Commencement ceremony permanently moved indoors due to accessibility, weather and cost

By Brielle Toff
April 25, 2019

This year’s commencement will be held inside the Nerney Field House. This new announcement breaks with a long tradition that tried to have commencement outside, either on the upper field or, previously, on the Mansion lawn.

Starting senior year of college, many things go through students’ minds. Students typically think about the classes they picked for their final fall semester at the college they are attending. The students may also be thinking about commencement.

When thinking about commencement, most people think of it being outside under the blazing May sun. In years past at Cabrini University, the location of commencement was determined by the weather. For instance, if the weather outside was nice, graduation would be outside. If by chance it were raining or storming, graduation would be held inside.

There are both ups and downs to the two different locations of commencement. When graduation is outside, there is obviously no maximum capacity. That being said, students can bring whoever they want to graduation. When graduation is inside, accommodations can be made for people who are handicapped.

When commencement is outside, there is obviously no maximum capacity. Photo by Cabrini University

This year, the university made a permanent decision that they were no longer going to have commencement outside on the upper athletic field but instead inside the Nerney Field House in the Nerney Pavilion.

Students will only be allowed to bring five guests to commencement because of the change in venue. The seats will be first come first serve upon entry. That being said, it is a possibility that a student would not be able to have their entire family attend the commencement ceremony.

According to Cabrini University, “the ceremonies were moved indoors to ensure the comfort of our guests despite any potential issues—including weather and field conditions—and keeps the focus on our graduates’ accomplishments.”

Brian Eury, chief of staff at Cabrini University, said that there are a few reasons that commencement was permanently moved inside.

“Reason one was the unpredictability of the weather, especially to storms, rain and thunderstorms. Having it inside is a much more controllable environment and there is also the point of accessibility because of it being on the lawn and it being on the grass anyone with any type of disability will have a very unique challenge to getting on to the area,” Eury said.  “And I am not going to lie there was also a financial factor. That tent is very expensive to have.”

Students will only be allowed to bring five guests to graduation because of the change in venue. Photo by Cabrini University

In previous years, when commencement was held outside, the ceremony took place under a ginormous tent no matter rain or shine.

When asked about the different issues that could arise for the university with graduation being permanently moved inside Eury explained that he knew that there would be some initial complications to the process but once everyone involved figures out the kinks it would go smoothly.

“There is going to be concern for the students because especially for those seniors now having it outside was very nice, we never had problems before with tickets but now that we are moving it inside so you are having a change of location as much as we put up the banners and the drapery it is still the Dixon Field House and not outside,” Eury said. “We just have to get used to it and we hope hopefully the logistics of it and everyone will finally understand why [the decision was made].”

Students will only be given a total of five tickets for the commencement ceremony due to the limited space indoors. There will be viewing rooms set up around campus for people who would like to view the graduation ceremony but do not have a ticket.

Olenka Hladky is a senior Spanish and psychology double major. Hladky is not particularly worried about the fact that she is only going to receive five tickets because most of her family lives far away. She explained that the moving of the graduation ceremony does not have much of an effect on her.

“I do see how this could worry other people because they may have bigger families who are more local,” Hladky said.

Erin Roche, senior human resources major, finished classes in December but is walking in commencement this May. Roche is concerned about commencement being inside opposed to outside. Roche said in previous years she has watched her friends graduate outside and it was beautiful and nicely done. Roche would like for her friends and extended family to be able to see her walk at graduation as well.

“When I watched those before me graduate I always had a vision of myself graduating outside in the middle of the beautiful campus that is Cabrini,” Roche said. “I feel inside will be loud and stuffy and not what I pictured when dreaming of this day.”

Roche also voiced her concerns about the space that is provided in the Nerney Field House.

“I don’t want to feel cramped in a loud gym where there will be a lot of people and the sound in the gym travels. I don’t want them cramming family members into the gym either,” Roche said.

It will take time to get used to the fact that commencement will now be held inside the Nerney Field House instead of outside on the upper athletic field.

“When it was outside more family members could attend standing in the back and alumni and current students always went and stood in the back. It’s upsetting that some will miss out on this proud moment due to lack of space,” Roche said.

Brielle Toff

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