St. Thomas seniors hoping to take part in one of the university’s long-standing traditions this spring should expect a change in plans.
The Undergraduate Student Government announced in a press release Friday, Feb. 16, that it will be discontinuing the senior riverboat cruise, USG’s sole senior event for a number of years, due to high demand and little space.
“Unfortunately, the event has only been able to accommodate 500 of over 1,300 seniors and has not been able to accommodate any of our growing number of December graduates,” USG said.
The statement said the Senior Class council is working hard to plan a variety of senior week events that are scheduled to take place the week before commencement. The events will be open to all seniors, including fall graduates.
USG said the budget for senior events will remain the same and will be used to plan the senior week events.
When asked about possible plans for senior week, Senior Class President Jazz Hampton would not to comment until USG and the Senior Class council are able to “iron items out.”
Senior Dan Cooper said he thinks Hampton should have contacted the senior class and asked for their opinion on the issue before any decisions were made.
“Even if it does accommodate more people, let’s have some say in what we want to do for our senior year,” Cooper said.
Senior Peter Wright agreed and said he thinks the decision will disappoint the majority of the senior class.
“I just know a lot of people will be disappointed to see it canceled, that’s for sure,” Wright said.
Because a different type of event may be more inclusive to the whole senior class, senior Evan Nolander said he “doesn’t really have a big problem with (the cancellation).”
“I just think that rather than having a small portion of the senior class, if there’s a way we could all get together and do something as one giant group, I think it’d be a lot better experience and more beneficial for everybody,” Nolander said.
Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Kris Roach said larger class sizes have been fairly consistent for the last few years; a statistic that may have influenced USG’s decision.
“We have been, and anticipate looking for, a freshman class of approximately 1,350,” Roach said. “We are also responsible for recruiting transfer students, and we’re looking for approximately 275 to 300 in the fall.”
Senior Madisyn Aultman said she also thinks it is beneficial to include more seniors but that not every event has to do so.
“Some events can have less people,” Aultman said.
Senior Tyler Iverson said the event’s novelty should count for something.
“Even if they couldn’t fit them all, I feel like it’s still a cool event,” Iverson said. “If you really wanted to go, you probably could’ve been able to go because you could stand in line, you know, things like that to make sure you get a ticket.”
Iverson said he also thought the riverboat cruise would have been a nice way for St. Thomas to congratulate the senior class.
“I think that we pay a lot of money in our tuition, and it’d be a nice thing for the school to give back to us as a way of saying congratulations for coming here for four years,” Iverson said.
Seniors like Wright and Garrett Schmidt said they have heard positive things from past riverboat attendees and were looking forward to attending.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things from students last year who really enjoyed it,” Wright said. “It’s always one of those great moments where you get together with all of your friends in your class and you can enjoy the last big celebration together.”
“I’m a little infuriated because all the other previous classes have had the same experience,” Schmidt said.
As far as events upperclassmen hope to see take place of the riverboat, many said they are indifferent as long as it lives up to the old tradition.
“Something just as fun as that was, but I have no idea. Something that could live up to it I guess,” senior Lauren Donna said.
“Maybe just a bigger (river) boat; that’d probably be the best alternative. I’m really hoping they decide to reconsider the canceling of it though,” Wright said.
Senior Mollie Gebhart said an event where the graduating class could come together without any school-induced stress would be ideal.
“I think just anything where we can all just have a break and be able to spend time together and not have to be worrying about school and graduating and stuff like that,” Gebhart said.
If you are a senior or December 2011 graduate and interested in joining the committee to plan the senior week of events, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Briggs Lesavage can be reached at email@example.com.