not to host Grad Fair over a virtual platform. One reason is that the function of the event would not transfer well virtually.

“You would have to go to each different website, each different venue on your own accord as opposed to coming to our place and getting it all done,” stated Graziano. “With being in phase three especially, I think it’s great that we’re having the opportunity to do something in person while taking extra protocols.”

Alongside the venue change and safety protocols, there is one more difference in this year’s Grad Fair operations.

“We’ve also implemented pre-registration forms that all of our students have to fill out before coming,” explained Graziano. “That just helps us monitor the number of bodies in the room, essentially. We want to make sure that we’re not overcrowding during certain times.”

Despite the circumstances, Graziano emphasized that graduating students still have a right to celebrate their accomplishments.

“Regardless of whether you’re graduating with your doctorate or your master’s or your undergrad, we’re so proud of you, and we’re so excited to welcome you into the Alumni Association,” expressed Graziano. “We hope to do that in the best way we can through Grad Fair and throughout the end of the semester.”

Jasmine Smith, a senior management major, shared her thoughts on this year’s Grad Fair and its changes.

“I feel good about it, because one — it’s a really good feeling when you’re getting ready to graduate and you still get to do the stuff that everyone else did before COVID-19,” expressed Smith. “We have to monitor everything that we do, but I still see it as a really good thing being able to have it in person.”

As for  whether Grad Fair is important or not to her personally, Smith explained that it is.

“I say that it is important to me personally, because it gets you extra excited that you’re getting ready to graduate,” stated Smith. “Especially for me, because I’ve waited nine semesters for this. It’s the excitement and just the feeling of getting ready for when you get your diploma.”

Smith shared her experience with being a graduating senior in the current college climate. Overall, she feels she has adapted quite well.

“I’ve been able to get used to the new norm, as they say,” explained Smith. “I’m still able to go to class, still do what I need to, having to keep a social distance, be safe and wear a mask. But overall, it’s like — I’m here, I’m still doing my school work, and I’m still getting my degree. That’s really the one thing that matters.”