Students finally can rest assured the Ellipse Commencement tradition will continue – as will Monumental Celebration at Union Station. The final decision came Friday from the ultimate GW decision-maker, President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. After months of anxiety and heated debate, students can enjoy planning for the Commencement weekend they’d advocated.
Both students and Trachtenberg deserve a pat on the back. Students displayed an amazing and refreshing amount of concern and action on the issue – moving from what, in the past, has seemed a hermitage of apathy and non-involvement.
Student leaders displayed actual leadership. They organized the hugely successful Commencement town hall meeting in November, which drew about 400 students as well as several members of the Commencement Committee.
Our student leaders listened to their constituents and made a positive difference – let’s hope this energy will continue on other important issues.
Trachtenberg is to be commended for listening to students when making his final decision, and especially for rejecting the Commencement Committee’s recommendation to do away with a University-subsidized Monumental Celebration. It is quite satisfying to see students’ opinions listened to and accepted.
But it is not over yet. The challenge now falls to students. Trachtenberg has said that if graduates, their friends and families show in small numbers to Monumental Celebration, it will cease in future years. All students are urged to go to the party – non-seniors can celebrate with friends moving on, and preserve the ritzy gala for their own Commencements.
Monumental Celebration offers a chance to get dressed up, dance, eat good food and have an all-around good time in Union Station’s impressive setting. Similarly, everyone still in town should go to the Commencement on the Ellipse. Students have earned the right to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The only thing that remains is to convince Mother Nature to go along with our plans.