Traditionally, graduating seniors are on their own when it comes to getting ready for that big day. Seniors this year, however, got a bit of a helping hand with JSU’s first Graduation Fair on August 26, in the Leone Cole Auditorium, lasting from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The fair was the idea of the Bursar’s office. “We wanted to offer more to the students,” said Emily White, the JSU Registrar. Numerous booths set up by JSU staff or certain companies were located in the auditorium. A taping of last fall’s graduation ceremony was played on a projector at the far end of the hall.
Seniors could walk in and fill out an information card. Each time a booth was visited, the student would receive a sticker. After six stickers, a student could hand the card back, and be put into a drawing for an Apple iPad or other door prizes.
Each booth served a different purpose for graduating seniors. For example, a booth by Village Photographers let seniors have a free sitting for cap and gown pictures. Another booth from Balfour let students order class rings. Even Waffle House was available with hot waffles and information about its company.
Previously such companies would have to wait until right before graduation to be visible to students. “This is actually much more open, it seems much more visible to students,” said Matthew Phillips, a Balfour representative.
Booths that held various JSU services, such as Alumni and Career services, lined the walls. JSU Testing Services was available to inform graduating students of the change in tests from the CBASE test to the newer EPP test. Booths from different departments such as Communication, Arts and Sciences were available to help students check up on their progress for graduation.
The reception from students attending the fair was positive. “I love it. It was very informative about the next step; it’s a great thing they have going around here,” said Senior Lorenzo Dowdell, who is majoring in Exercise Science.
“It’s very well put together; they’ve got it all really well laid out,” said Jeremy Bagwell, a Fine Arts major. All of the students noted that they found out about the fair by email from their GEM account.
JSU teachers had similar impressions. “I think it’s an excellent method of making sure that seniors help get that senioritis; it just reinforces the fact that they are okay and don’t have to wait until the last of the semester,” said Debra Goodwin, Department Chair of Family and Consumer Sciences.
President Meehan himself dropped by to check out everything the fair had to offer. “I’m very pleased. I wish I had something like this when I was an undergraduate, everything is all in one place; you don’t have to go all around campus to ask your questions and get answers,” said President Meehan.
White said JSU is evaluating whether there are plans for more graduation fairs based on the amount of reception from the first. “Every fall and spring we ought to have a graduation fair,” said President Meehan.