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The University will consolidate cultural graduations this spring, cutting the total number of cultural ceremonies from five in previous years to three this spring.
There will be two Latinx celebrations, one for the Black/African American students communities, and a combined ceremony for those identifying as Middle Eastern/Arabic, Pacific Islander/Asian American, and Rainbow/Lavender.
The combined ceremonies are based on the number of participants in past years with budget considerations, said Daniel Loera, director of multicultural affairs.
The combined ceremony will be similar to multicultural graduation celebration held for winter graduates.
“This felt really right,” Loera said.
Loera said he and Misty Levingston, assistant director of the multicultural affairs, wanted to be sure that all students who wanted to participate in a cultural graduation could do so. “Multicultural Affairs has been combining (ceremonies) over the years because there just aren’t enough students participating,” said Sofia Borbon, a junior education major, who works in the Center for Multicultural Services.
Loera added that last year there more Latinx students that the Athletics Pavilion could accommodate, forcing the University to send guests away to watch the celebration on a screen in Morgan Auditorium and the Campus Center.
“We created two Latinx celebrations (this year).” Loera said. “It’s the best answer to a good dilemma, and we are capping it at 90 participants.”
Senior criminology and Spanish major Tatiana Peregrina will be participating in the Latinx celebration and said that she has always viewed these celebrations as a way for students to stand out and push forward for their identifying cultures.
“I think it’s a good effort in trying to include everyone,” Peregrina said, though she added, “Graduates who are being clumped into a general cultural graduation are not able to represent that push forward on behalf of their culture like other graduates are.”
The cultural graduation celebrations held in the winter and spring terms serve to acknowledge and celebrate the diverse backgrounds of students and their families.
All those students participating in cultural graduations will be given a cultural sash that they can also wear to their full college graduations.
“The reason for the creation of cultural graduations in the first place was for those in these marginalized communities, new to experiencing what commencement was, (can) share their appreciation for their culture,” Loera said.
Senior business administration major Sabrina Carrera said she likes the idea of the cultural graduation celebrations.
“I’m really excited to be participating and think it’s a great way to show my tie to the Latinx culture,” Carrera said.
There are six sash options graduating students can choose from which include Black/African American, Latinx, Middle Eastern/Arabic, Pacific Islander/Asian American, Rainbow/Lavender and the Unity in Diversity or Multicultural sash.
The Unity in Diversity Graduation Celebration will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. May 16 in the Campus Center Ballroom.
The Latinx celebrations will be held May 18 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Athletics Pavilion.
The black cultural celebration will also be held May 18 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Athletics Pavilion.
Registration to participate in the cultural graduation celebrations is open online at the University of La Verne website at laverne.edu/multicultural/cultural-graduation.
If you are interested in attending the ceremonies, admission is free and doors will open an hour before the scheduled events.
Jaycie Thierry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.