For students who had to struggle to get here or have struggled while here — including first-generation students — the graduation ceremony is more than just an orchestrated event, guaranteed to be given to you at the end of your four years.

It’s something you and those who love you have fought incredibly hard for. 

It’s the culmination of more than four years of coursework. 

It’s a product of collective and unapologetic tenacity from you and those who have fought with you. 

So on the day of your undergraduate graduation, your invitation for family and friends is more than just an expectation. It’s an opportunity to allow those who love you — especially those who may have not had the opportunity to live that experience — the gift of being a part of your journey.

So student survey or no survey, Under the Oaks or under the bare, blue North Carolina skies, to me, and to many other students, it really does not matter that commencement has been moved to Scott Plaza. It just matters that it happens nonetheless.

I’m proud of the university for supporting the option that doesn’t put the possibility of having students limit people because of a ticket policy up for popular vote. 

Moving commencement to Scott Plaza allows for more than 3,000 additional guests — 3,000 more people who don’t have to crowd into Alumni Gym or somewhere else to watch it on a screen — when the real thing is happening just a few meters away.

Be it my father, the only member of my immediate family who will travel more than 40 hours to be in attendance, or the Harwoods, who live down the road from Elon and who have become my family in the United States, every single person who fills the chairs on my behalf are people who will have contributed largely to my ability to walk across that stage. And I want them all to be there with full view. 

Traditions are important. But how about forging a new tradition that allows more people in our community to participate? What good is a tradition anyway if it leaves out a significant number of people?