The Residential Life Office, with some financial backing from Alumni Relations, is working with guidance from a group of seniors to throw a party/banquet for graduates the Thursday before commencement. Here's the catch: There isn't one. There is no cost for the attendees.
This "Senior Send-Off" event gives the University the chance to do something special for our seniors before they leave campus. It will be the last chance they have to be together informally. We want to give the seniors a slap on the back that simply says "we'll miss you." Some staff will be on hand to supervise the event, but this isn't a faculty/staff and student mixer. We will get out of the way so the students can have a nice time just with each other.
The students we tapped to assist with this have come from ASR and the Ambassadors. After getting feedback from them we jointly developed a survey that went to all seniors to solicit feedback.
Of the over 200 respondents the excitement for the event was almost unanimous. Based on what the seniors have said they want, here is what the event will look like. It will be a cocktail hour from 7 to 8 pm on the Storch Mall extending north toward the Miller fountain. Beer and wine will be provided. Dinner will start at 8 pm and will be a buffet on china served by ARAMARK. Students will be asked to dress business casual. The entertainment is intended to be classy background music. We are close to signing a jazz band to play near the tower. There will be about five minutes of welcome from the student planners and a staff member and that will be it. We are also making arrangements to have a scrolling message board for seniors to send approved messages to their peers throughout the evening.
The idea is for the seniors to be able to have conversation, to unwind, to enjoy a festive atmosphere, and to watch the sun set on the city as it sets on their time together at Trinity. The seniors surveyed reported that they were interested most in the free food, adult beverages, and a fun atmosphere. We think we can deliver. The Thursday date was selected because it is after finals and usually before families have arrived for the weekend festivities. The long-term vision is to establish this as a University tradition, whether from Residential Life or other offices.
We also want to see if this event resonates with seniors. The popular and traditional senior tower climb and the Last Great Reception are different enough, we think, that this event won't be redundant. Following commencement the University also throws an excellent reception for students and families to say a final good-bye. Seniors will be sent E-vite invitations in April and will be asked to RSVP by May 1. Based on survey results we expect over 200 seniors to attend.
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