Students voice their thoughts on graduation not taking place on the blue turf 

Courtesy of Boise State University

Since 2021, Boise State graduates have graduated on the iconic blue turf at Albertsons Stadium — a shared memory for the graduating class, celebrating on the turf that makes Boise State University stand out nationwide. 

But as of the 2024 school year, Boise State students can expect graduating in various time slots at the ExtraMile Arena, rather than one ceremony on the beloved blue turf.

Students will be divided by their designated colleges — College of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, etc. — separated into a 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. time period.

“The decision to move to Extra Mile arena was not something that was taken lightly,” said Mike Sharp, director of media relations at Boise State. “Which was taken with feedback from fellow graduates in years past … They indicated that the most memorable experiences for the ceremonies were getting their name called when they’re receiving their diploma, sitting with their fellow graduates … and then the streamers, balloons and shaking the hands of the faculty, those are things that we can do and replicate inside Extra Mile arena.”

According to Sharp “There was an email that went out to the prospective graduates with details about what they’re convinced it was going to look like, which is the typical process for that.” However, only 2.4% of students polled by The Arbiter were aware of/were informed of the venue change through an email from the school.

A survey and form released from The Arbiter revealed that 29.2% of students polled learned of this change via a breaking news announcement published Nov. 8 by The Arbiter. The other 68.4% learned of this news through a peer or professor.

The form, attached via link at the end of the previous article, provided a forum for current students to share their thoughts on this change of venue. According to the responses received, 96.4% of students polled by the Arbiter would prefer for commencement to be at Albertsons Stadium.

Some students shared that they felt Boise State seemed to quietly release this information, “It feels really unfair and like the university tried to soft launch it in hopes that students would find out gradually to avoid a big outburst,” one student replied.

Some students questioned the destination of their tuition and shared their frustration in feeling like they were not involved in this decision. “It’s a rite of passage, and I know a LOT of my tuition goes to the f**king football program, so I’d like to walk on the field one time,” one student wrote. 

Many of the 2024 spring graduates are 2020 high school graduates as well, meaning many were deprived of a traditional graduation due to the pandemic. The abrupt change in graduation has made some students feel deprived of yet another graduation tradition.

“I waited my whole educational career to finally walk across the stage on my campus field,” another student wrote. “After the change, I had an instant feeling of betrayal, like as a part of the class of 2020 I will never get the same opportunity to celebrate my success as everyone else before me.”

A few students shared that they made changes to their academic plans in order to graduate in the spring to partake in this graduation tradition.

“I’ve taken extra classes every semester and summer and have worked so hard in order to have my graduation in the spring PURELY to have my ceremony on the turf,” one student wrote. “If this was switched, especially so close to before my graduation date, this would be a permanent sadness to my graduation ceremony and memories. I can’t even express how extremely disappointing this change would be, I don’t think I’d ever get over it.”

Sharp emphasized the importance of taking into account concerns that students have regarding this change in venue, and shared that there are some potential plans in progress.

‘I would expect that you know, any concerns or issues that the students want taken up with would have to be discussed,” said Sharp. “I do think those concerns are all still there we’re trying to do is plan some sort of opportunity for graduates and our guests to get an opportunity whether it be a photo op for a meet and greet on the blue so that students are still able to get that experience.” 

One student even started a petition for upcoming graduates to sign to restore this graduation tradition. The petition can be accessed here.

Leave a Reply