Does convocation matter?

Nicholas Solomon

Every new school year, during the overwhelming first week of classes, students who are new to campus, professors and other faculty members gather in White Concert Hall to celebrate the new school year and what it has in store.

Since convocation is a WU101 requirement, many of the students attending probably want to be anywhere else. Although it wasn’t voluntary for students, it was for faculty, and dozens came. Faculty members came to show support for their students. Professor in Criminal Justice Erin Grant spoke on the significance of faculty voluntarily attending convocation and the importance of the event.

“To see that faculty are actually there to support them, because they don’t necessarily know that. Whether it’s now or somewhere down the line,” Grant said. “We are not required to do this. This is an optional thing.”

One of the attendees, junior student orientation counselor Alex Yelland, believes that convocation is important for new students because it will help get them excited for the new school year.

“There’s a lot of students from my perspective, who lose sight over the summer of why they’re going to college. Obviously, they are there to get a degree, however they get all excited about moving in, they get all excited about that first week, meeting all these people, maybe going out to the events and activities, and they kind of forget, school is still a thing. It refocuses them, right the beginning of school just to make sure they’re focused on academics, and living healthy and being an adult and adapting to college,” Yelland said.

Chris Jones, professor in religious studies, described his thoughts on convocation as well.

“I like convocation, because as a professor of religion, it’s a ritual. It’s the thing we do to mark the beginning of the year and to reaffirm our values to re-establish our identity to integrate students into the collective, you know. I think it’s important for us to share that space together to do those things. I like the way that at Washburn, we have professors lined up and cheer on the students as they go in and come out. I think that’s a good way of ritually letting them know that we’re supporting them that we like them, we care about them that we are here for the students,” said Jones.

The intention of professors coming to convocation and cheering on the students is to encourage students to talk to their professors and show them that they genuinely care about their students.

Convocation gives students a refocus point as they enter into the school year. It essentially is a reverse graduation. Instead of telling students to go have a great life, and celebrate the success they had here, the goal is to celebrate the success they will have while they are here.

Edited by Abbie Barth, Adam White