Recommitting to Community: Coming Together in the Face of Adversity
by Andrea Traietti ’21
This year’s commencement ceremony is going to be held on Hendricken Field right on campus—a COVID-related break from the tradition of graduation at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center downtown.
The College announced that to keep the event as small as possible, family members would not be allowed to attend the ceremony—so it’ll just be the class of 2021, all together for one last time.
As disappointing as it is not to have graduation at the Dunk and to not have our families present, I certainly feel grateful that we’re able to have graduation at all, and one of my roommates recently pointed out that the location of graduation is actually rather fitting.
One of the first times that the class of 2021 gathered all together was on Hendricken, when, on the day we moved in, we all marched onto the field and sorted ourselves into the numbers “2021” for an aerial photo.
So it seems right that things will come full circle on May 20, when we make our way out onto the field together again, this time in caps and gowns, for a very non-traditional graduation ceremony.
I’m proud to be a member of this graduating class. I’ve watched my friends and peers lead clubs and organizations over Zoom, complete senior theses amidst virtual learning, and offer support to others in need even as we all struggled to cope with the reality that our senior year would be altered drastically by COVID-19.
More than anything, I think the achievements, both big and small, of the class of 2021 speak to one of the College’s core values: community. Teamwork and collaboration, even as we were physically distanced, helped see us through this year.
Recent weekend events and the responses to these events have threatened that sense of community, and there is palpable negativity and tension on campus. In both our actions and our collective campus dialogue, there remains room for improvement.
Many of us chose PC for its sense of community, which from start to end has marked our careers at the College. We can’t lose sight of the importance of that unity, even as we near the finish line and go our separate ways.
So in this last month, we have an obligation and an opportunity to recommit ourselves to our community values; to act responsibly, keeping in mind that health and safety are on the line; and to work together, not against one another, as we look towards the College’s future.