Student Voice


November 30, 2023




Ceremony location great disappointment

May 4, 2007

This year’s graduating class is the largest in UW-River Falls history. Unfortunately for the Student Voice, graduation means saying farewell to a large number of staff members. As we sat down to discuss the prospects of graduation, walking on stage in a cap and gown and what’s going to happen after we leave, we realized participating in a graduation ceremony at UWRF isn’t as exciting as it should be.

Though none of us have walked in the ceremony yet, many of us have attended one for a friend or family member. The prospect of walking through the doors of the Knowles Center and having our family and friends watch us process under the unflattering fluorescent lights is painful.

Other universities hold their commencement ceremonies outside, allowing nature to provide the backdrop. We get softball nets and basketball hoops to add to the ambiance. As one member of the staff said, “it doesn’t look very ‘Pomp and Circumstance.’”

On the UWRF campus, Knowles Center may be the only location large enough to hold hundreds of students and their guests, but with a new glorious building shining in the center of our campus, it’s a shame to have to use a facility that is not only an eye sore for an event like this, but also vastly removed from the center of campus life.

Family and friends come to graduation to not only watch their loved one prance across the stage to receive a diploma, but also to see where long hours of studying have taken place.

Each of us graduates has spent a large quantity of time on this campus studying, working, laughing and crying. Many of us are proud to become college graduates and the place where we’ve spent the last few years of our lives, but at Knowles Center, we are not able to show to others what we’re proud of.

As students, it is easy to rant and rave about the facility, and it is difficult to offer rational suggestions. However, when we thought long and hard, we realized an outside ceremony would be beautiful, or maybe smaller ceremonies held in the newest pride and joy on campus, the University Center, would be better.

With a University that is growing each semester, Knowles Center will eventually be too small to hold the crowd.

As it is, parking is a mess and no other lot on campus is close enough to the facility to make it worth parking there. Simply put, there isn’t enough room.

In a week, we’re going to don our caps and gowns and join the hundreds of other people in the Knowles Center for our formal farewell to UWRF. For us it will be great, no matter the location, but maybe in the future, the place of graduation will be a true representation of the campus and community; a place that each of the students actually considers home.