We reviewed, revised, and confirmed the emerging plans for the two interconnected projects in which we are engaged, and we agreed upon names for them and themes for this year.
1. “Commencement Countdown: La Salle and Beyond” will consist of a series of seven programs or events: a national level speaker on career development and transition issues (January 24); the “100 Days to Go Dinner” (January 31); an informational session on apartment rental, home buying, etc. (February 18); an informational session on debt management (March 24); an interactive session on life-transition issues for graduating students (April 14); the second annual “Odds and Ends Day,” on which graduating students can resolve remaining financial and administrative issues in a convenient, “one-stop-shopping” session; and the annual “Dinner with the President,” focusing on business dining etiquette (date TBA). Promotion of the series (paper, portal, web, etc.) will also include reference to the larger calendar of annual and other events for which graduating students’ attention (Basketball Marathon, Spring Fling, Student Awards Ceremony, and so forth. Promotional materials and further, detailed planning for the activities and events will be developed over the mid-year break.
2. “Commencement Week: Bon Voyage” (the successor to the former “Senior Week”) will consist of both a residential component (open to all students, resident and commuter alike, graduating from the undergraduate day division, so long as there are no disciplinary sanctions that would prevent them from residing on campus) and a series of both on-campus and off-campus activities and events that will appeal to the widest possible range of graduating students, whether day or evening undergraduate or graduate students. The residential environment’s rules and regulations centering on alcohol consumption will be appropriately modified, to allow consumption of alcohol by those of legal age under monitored conditions with greater freedom than during the academic year but less freedom than in previous years’ “Senior Weeks.” There will be two price points for day division undergraduates: one price for those who wish to reside in the Commencement Week residence (St. Neumann Hall) and to participate in the entire array of activities and events and one, lesser price for those who do not wish to or may not reside in the Commencement Week residence but do wish to participate in the entire array of activities and events. Both prices will include a donation by each student of $20.04 to the Senior Gift. (Students who do not wish to make donations will be afforded the opportunity to request exceptions.) Current resident students who wish to reside on campus, but not in the Commencement Week residence, and not to participate in activities or events will be able to reside in the North Residence Halls at no charge. Graduate and continuing studies (evening) students will be able to purchase tickets for individual activities or events.
3. Work over the mid-year break, by sub-team chairs Mark B. and Chris K., along with Helene H., will center on fully defining the schedule of activities, events, and so forth and, then, calculating costs, projecting and planning to seek sources of funding and/or co-sponsors so that student payment can be kept to a minimum and, finally, setting the price points.
4. The December 3 undergraduate student interest meeting indicated a good deal of support for our emerging plans and a high level of student interest in joining us in our work. Ten students responded to our invitation to be considered as student members of the University’s Commencement Committee. Two will be invited to do so by Dr. Cicala and all ten will be invited to be the student members of our Commencement Year Team. (Their names are now included on our membership list.) Dr. C. and Chris K. also will be meeting soon with faculty and staff members of the Graduate Management Team and the Office of Continuing Studies to acquaint them with our plans and to seek ways to more deeply involve graduate and evening students.