Graduating seniors guaranteed one ticket for commencement

Graduation changes upset students and parents

Story by Courtney Roszak, Staff Writer

Earlier this year, UW-Eau Claire announced graduating seniors would be guaranteed only one ticket for the graduation ceremony in May.

Second-semester seniors, like Maggie Nelson, were able to request additional tickets so family and friends could attend the ceremony.

“I requested two tickets, but I will not find out until the end of the month,” Nelson said.

The ticket shortage upset seniors and thier families. Last year they were guaranteed more than one ticket.

The university stopped promising multiple tickets after the May 2013 ceremony when commencement coordinator Lynn Dehnke noticed 10 rows of empty seats on the floor of Zorn Arena, which could have been used to seat additional friends and family.

“We put the commencement ticket reservation into play so that we could deal with special seating in advance and so that we could have a fair way to provide tickets to parents,” Dehnke said.

The December 2013 commencement was a trial run for the new ticket reservation system. Dehnke said it went well, but there were a few glitches. She said they helped her improve the system for May’s commencement, since it is larger.

Before the universtiy reworked the ticket reservation system, seniors went to the service center and filled out a form for extra tickets.

Dehnke said the new system eliminates hassle for both students and commencement planners.
Some students, like senior public relations major Alaina Streblow, said it’s stressful waiting to hear how many tickets they will receive.

“It is frustrating, since I know I am not the only person who has two parents who would like to support their child during one of the biggest days of their lives,” Streblow said. “If the administration is having problems fitting graduation in Zorn Arena, perhaps they should be looking into hosting graduation at a different location to fit the needs of their students.”

Mary Streblow, Alaina Streblows’s mother, said she was in disbelief when her daughter said she wasn’t guaranteed two tickets.

“In our case, we are two very proud parents who will be devastated if we cannot see our daughter graduate,” Mary Streblow said. “We should not be denied the proud moment of seeing them graduate.”

Alaina Streblow requested additional tickets for her parents and grandmother so they could see her receive her college diploma.

Dehnke said commencement, which is held in Zorn Arena, does allow limited space considering the number of students graduating.

For some seniors, it is not a big deal if multiple people cannot attend their graduation. Senior nursing major Denae Nygren said she worries she won’t receive the number of tickets she requested, but she understands there is nothing she can do.

“Just because someone won’t be sitting through a three-plus-hour long ceremony does not mean they won’t be supporting me,” Nygren said.

Dehnke said students should find out no later than April 18 how many tickets they will receive. But she is confident each student will get three tickets. She said she hopes to receive her final distribution list later this week.