By Courtney Klaus, Editor-In-Chief
Newman graduates who want to wear non-academic stoles signifying their diversity and campus involvement will be able to this year because of a just-approved proposal that was nearly a year in the making.
The stoles, called “graduation recognition stoles,” will be awarded for each of three categories: diversity and inclusion, athletics, and student involvement.
Each category has a series of subcategories a student can meet to qualify for the stole. For example, two of the subcategories for qualifying for the diversity and inclusion stole include being a person of color or being an international student.
These are the first and only non-academic stoles to be allowed at Newman’s commencement ceremony.
The specific design of the stoles is yet to be determined, but chair of the SGA stole committee Jose Rojas-Montero said that all the categories will have the same colors but will be distinguished by some kind of signifying mark on the stole.
The initiative to introduce co-curricular stoles began last year when senior Annie Dang presented a proposal to introduce stoles for international, multicultural or first-generation graduates. In addition, a special graduation reception to honor multicultural graduates was proposed. While the reception was eventually approved, the stoles were not.
“The focus for last year was too narrow, and it was really only for one subset of students and not all students,” co-chair of the commencement committee Scott Mudloff said. “Following commencement we revisited it…So students took what we told them last year, applied it to what they had last year and made it more workable.”
Mudloff said the Student Government Association formed an ad hoc committee that worked all last semester to draft the proposal for the stoles.
“I’m very impressed with the work the students put into it. It is something they were very passionate about, for both proposals, the first one that didn’t necessarily go through, and this one,” Mudloff said. “I was very proud of them.”
Gabrielle Altenor, another member of the SGA stole committee, said that to get the stoles approved the committee had to make some compromises and shift its focus so that co-curricular stoles were available for other achievements.
“What was envisioned by last year’s group was kind of different than what we came up with together this year, but I will say I was very pleased with how it was received this year,” she said.
Rojas-Montero said that overall he is excited that the proposal was accepted by the cabinet.
“We did have to compromise on certain things because of the magnitude of the event,” Rojas-Montero said. “At the end of the day our committee was born to advocate for diversity and inclusion and the celebration of that in commencement, and we got that.”
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Newman Advancement