Champlain College: Let Us Revisit Commencement

Champlain College: Let Us Revisit Commencement

April 2, 2020
Petition to
Champlain College Class of 2020 and
This petition made change with 803 supporters!

Why this petition matters

Started by Meghan Donovan

Champlain College: Let Us Walk

On Thursday, April 2, 2020, the Champlain College Administration released an update email to the campus community. One of the updates outlined that the Class of 2020’s Commencement ceremony would be virtualized on May 9, 2020 as opposed to the traditional in-person commencement held at the Champlain Valley Exposition.

We are devastated by this news. It’s obviously not Champlain’s fault, and even as we make this petition, the health and safety of everyone in the community is our priority. This is a hard reality of the new normal living in this COVID-19 crisis. We understand that the timing of our previously scheduled Commencement would not have been safe for the community as a whole, but we’re willing to wait this out until it is. 

Commencement isn’t just getting your diploma. It’s about saying goodbye to everything you’ve built in the last four years. It’s a time to celebrate not just your own accomplishments, but the accomplishments of your peers and your friends. It’s a moment to say thank you to the professors who changed your life, who believed in you, who challenged you. It’s about closing a chapter in your life that you will remember forever.

It’s not just about us seniors either. Commencement is for our families, the people who raised us, supported us, and encouraged us through our journeys. They were looking forward to this moment just as much as we were. 

We have spent countless hours studying, attending classes, working our work-study and non work-study jobs, and contributing to the Champlain community at large. It’s already awful to have your senior year cut short by COVID-19, which is entirely understandable given the circumstances of the world right now. But Commencement is something many of us have been dreaming of since Orientation.

We feel cheated and defeated.

We understand that none of this is Champlain’s fault. Like we said, it’s a casualty of the circumstances. We also said we would wait.

We are asking that Champlain follow behind other institutions like St. Michael’s College and Southern New Hampshire University in postponing the 2020 Commencement until the CDC and President have deemed travel and large gatherings safe again. 

An in-person Commencement leaves out our peers who cannot join us. A virtual Commencement feels “purposeless” and “empty” and “insignificant”.

Champlain already has the tools for an in-person Commencement. They’re currently working on tools for a virtual Commencement. Why not combine the two? 

We ask for those who agree with us to show your support by signing this petition whether you are a graduating senior, family, friend, faculty, or staff to help us get all of our input to the Administration.

Although Commencement isn't a monument for all of us, take the time to consider those for whom this moment was crucial for. Sign, even if you don't see yourself invested, as a way to stand with your fellow Champlain College seniors who want to have the opportunity to live this moment, and say these goodbyes. We all know someone who cares. See this as an opportunity to show solidarity to every student whose academic and personal journey is different than your own. We ask that you help us host a celebration for those who relied on this celebration as an ending to a college education.


We’re not saying this is going to be easy, but if we come together, we can do something so innovating. If we come together, we can create an event that lets us see one another, celebrate one another, and say goodbye to the place we’ve called home for four years.

We just need your help. Sign this petition and tell Champlain how you’d like to celebrate YOUR Commencement.

Written by: Erika Brown and Meghan Donovan

The link below is the form that Champlain College is using to gain input from the seniors.


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