SBS Senior Celebration FAQs
Updated March 14, 2011
The SBS Senior Celebration takes place on May 14, 2011 in the Mullins Center. Processional begins promptly at 12:30 p.m. Line up for all graduates and faculty begins promptly at 11:45 am.Details about the day's event follow (and more will be added as plans develop). Check this page often. General information is available on the UMass Commencement website.
• Who gets to walk?
A student’s year of graduation is established by the Registrar’s Office. To be eligible to participate in the May 2011 Commencement ceremony, students must have fulfilled all requirements by the time of the ceremony or be scheduled to do so by September 2011. Students scheduled for February 2012 graduation who wish to attend the May 2011 ceremony must file a “Petition to Participate in an Earlier Commencement” form, available as of February 1 at the Registrar’s Office (207 Whitmore). We anticipate that about 1,140 students will graduate from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
• I am a double major. One is in SBS and the other is in another college. Which senior celebration ceremony do I attend?
If the ceremonies take place at different times you may attend both. If they take place at the same time, then you must chose one. Check the main Commencement website for a complete listing of times and locations for each senior celebration. At whichever ceremony you attend, a photographer's assistant will give you a card to fill out with your name. This will be given to the reader who will call your name in the order it is received.
• Are seniors required to attend a practice pre-ceremony?
No. Each major will have a group of embedded student leaders, who will have received instructions before the ceremony. Plus, you will have faculty marshalls walking in with you to help you understand where to go. You will march in and fill up seats from front to back. The key to all of this is simply find your line-up area, marked with a sign, and to be alert to instructions.
• When does the SBS Senior Celebration begin?
The SBS processional begins promptly at 12:30 p.m. in the Mullins Center, but seniors should plan to line up in the tent behind the Mullins Center, by department/program at11:30. Families are asked to take their seats in the arena at this time. Bear in mind that the School of Management will be conducting their senior ceremony prior to the SBS festivities. That ceremony is scheduled to wrap up by 10:30 am, but please allow ample time (some have said up to an hour) for that group to exit the building before the SBS group begins its entry.
• How many guests will each student be allowed to bring? Do attendees need tickets?
You may bring as many guests as you like. No tickets are required. Seating in the Mullins Center is unreserved.
• What should participants wear?
Studentsand faculty should dress in commencement caps and gowns. Families should dress comfortably, wearing shoes appropriate for walking and climbing stairs. (There is an elevator available in the Mullins Center for those with mobility issues.)
• Where do I get my cap and gown?
Caps, gowns, and tassels and an accompanying packet of four Commencement announcements may be picked up at the Textbook Annex, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., between April 25 and May 13. Students are strongly advised to pick them up as soon as possible. A student ID card is required to confirm eligibility. On Commencement Day, May 13, caps and gowns may be obtained after 3:30 p.m. at the graduate assembly area in Yellow Lot 11, north of the stadium. For students who are not on campus, you may request mailing by calling 413-545-3570. Mailing will be by FedEx and must be to a residential street address. Cost is $15.00 regular delivery or $25.00 for next day. Remember, you'll be wearing the cap and gown for both the Main Commencement ceremony on Friday evening and again at the SBS Senior Celebration on Saturday.
• Do graduates with special honors receive special sashes?
If you have received special honors and have sashes or cords to represent any special honor, by all means please wear them. However, because not all final GPAs have been tallied by Commencement Weekend, a full listing of honors recipients is not available, and therefore no special sashes will be available from the College.
• How should I plan for the weather?
Fortunately, the Mullins Center is a comfortable arena with climate control. However, bear in mind that parking for SBS families is designated for Lots 33, 22 and 21, opposite the Southwest Residential area. While shuttles will be available to drop people at the Mullins Center (in the rear) beginning at 11:00 am, we suggest umbrellas and/or appropriate rain apparel in the event of a rainy day—especially for those who choose to walk or if there is a waiting period outside the Mullins Center while attendees at the previous ceremony exit. And conversely, don't forget sunscreen and hats for protection from the sun.
• Is parking available?
Yes. Campus administration has requested that SBS-affiliated people please park in Lots 33, 22 and 21, opposite the Southwest Residential Complex on University Drive. Shuttle buses will operate from the parking lot, departing from three stops in the parking areas to the Mullins Center, beginning at 11:00 a.m.They will also be available after the Senior Celebration to transport you back to Parking Lots 33, 22, and 21. We suggest that you leave your car for the duration of the day's activities and navigate via shuttle bus or on foot. Allow plenty of time after parking (we recommend 40 minutes) to travel by bus or on foot to the Mullins Center. Patience is the operative word during Commencement weekend. The Southwest parking lots are also very convenient to the two dining commons (Hampshire and Berkshire) that will be serving food all day on Saturday (7:00 am–10:00 pm). Families of students with meal plans eat for free; for those without meal plans, reasonable prices are the order of the day.
• I have relatives who have never been to the campus before. How do they get directions?
