I remember when I first toured Elon University. I walked through campus, the North Carolina sunlight poking through the giant oak trees, and I realized that I was meant to be an Elon student. While Under the Oaks, my tour guide told me how on the first day of freshman year, you’ll sit here and receive an acorn. And then, after four amazing, engaging years, you’ll sit here one more time and receive an oak sapling to represent your growth as a student.
This tradition was one of the selling factors for me to come to Elon, and it was the best decision I have ever made.
I’m sure a lot of the graduating class feel the same way as I do about this tradition.
When I heard the news that my graduation was being moved to in front of Alamance, I wanted to cry. Elon has held Commencement Under the Oaks since 1987. That’s almost 30 years. And, sure, traditions come and go, but this one needs to stay.
Tradition is what makes this beautiful campus I’ve called home for the last three years so incredibly special. Every graduation Under the Oaks is when students end the best four years of their lives right where they began them. Haggard Avenue just doesn’t have a special place in my heart.
And I assume this decision was partly made because SGA and Elon didn’t want to enforce a ticket policy on graduation. But honestly, I’d be OK with that. I kind of think it’s expected, since practically every other college in the nation has a ticketed graduation.
But most of all, I am so shocked that our senior class officers made this decision on their own without consulting the rest of the class they are supposed to be representing. I just think more opinions needed to be heard on this one. And that goes for Elon senior staff, too, who also helped make this decision.
If a survey was sent out asking what option the senior class preferred and the class, as a whole, chose Alamance, I’d be OK with it (albeit I’d still be majorly sad). But that’s not what happened. The decision was made for us without anyone else being asked.
I hope our senior class officers and Elon’s senior staff reconsider the wishes of the rest of the senior class and send out a survey soon to help resolve this issue.
But if graduation remains in front of Alamance, you know where to find me on May 20 — sitting in a lawn chair taking in my last moments as an Elon student. Under the Oaks.