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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Diversity graduations may have seen last year

    With the formation of a new diversity center to house all multicultural student affairs, the future of separate cultural commencement ceremonies hangs in the balance. But this year at least, organizations are still hosting their own ceremonies.

    “”I’m refusing right now to call it the last one because you never know,”” said Bruce Smith, director of African American Student Affairs. “”You never know what alumni group or student group will say, ‘We want to have a convocation, we’re willing to front the bill and let’s do it like this.'””

    Amanda Tachine, interim director of Native American Student Affairs, said they’re taking a wait-and-see approach to considering the future of their commencement ceremony.

    Whether this year’s multicultural commencement ceremonies are the last or not, the ceremonies will be distinctive.

    The AASA ceremony will feature spoken-word poetry and a dance company, Smith said.

    Last year, UA President Robert Shelton attended the African American ceremony and was spotted dancing along with the dance company, Smith said.

    The AASA convocation, which will take place in the South Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center on May 12 at 6 p.m., is really light-hearted and laid-back, Smith said.

    “”(It will) allow folks to have some fun, to enjoy themselves,”” he said. “”We don’t want to be very formal, that’s not the way we do things here.””

    Another informal ceremony is held by the LGBTQ-oriented ceremony, which took place May 6 in the Kiva Room of the Education Building, said Oprah Revish, co-director of Pride Alliance, the group that hosted the convocation.

    Lucinda Holliday, a local drag queen, handed out rainbow tassels to students who attended the ceremony, Revish said. Holliday also performed at the ceremony, Revish said.

    This is only the second LGBTQ convocation held at UA and planners wanted it to be a celebration of LGBTQ students, Revish said.

    “”We’re all just really excited for the future and what is to come,”” Revish said. “”If you want to come celebrate, you can come. It’s totally open to the public – straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, purple, green, yellow – it really doesn’t matter.””

    Native American Student Affairs will also host its convocation on the UA Mall Friday, May 15 at 5 p.m., to honor students’ achievements and hard work, Tachine said.

    “”It’s an opportunity for our campus community to really see the beauty and uniqueness of our graduates,”” Tachine said. “”It’s going to be right on the U of A Mall, the center of the campus, the heart of the university.””

    Students are given the opportunity to speak about their collegiate experience at the convocation ceremony, she said.

    Cultural components of the ceremony include a drum group that will lead the students in the processional and Ferlin Clark, a member of the Navajo Nation and current president of the first tribal community college, Diné College, will be the keynote speaker, Tachine said.

    It’s important for minority students to get the opportunity to have their own special convocation to celebrate their heritage and achievements, she said.

    “”It’s very empowering to see a collective body of native people receiving their graduation certificate or acknowledgement because oftentimes native people are the asterisk, so to speak, or the ones that are the small population in a large ceremony,”” Tachine said.

    The Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs will host their convocation ceremony May 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Centennial Hall, said Socorro Carrizosa, director of Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs.

    This convocation is special for students because it allows them to include all of their family members, because the ceremony is partially bilingual and Centennial Hall’s large capacity lets students bring their entire family, Carrizosa said.

    “”At (our convocation) you’re going to hear babies crying,”” she said. “”You’re going to see the whole family. We’ve had students in the past who’ve asked, ‘Can I bring 40 guests?’ and we have room in Centennial.””

    Davis Bilingual Elementary Magnet School’s mariachi band will perform at the beginning of the ceremony, adding to the cultural attributes of the ceremony, Carrizosa said.

    Students who attend this convocation will receive sashes, which, this year, are embroidered in silver thread because it is the ceremony’s 25th anniversary, she said.

    Around 150 students are expected to attend the convocation, Carrizosa said.

    Everyone is acknowledging that this will be the last year of the convocation in its current structure, so C/HAS is making an effort to honor five students and their hard work, Carrizosa said.

    The Asian Pacific American Student Affairs convocation, also known as the Lotus Laureate convocation, was held May 2 in the South Ballroom of the SUMC.

    Along with the C/HAS convocation, the Lotus Laureate commencement is a long-standing tradition at UA – this year was its 16th anniversary.

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