Altra Federal Credit Union to host virtual commencement viewing

Sophia Sailer, news reporter

On May 7 and 8, Winona State University will hold the yearly commencement for graduates this spring.

But unlike last year, students will we able to be in-person for their graduations.

Nursing & Health Sciences and Science and Engineering will be doing their Naming Ceremony at 8:30 a.m. whilst the Business and Education and Liberal Arts will be doing their ceremonies at 11:30 a.m.

Students will be able to walk across the stage, switch tassels and will have photo opportunities after.

Due to COVID-19 regulations, each graduate may invite two guests to watch a livestream from inside the Altra Federal Credit Union Stadium.

These guests will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Students who choose to attend this celebration will receive a “celebration package which includes the diploma cover, tassel, cap, letter from the president, alumni pi and window sign. Students may pick up this package in Somsen Hall at their designated times.

When asking students in the Winona State community, they are polarized when it comes to what they think about commencement being in-person.

Riker Weiler, a third-year student who is studying communication arts and literature teaching, and theatre, talks about her comfortability with the update on commencement.

“I was excited to hear that individuals are able to graduate in person and able to see their friends one last time. As it stands, I’ve gotten both of my vaccinations so I would be

comfortable going to this event. I still believe students should wear masks unless it’s for photos. Students could be sick or wouldn’t be comfortable not wearing masks,” Weiler said.

While Weiler was excited for the new update, Nicholas Besore, a fourth-year student majoring in advertising, had the opposite opinion, saying he didn’t care either way.

According to the Winona State website, all events will follow strict health and safety protocols, including adhering to CDC and MDH guidelines such as social distancing, wearing masks and hand sanitizing.

Joseph Ahles, an undecided first-year student, speaks on how he agrees with these guidelines.

“With the unknown history of those attending, immunocompromised individuals may be there. We should still take them into account and have the necessary precautions in place. On top of that, those who are vaccinated can still experience symptom and carry COVID. At the bare minimum masks should be required out of consideration for anyone who may be in attendance,” Ahles said.

Cassandra Bauer, a first-year student who is majoring in film studies agrees with Weiler, saying that she is excited for this more normal event.

“I was super glad to hear that they are able to have a more established ceremony. [As a 2020 graduate] I know it can be pretty unfortunate to miss out on such a big event and accomplishment that you have been working towards for years. So, it is great that they can have something in place to celebrate these major accomplishments,” Bauer said.

Cassandra Egger, a second-year student who is majoring in elementary education with an early childhood emphasis, talks about how we need to fight this pandemic together to overcome it.

“We are moving in the right direction with vaccines. However, we all need to remain cautious. Wearing masks, socially distancing, getting vaccinated, etc. is going to make this pandemic shorter. However, to do that we all have to be in it together,” Egger said.