Ithaca College staff and administrators discussed commencement, housing assignments, spring move-out, fall move-in and end of semester plans at the last All Student and Family Gathering for the 2020–21 academic year.
The gathering took place virtually April 29 and concluded with a Q&A portion, mediated by Rosanna Ferro, vice president for student affairs and campus life. Dean of Students, Bonnie Prunty, welcomed students to the gathering and thanked them for adhering to COVID-19 guidelines and the Community Agreement throughout the spring semester.
Commencement will be held indoors in the Athletics & Events Center (A&E) this year in order to monitor attendance for COVID-19 compliance and to avoid any potential unexpected weather said Chrissy Guest, associate professor in the department of media arts, sciences and studies. Guest and Steve TenEyck, professor and associate chair of the department of theatre arts, are working with the Commencement Committee to plan a ceremony that will take place both in–person and virtually. She said three large screens will be placed at the A&E at the front of the stage, on the side and three will be set up in the back, behind the graduates.
“Family, friends, support groups and cheering audience members can watch on the livestream,” she said. “They can YouTube comment if they would like and those comments will be brought into the show so that people in the arena can see the comments that are being made on YouTube.”
Guest said special support groups, who graduates have selected to give a link to, will be able to watch the celebration through Zoom and will be projected onto the large screens in the back. As graduates cross the stage they will be able to see the people they’ve selected on the screens. Students in the Roy H. Park School of Communications will be controlling these screens, Guest said.
Jenny Pickett, assistant director for the Office of Residential Life, said the move-out process this year will be less complicated than it was last year. There will be no appointments for move out, but buildings will close by 3:00 p.m. on May 15.
Students will clean their room, take out any garbage and recycling and lastly, put their room key in an envelope and take it to one of the six key drop–off locations on campus. Envelopes will be handed out by resident assistants and the drop–off locations are the Gardens laundry room, the Bogart mailroom, Terrace 7, Circles Community Building, outside the Office of Residential Life in East Tower, and next to the Information Desk in the Campus Center.
Students with finals that can be completed remotely are allowed to leave earlier.
Students who need to stay past May 15 are asked to fill out the late departure form. Students staying for commencement need to move out by noon on May 24, excluding Circle Apartments residents.
Another student asked about summer housing. Pickett said that the website is live now and that all students this summer will be housed individually at a rate of $80 per week.
Marsha Dawson, director of the Office of Residential Life and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, in response to students’ feelings concerning the housing application process for Fall 2021, discussed housing assignments and the importance of students living on campus. Rising juniors are frustrated over being placed in dorms after applying for the on-campus apartments which regularly house juniors and some seniors. In past years, rising juniors have had the opportunity to apply to live off campus, but this process was not held this year.
“I think we are seeing a number of disappointed students that may have not gotten their ideal or their first choice apartment, and I think also what appears to be some great misunderstanding of just the process in general,” she said.
Dawson said the residency policy has always had a three–year requirement where students are required to live on campus their first, sophomore and junior years.
Housing decisions for the 2021–22 academic year were released April 30.
End of Semester Plans
A student asked if the college will accommodate students who have had a severe reaction to the first dose of the vaccine, as it was announced that vaccines will be required for all students and staff for Fall 2021. Ellyn Sellers-Selin, physician and medical services director of the Center for Counseling, Health and Wellness, said that there will be a form for students to apply for a medical exemption.
Another student asked about surveillance testing for COVID-19 in the fall. Sellers-Selin said the college is hoping to eliminate the need for frequent surveillance testing during the summer and fall semester for students who are vaccinated, with, hopefully, close to 100% of students vaccinated, excluding those few with rare medical exemptions. The college will still have the ability to test symptomatic students.
There will be an end–of–the–year celebration May 7 with activities for students. There will be lawn games and activities set up in different locations for students and carnival-style food tents in the quad between the Fitness Center and the Campus Center for all students, Bonnie Prunty said
Sean Reilley, associate director of the Office of Recreational Sports, said other events will take place that night, including a silent disco at Glazer Arena and an outdoor movie, Wonder Woman (1984), at Butterfield Stadium.
“It should be just a great way to mark the end of what has been a really challenging year, and really reward and thank the students for doing such a great job keeping each other safe, themselves safe and the rest of our local community safe,” he said.