In-Person UNCW Spring 2021 Commencement

In-Person UNCW Spring 2021 Commencement

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UNCW Class of 2021 started this petition to University of North Carolina at Wilmington

The UNCW Class of 2021 has faced many trials and tribulations throughout our time as a Seahawk at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The UNCW Class of 2021 is asking the university reconsider their plan for the Spring 2021 Commencement in light of the new Executive Order 195.

In the Fall of 2018, Hurricane Florence approached the coast of North Carolina just over a week after Labor Day, only 14 days into the semester. With a quick notice, on-campus students evacuated their residences, and all students had to make immediate plans for re-locating outside of Wilmington and to a safe area. On September 14, 2018 Hurricane Florence made landfall in Wrightsville Beach as a Category 1 hurricane, leaving tremendous damage and taking innocent lives. Although Hurricane Florence left a destructive path on and around UNCW’s campus, the University quickly adapted, modifying modes of coursework and repairing physical damages to the main campus. Due to the school’s rapid response and flexibility, students were able to return to campus just 4 weeks later.

In the Fall of 2019, Hurricane Dorian, touched down in Wilmington, North Carolina. Although fortunately not as detrimental as Hurricane Florence, this disaster still required on-campus residents to evacuate in a short amount of time and put UNCW students out of class for one week. As seen in Hurricane Florence the school offered many resources and aid to students, even offering a bus ride to UNCC for displaced students to be housed.

Then, in the Spring semester of 2020 COVID-19 struck our entire country. Requiring on-campus residents to pack their rooms up and leave. Leaving on-campus student workers without jobs. Forcing all students to learn new forms of course instruction. And of course on top of all of that, the heavy concern of a deadly virus being next door.

Finally, in the Fall of 2020, the University invited students back to campus with virtual and hybrid formatted courses. While other UNC schools had climbing numbers of COVID-19 cases, our University was quick to adapt and change policies. Through these efforts, UNCW was able to keep positive COVID-19 cases stable and allow residential students to remain on campus. Currently, weekly COVID-19 testing allows those with positive tests to quickly alert those around them and prevent further disruption. We are proud to be apart of a University that does not let a hurricane or a virus stand in the way of student success.

While none of these events could have been predicted, the University handled each and every one with adaptability and transparency. Each solution executed with one thing at the forefront of their mind, UNCW students. Continuously encouraging everyone to follow the motto “Seahawk Strong” and “Best for the Nest”. The students of the Class of 2021 are requesting the University to reconsider the decision of a virtual graduation. We are urging the University to review the numerous challenges this class has endured these past four years, and remind them of the University’s ability to adapt to different unexpected emergencies. We ask the University to do that once again by providing us with a socially distant in-person graduation.

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