Separate ceremonies create intimacy for SF State grads
May 20, 2009 3:35 PM
Graduation is a milestone that is not only important for the graduates but for their families as well.
Daisy Martinez believes this, and is opting to attend La Raza Student Organization's "La Noche de La Familia" graduation.
She has invited 18 family members instead of the five she would have been limited to at the general commencement so she can celebrate with her loved ones.
"[General commencement] is not personal," Martinez said. "With Raza, you go up on stage, shake professors' hands, and as we are walking across stage our name is read and we get to say a quote."
Different ethnic organizations, such as LRSO, Jabulani and the Asian Student Unionwill, be hosting ceremonies for their students to celebrate their unique accomplishments.
LRSO is expecting 120 graduates and around 700 guests at the Student Center.
Martinez spoke of her own experience, "Maybe I wouldn't have made it if I hadn't joined Raza," said Martinez.
"When I came, I was really shy and wouldn't say anything at all. And now I am very outspoken."
Jabulani, the Africana Studies organization, will celebrate its 21st commencement, which will have "African Greatness in a Time of Hope" as their theme. They are expecting more than 1,500 guests and will have more than 80 graduates in the Main Gym.
Jabulani president Danielle Rodgers explains that some students choose to do ethnic graduations because they feel more comfortable.
"When people come [to graduation] they don't see each other as friends but rather as family," Rodgers said.
ASU will hold its ninth celebration, which will feature Supervisor and former Asian Studies professor Eric Mar as a speaker. They expect 60 graduates and will be celebrating at the Westin Hotel in Millbrae.
ASU's External Public Relations Coordinator, Jimmy Ma, emphasized the significance of having an ethnic graduation of their own.
"Asians in general populate a large part of SF State and we are one of the only campuses that has Asian Studies," Ma said. "We thought it would be important to have a special one celebrating our graduates."
ASU and International Business major David Liu can relate to this.
"Everybody knows each other [at ASU]," Liu said. "With commencement it's just the whole campus -- people that I don't even know. But ASU, I know everyone -- we grew a strong bond."
When students graduate with their cultural organization it is an intimate culminating experience that their major and its respective clubs have provided them.
"Everyone gave me knowledge and supported me," Liu said.
These specialized graduations also address some of the unique circumstances that many minority students face.
"A lot of these graduates are first-time in their family who have graduated from college because a lot of them come from backgrounds that are very challenging," Rodgers said.
The three organizations will emphasize responsibilities to their communities after graduation.
"Even though we are graduating now, there is more we have to do," Rodgers said.
"I will address the fact that we made it, and ensure that our future generation can have the same opportunities as we did," Martinez said.
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