As Boise State continues planning for the Spring 2017 Commencement ceremony—to be held Saturday, May 6 in Albertsons Stadium on the Blue—organizers have had to overcome various issues with hosting an outdoor event.
President Bob Kustra spoke in a panel interview with The Arbiter about planning for graduation and trying to think of solutions for all scenarios which may occur on the big day. With commencement being held on the Blue for the first time, more preparation is necessary than when it was in the Taco Bell Arena. Graduates received an email from the University on Friday, March 17 about the privilege of using the field and how students can’t wear spiked shoes or stiletto heels.
“The fact of the matter is, this is a University that happens to have an athletic department—not an athletic department that happens to have a University—so we get to make the final call on all of these things,” Kustra said, in reference to using the Blue for commencement.
The setup has been determined, and the stage will be placed at the 50-yard line, facing the South End Zone. Family and friends will be able to sit anywhere in the stands until about the 30-yard line.
With this arrangement came a bit of an issue as those watching from the South End Zone—facing toward the North end of the field—will have a goal post in their view.
“As it turns out, it’s is unbelievably expensive to remove a goal post from the field. So, the decision was made that, for this year, we’re going to let the goal post stand,” Kustra said.
Fortunately, attendees will be able to get up and move around to take photos, in order to avoid the yellow posts being in their view.
“We resisted this for a long time, because of the weather,” Kustra said. “And then over and over again—every time the subject came up—people would say, ‘Do you realize they do this outdoors at the University of Washington, in Seattle? And if they do it in Seattle, we must be able to get by with it here in Boise where we only get 11 inches of rain a year.’”
Proper precautions are being taken to ensure the turf is protected during the ceremony—which will happen rain or shine. According to the commencement email, students will be provided with rain ponchos should the weather take a turn, but umbrellas will not be allowed. Each seat will have a water bottle underneath, in effort to keep the graduates hydrated, if the afternoon is hotter than expected.
“I’m pleased to hear so many students excited about graduating on the Blue. Maybe if we’d known that, we’d have done it a long time ago,” Kustra said.
More details about graduation can be found in the March 13 Arbiter article, “Spring 2017 Commencement to be held in Albertsons Stadium.”