NYU Class of 2021 In-Person Commencement

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Calling all NYU students and supporters! The NYU class of 2021 believes that an in-person commencement ceremony is possible. 

We understand that the entire NYU administration has been working hard to make the best possible decisions for us students, but canceling in-person graduation was a decision made prematurely. There are, in fact, ways to hold a safe, in-person commencement. Graduating from venues like Yankee Stadium, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, etc. is an integral part of the NYU experience. Specifically, we assert that a safe and memorable commencement is possible at Yankee Stadium with the appropriate planning and protocols.

To be frank, this year sucked. The class of 2021 missed the quintessential events of senior year, from the senior strawberries and champagne toast to countless school-specific celebrations. The pandemic took these experiences away from us. However, we entered our senior year hoping to see a light at the end of the tunnel: an in-person commencement. The class of 2021 asks the NYU administration to reconsider their decision and work together with the students to put on the graduation ceremony that we deserve.

Ideas for a safe graduation: 

1. Mask mandate - This could even be a great marketing opportunity to have all students wear matching purple Class of 2021 masks. 

2. Limit attendance to NYU Class of 2021 students. - Since not all students are on campus this year, the count may be lower than usual.  Just like classes were hybrid, why not make graduation hybrid as well?

3. Split commencement into groups by school - Instead of having an all-class commencement, separate commencement into time slots for each school or even smaller groups by criteria such as major or alphabetical order. If this is still too much, students could sign up for specific time slots to walk across the stage and accept their diploma (combining elements of the Baccalaureate Ceremony with school-wide commencement ceremony)

4. Require RSVP - Students must RSVP by a certain date and provide important information pertaining to their health, travel status, etc. For example, students must submit a negative COVID-19 test two weeks before the event and the week of the event. Also, if applicable, submit proof of vaccination. 

5. Assign seats in order to properly space out students. 

The students understand that planning an in-person graduation takes a lot of work. However, many students are willing to volunteer their time and expertise to work with the administration on logistics and planning. Students are also willing and capable to take lead roles in executing the plan.