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Event prepares seniors for graduation in May

April 11, 2013

Countdown to Commencement, an event held for graduating seniors, provided students the opportunity to prepare for graduation day and beyond.

According to Registrar Dan Vande Yacht and Assistant Registrar and Event Coordinator Kelly Browning, this event began two years ago in the fall of 2011 and it occurs every semester.
In the fall, Countdown to Commencement is held in October. The Registrar’s Office aims for the end of March or the beginning of April to hold the event for the spring graduates.
Vande Yacht said that the event started running two years ago in order to provide another avenue for communication.

It was also around this time that he said students were able to start applying online for graduation, rather than having to come to the Registrar’s Office.

As for planning the event, Browning said that, “it’s a collaborative effort.”

Representatives from the Registrar’s Office, Billing/Financial Aid, Career Services, the Alumni Association and the Falcon Shop were all in attendance to help aid students.

Vande Yacht said, “We look at the time of year, the time of day to do it and how well it will work with all of the offices.”

Other factors that are looked at when planning the event include the space it will be held in, and the resources that will need to be available for everyone who is representing the offices on campus.

Browning and Vande Yacht said that 222 students checked in to the event itself and some students even brought their parents.

Senior Psychology major Emily Kessler attended the event and said that it was helpful for her in some ways.

“I was able to get some questions answered about my cap and gown and financial things. I also learned that you can get graduation rings just like class rings in high school.”
Both Browning and Vande Yacht also said that they try to make the event as accessible as possible.

Browning said that in terms of making everything convenient, “we try to set up tables in the middle of it.” She also added that the event is supposed to be “one stop shopping.”
Each representative mentioned above provided specific resources to the students who attended the event.

Student billing was able to offer students information on things like how to get their $100 rolling deposit back and how to deal with outstanding bills.

Career Services handed out materials on résumés, cover letters and answered questions on how to obtain a job after graduation.

Director of Career Services Melissa Wilson explained to graduates that career services are available free to alumni and that their office is open all summer.

Director of Alumni Relations and Development Dan McGinty was also present at the event to talk to students about how to stay connected to the University after graduation.
He explained  how students can become a part of the Alumni Association and also displayed all of the different types of alumni apparel and other items that can be purchased in the Falcon Shop.

Vande Yacht said that the Registrar’s Office was at the event as well to answer Degree Requirement questions, as well as questions about commencement.

Some of the things he mentioned regarding commencement was that seating for the ceremony was first come, first serve and people do not have to worry about purchasing tickets.
There was also a company at the event called Herff Jones and students could also start purchasing their cap and gown and graduation announcements.

Caps and gowns are now available at the Falcon Shop.

Concerning key information that graduates need to know for life after UWRF, Browning and Vande Yacht agreed that staying connected is very important.

They said to make sure to get involved in Alumni Association events.

Coincidentally, Browning and Vande Yacht are both former students of the University.

Browning concluded that Countdown to Commencement is a good event and it is fun to see students attend the event.