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Western New England University prepares for warmer temperatures for commencement weekend

Western New England University prepares for warmer temperatures for commencement weekend
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:21 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Western New England Univerity working to keep everyone safe and cool during this weekend’s graduation ceremonies.

Over 800 students will be graduating this weekend from Western New England University. School officials are hard at work making sure the community will be safe, as temperatures are expected to reach well into the 90s.

“It’s mainly to make sure all of our patrons are comfortable as well as our graduates,” explained Basil Stewart, vice president of finance and administration.

The in-person ceremonies will take place inside the Anthony S Caprio Alumni Healthful Living Center and with large crowds expected, school officials are bringing in extra industrial fans to help keep everyone cool.

“We’re already going to have our venue air-conditioned so we want our patrons inside witnessing the commencement that they are comfortable,” Stewart said.

As a COVID-19 precaution, families have the option to watch their loved ones get their diplomas from outside at Golden Bear Stadium.

Vice president of student affairs Kristine Goodwin told Western Mass News that the university has installed an outdoor misting station and first aid stations to help keep those who are outdoors safe.

“A heat stroke is preventable if it’s caught early. So the idea is for anybody who is having any symptoms to come to first aid station, sit down, kick back and get a drink of water, an ice pack on the back of the neck,” Goodwin explained.

In addition, there will be no cost water hydration stations, where people can stop by at any time to get water.

The best part Goodwin said is free ice popsicles for graduating students!

“So we are calling it operation freeze pop. So we are going to have freeze pops on the way and on the way out,” said Goodwin.

The idea came from the school’s president, who wanted to make sure everyone enjoys all the pomp and circumstance despite the heat. One undergraduate volunteer helping during the ceremonies said a group of students went out on Thursday to buy over 3,000 ice popsicles to give out.

“Operation freeze pop is going to be great overall and I’m excited to see how everyone feels about it,” said Burnham.

For anyone who wishes to watch from the comfort of their home, the commencements will be live-streamed online.

“So they really have three options, one is to watch live in venue, the other to watch on a large screen in Golden Bear Stadium, and finally to watch from any computer on or off-campus,” Goodwin said.

Undergraduate commencement will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. Graduate commencement will be held on Sunday, May 22, 2022, at 2:00 p.m.