What to expect from Senior Days and Commencement Weekend

What’s coming up as the year is coming to a close?

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On April 27, the College announced the order of events for Senior Days, which begin on May 21. Though the festivities kick off in an unusual way, with mandatory COVID-19 testing, it’s clear: Muhlenberg is putting safety first in preparation to celebrate the class of 2021. Following COVID testing, there will be the distribution of commencement celebration bags followed by the traditional Senior Pub Night, where students are encouraged to “eat, drink and be merry,” per the College’s Instagram post. Additionally, students in the class of 2021who studied virtually this semester will be allowed to attend these events in person.

Saturday, May 22 will feature a champagne brunch, the long-awaited Haas Bell Tower tours, and of course, the Senior Ball. This year’s Senior Ball is free of charge but only open to members of the class of 2021 so as to maintain safe social distancing. Sunday, May 23 marks another mandatory COVID test followed by Baccalaureate. To round the day out, the College will be hosting a “Drive-In” movie on the green, where guests are welcome to bring a blanket and their drink of choice for an outdoor movie screening – the film of choice has not yet been announced.

The class of 2021 commencement speaker was announced to be Michelle Rajan ‘21, who will speak at the May 24 commencement ceremonies. Rajan was selected by the class of 2021 via an online survey. The first ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the PPL Center and is for students whose last names begin with letters A through K. Students with last names beginning with letters L through Z will also have a ceremony at the PPL center beginning at 2 p.m. By 7 p.m., seniors who live on campus must be moved out of their properties, including MILE houses and Village apartments, and a whirlwind weekend will end with fond farewells to the newest Muhlenberg alumni.

As far as how the members of the Class of 2021 are feeling, one word could summarize their reactions overall: fortunate. 

“I am so grateful we are able to meet in person to celebrate one another,” Maya Pandey ‘21 said. “I think it’s great that the College is still giving us time to come together just like the seniors have in previous years at Muhlenberg, especially since we have had our junior and senior years taken away from us in a way. I’m grateful that we are able to get a little piece of ‘normalcy’ back before we head out into the world.”

Pandey’s sentiments were echoed by her classmates, like Alison Cummins ‘21, who stated that “even though it’s different than it’s always been, the semblance of normalcy that we’ll get at these events will be great.” 

Alice Banta ‘21 agrees, stating that she’s “grateful,” and that “it makes a lot of sense that the schedule had to be altered since pretty much the entire academic calendar was altered as well.”

All in all, it seems that the seniors are glad to celebrate, no matter what way, shape or form. And President Kathleen Harring is just as excited, saying, “I am thrilled that we are able to plan an in-person commencement for the great class of 2021 and I am looking forward to celebrating and congratulating each and every one of them.” 

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