Coronavirus Cancels 2020 Graduation Ceremony. Will Seniors Ever Get to Walk?

CSI Commencement Ceremony Cancellation Leaves Many Upset

By: Amanda Bengard

Students must find alternative ways to celebrate their hard work after universities opt out of spring ceremonies. Credit: Coast Mountain News

It’s a time of transition, taking everything you have learned as an undergrad and applying it towards future endeavors. It’s a time where students march forward onto new landscapes, after preparing for the end of one chapter, and the beginning of a new one.

 Proud parents are supposed to make up the crowd, waving at their graduating sons and daughters. There should be a sea of cap and gowns, a uniform worn so well by the accomplished. 

This year’s pomp and circumstance is put on hold due to the spread of Covid 19, an ending no one could have predicted. 

It was formally announced on April 6 by CUNY Chancellor Felix V. Matos Rodriguez  that commencement is postponed university-wide. Diplomas will still be conferred; however, at the end of the semester. 

Although the world seems to be on hold, many government officials are asking the question: is gathering worth the risk of spread? Despite circumstances, the answer has always been no. 

The Trump administration has recommended avoiding groups of more than 10 people and has closed many public places, which  lead to the closing of all schools including the College of Staten Island. Remote learning has emptied the buildings, introducing distance as a form of precaution. 

With remote learning, it’s safe to assume students will still receive credit for their efforts at home, although it’s uncertain if the graduating class will have the ceremony they deserve. Reaching out to the student affairs department, I received no concrete response other than: the CUNY Central Office will make the current pending decision regarding graduation ceremonies for all campuses relatively soon. 

With more unknown circumstances to come from the spread of Covid-19, its unclear how the graduating class will have the ability to celebrate their commencement. 

Colorful rainbows fill the windows of Staten Islander’s homes reveal there is still so much hope to go around as we fight the war that is Covid-19. Staying home has become a way of life unless it is essential to leave. Social distancing has become second nature as we learn what it’s like to remain six feet from each other.

With the May 28th ceremony coming to ahead this spring, it seems as though the risk is not worth the reward.  So how do we cope? 

As one of the first people in my family to graduate college, I’m already mourning the loss of experience I’d get to cherish for the rest of my life. In regards to where I will celebrate might change, but I will celebrate nonetheless. For all my fellow seniors, there is hope we will have the ceremony that we have worked so hard for. 

If not, we will just have to throw it ourselves. 

Although this is a milestone event, with the rapid spread of Covid, it will obviously be a small gathering likely immediate family only. Beloved grandparents and college friends might have to Facetime in. Depending on your budget, flexibility, and family size, here are some graduation party ideas to make the most of this experience.

 An outdoor cookout is classic, comfortable and a low maintenance way to celebrate. Another idea is a backyard brunch on a Sunday morning, toasting champagne to the graduate. If there isn’t a desire to throw a party, a big gift could be enough to make up for the loss of turning the tassel. 

Gift ideas include a new laptop for potential jobs, or a plane ticket to a dream travel destination once the global crisis clears. Instead of receiving, it’s always rewarding to be charitable; donating money to a cause instead of throwing an intimate bash or buying a gift can be a terrific way to honor graduate students. 

This is my way of saying farewell to my years at CSI, before graduating this semester, however that may look like. I hope that we all can return to school and benefit from everything this institution has offered me over the years. With hope we will all come together to throw our caps in the air, I leave you with this; we are all in this together.


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