The “Grad Finale” event took place April 17 in the Hewitt Union Ballroom. It was a meeting place for students who wanted to take place in the commencement ceremony to buy memorabilia and various items needed for the graduation ceremony. I decided to go with the intention to only pick up my graduation tickets since I already had my old cap and gown from high school, of the same size, style and brand that Oswego State was selling. To my surprise, I was told it was mandatory to buy at least one piece of merchandise, even if I already had everything I needed in order to receive my commencement tickets and name card.
None of these commencement materials had any sort of Oswego State brand mark or anything that distinguished them distinctively enough to be valued at such stark prices. In order to receive my graduation package, I checked out the least expensive item: an overpriced tassel which totaled $39.
A moment that is traditionally a celebration of my achievements has seemingly become a business of obligatory transactions. To make matters worse, I decided to look up the prices for all these graduation materials through various online merchants, and found the exact materials for up to 85 percent less.
Not only is it a shame that the tradition of celebrating graduation has become what seems to be a coerced monopolistic business where you are forced to pay to participate in your own commencement ceremony, but they are also engaging in environmental waste. Every year, how much graduation material will be thrown away, instead of renting out or giving away these materials for others to reuse?
To make matters more interesting, the graduation package letter states “Oswego is not allowed to charge for these items.” This seems very paradoxical, in that I was not allowed to receive graduation tickets nor my name card without buying their merchandise.
If you’re like most students graduating in debt, unemployed and would like to save buck, there are many websites selling the exact same honor cords, cap and gowns, tassels and at a fraction of the price than what the school is selling it for.
I urge students and Oswego State to take some initiative. Students should not be discouraged from attending the graduation ceremony for financial reasons. Even if finances are not a matter of concern for you, there are environmental considerations as well as the ethics involved in paying to participate in the graduation ceremony when the school itself states they are not allowed to do so. Students and their families should at least be allowed to participate, without being obligated to pay the school for items they may already have or can acquire elsewhere.