Seniors are finishing up classes, theses and finals, but before taking part in Commencement, most seniors will celebrate their time at Gustavus during the activities taking place during Senior Week. Senior Week is officially the four days spanning from just after finals Wednesday, May 26, to the day just before Commencement Saturday, May 29. Commencement takes place on May 30.
Senior Week is open only to seniors and allows the departing students to spend the couple of days before Commencement celebrating their time with each other at Gustavus. “Senior Week is kind of unique in that most schools don’t have it,” Senior English Major and Senior Week Co-Chair Kady Johnson said. “It’s a way for us to spend that last week together as a senior class [and] to keep the connections and sense of community that we have had over the past four years. It’s a way to have fun too.”
The plans for Senior Week have been in motion since November. Senior week Co-Chairs Johnson and Senior Spanish and Sociology and Anthropology Major Carleen Crouse were selected as presidents in November. They discussed events that had been popular in the past and replaced events that had routinely been poorly attended. Thus, with the help of 12 event chairs, the committee has put together a program featuring both traditional and nontraditional events.
There are events planned for every day during Senior Week, beginning with the Fiesta Kick-Off on May 25 followed with a concert by the Johnny Holms Band in Alumni Hall.
One of the most anticipated events is the Twins game. Before the Twins game seniors will go tailgating with President and Mrs. Ohle for a quick meal before taking off. The Twins game is an annual part of Senior Week, but this year there is added excitement as the game will feature the Twins versus the Yankees, making tickets to the game very popular. “A lot of people want to go to [the game], so to have 350 Gusties go to it will be pretty remarkable,” Johnson said.
“[I am] 100 percent [most excited for] the Twins game,” Couse said. “First of all it’s at the new field, we have some pretty good seats and it’s against the Yankees, so you kind of can’t go wrong.”
On Thursday, May 27, many seniors will be sent to Valley Fair for a day of roller coasters and other rides followed by the President’s Banquet. “The President’s Banquet is nice because, as [first-years] we have had that orientation banquet and it’s exactly like that but four years later,” Johnson said.
New events to Senior Week are on the program for Friday, May 28. Seniors Helping Seniors is a service event in which many senior students will go to The Wilds of Sand Prairie Assisted Living Center to volunteer. The service event was extremely popular this year.” I don’t think in the past the service had been that successful,” Crouse said.
“[But,] I think that there are a lot of seniors this year that are really involved and [like to] give back … it could be that that is just the dynamic of our class that we are giving and want to serve,” Crouse said.
The other new event in store for Friday is the Canterbury Park event. This event replaced a boat cruise that took place far away from St. Peter and proved to be unpopular. Canterbury Park, located in Shakopee, features horse track racing, a buffet dinner and live music.
“[Canterbury Park] is going to be great,” Senior Politicial Science Major Amy McMullan said. “Hopefully it will be sunny, and there will be gambling, food and spending time with the senior class. It is going to awesome.”
The main event scheduled for the last day of Senior Week is the Candlelight Service. “It’s a night in the chapel where [students] can go to reflect on the past four years,” Johnson said. “[Students] can hear readings from other seniors, but there is a more spiritual [undertone].“
Senior Week gives students an opportunity to reflect on their time together and their four years at Gustavus before the culmination of their studies: Commencement.
“As an out of stater, I am looking forward to spending a week with my best buds doing fun activities without stress before we have to say good bye,” Senior Biology Major Erin Eppler said.
Commencement takes on Sunday, May 30 and is the celebration in which seniors receive their diplomas and begin their lives as Gustavus Adolphus College alumni.