To get driving directions to UMass, please click here.
• Someone in our party is hearing impaired. What should we do?
Sign language or oral interpreters are available upon request. Call 413.545.0892 V/TTY or e-mail (with the subject line "Commencement Interpreter Request") email@example.com no later than April 15.
• Someone in our party is handicapped. What should we do?
Please visit Help for Those With Disabilities for essential information, Handicapped-Accessible Parking, and Sign or Oral Interpreters. Guests with documented disabilities who need handicapped-accessible parking must complete and submit an application form by Friday, April 22, 2011. The application is available on the website noted above.
• What do we do about lunch?
Having an event midday presents special food challenges, especially since we expect SBS seniors to be in the line-up area and families to begin taking their seats at 11:30. Food will be available in the Berkshire and Hampshire dining commons in the Southwest Residential Complex, all day from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (The Campus Center food establishments also will be in operation.) Because the timing of the SBS Senior Celebration, please plan your nourishment accordingly. At the SBS Reception preceding the SBS Senior Celebration, a light brunch will be available.
Families of students with meal plans may eat at no charge in the dining halls; for those without meal plans, reasonable prices are the order of the day. Bear in mind that Dining Services at UMass Amherst is well known nationally for its outstanding fare. Also, Amherst and the surrounding communities offer a wide array of restaurants. In addition, the concession stands in the Mullins Center will be in operation for guests to purchase simple foods (e.g., deli sandwiches, pizza, roll-ups) and beverages. Those who chose this option may take their food to their seats. Seniors, however, must be in their line-up area in the SBS Tent by 11:30 am, and they will not have access to the concessions. However, SBS will provide snacks for them when they line up.
The choice for meals is entirely yours, but please plan accordingly. Traffic will be heavy and parking on campus will be congested, so allow enough time. How much is "enough" time? The prevailing opinion is "more than you think you'll need."
• When and where do graduating seniors meet for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Celebration? How do we line up?
At 11:30 am on Saturday, May 14, 2011, students will gather in the SBS Tent, by major and dressed in their caps and gowns. The SBS Tent is behind the Mullins Center. Look for your Major's sign (if you are a double major, you must choose to walk in one). Representatives from each program will help you line up, in pairs, so that when the class enters, it will be a double line. Bear in mind: if you wish to sit next to a friend you must be in the same line, one after the other, as the double line splits to the right and left sides of the seating arrangement.
• I want to watch my son/daughter process. Where should I go?
You will be able to see your son/daughter from your seats when they enter the arena; be looking for the banner that precedes the entrance of each group. Then, they will be seated in groups, according to their major program. You will also see your child seated with their fellow majors for the duration of the ceremony and shaking hands with various College officials after his/her name is called, and. In addition, there will be two jumbo-trons, enabling you to see your child receiving the commemorative medal after his/her name is called.
• What is the protocol for the SBS Senior Celebration?
Our goal is to make the send-off for the Class of 2011 personal, memorable and fun. In the interest of mutual respect and keeping the atmosphere congratulatory for all participants, all graduates will return to their seats after their names are called. We also request that all cell phones are turned off during the ceremony and that the guests remain in their seats. We understand the excitement that surrounds these ceremonies, but ask everyone to be considerate of the entire group. Pictures of each graduate will be available from the professional photographers hired for the event. They will be in touch with each graduate in a timely manner with proofs.
• What happens after the celebration is over?
Students and faculty will leave the arena as a group, after which graduates and their families can meet in a designated area. Since the Mullins Center is divided into alphabetical sections, we recommend meeting in the area that begins with the first letter of the graduate's last name. Many people find it helpful to arrange for a meeting place before the ceremony begins, to avoid confusion. Please bear in mind that another ceremony is scheduled to take place in the Mullins Center after the SBS event, so it is very important that everyone exit the arena quickly.
• I hear a professional photograph will take pictures. How do I get those?
During the Senior Celebration Ceremony, graduates will be photographed in their regalia when they receive their medal. Proofs of these photographs will be mailed to graduates along with order forms and information. To learn more, see www.gradimages.com or call (800) 261-2576.
• I am unable to attend the SBS Senior Celebration Ceremony, but I'd like to have the Commemorative Medal. What should I do?
We're sorry that you can't make it to this very special event. To receive your medal, contact the University Events Office, 413-577-1101.
• When do I receive my diploma?
The SBS Senior Celebration does not award diplomas, only the commemorative medals. Your diploma, which is officially conferred at the Friday evening Commencement, will be mailed to you. For details, check the 2011 Commencement website.
Be sure to visit the University's Commencement 2011 website for information about the main event on Friday, May 13, 2011, as well as details about lodging, dining, driving to campus and more.
The SBS Dean's Office will send additional information to seniors over the course of the semester, and as more details become available, they will be posted on these pages. Students should check their student email account and are advised to update changes of mailing address with the Registrar's Office. If you have additional questions about the SBS Senior Celebration, please e-mail Jackie Brousseau-Pereira.