A consignment to remember: Kutztown University graduates march through Main Street | Local News
Kutztown University graduates paraded Main Street for the KU Senior Send-Off event on May 1.
The KU Off-Campus Advisory Board, the KU Foundation and the Kutztown Community Partnership hosted the event with the goal of giving senior graduates an unforgettable sendoff.
âWe thought this was a great opportunity for the older graduates to put on their caps and gowns and walk down Main Street,â said Sandy Green, community liaison officer at KCP.
The event was planned before the University chose to host the debut in person. It was decided that the event would take place on Saturday one week before graduation to better ensure the participation of all graduates and their families.
Green said hosting a community event like this with the University was extremely important to Town & Gown’s relationship.
âIt’s all about community engagement,â Green said. “I think Town & Gown is more focused on the things we can do together helping each other out, working together on events for the whole city.”
âWe are very grateful to the KCP and the Borough of Kutztown for their efforts to recognize this milestone for our seniors,â said KU President Kenneth Hawkinson. âLike everyone else, our students have persevered so much over the past 14 months and have done an amazing job adjusting to the new normal during such an important time in their lives. This event is a great way for them to start celebrating as we get ready to start in person.
Dressed in their caps and gowns, the graduates gathered on the University Plaza campus by the fountain for a champagne and sparkling cider toast with KU President Hawkinson, followed by seniors walking down Main Street .
The 200 block of Main Street West was closed to traffic for an evening of outdoor dining. Seniors had to book in advance with the KCP office for dinner with friends and family at 4 p.m. (121 people), 6 p.m. (117 people) and 8 p.m. (85 people). Participating restaurants were Camillo’s, Pop’s Malt Shoppe, K’Town Pub and Kutztown Tavern.
The KU Senior Send Off event was an idea initiated by Amanda Garcia, Deputy Director of MSU Operations, Greek Life & Commuter Student Services at KU.
âI thought this was not only a great way to celebrate our graduates, but also a way to showcase and generate income at our local downtown restaurants that have been hit so hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. . Building an improved Town Gown relationship is important to me as I sit on the KCP Executive Board and oversee all of our suburban students through KU, âGarcia said. âI hope the event is just a great way for our graduates to be able to celebrate with their family and friends in a city they have called home for about four years.
âWhat better way for a senior KU graduate to celebrate than to have dinner on the streets with family and friends at one of their favorite places,â Garcia added. âThis event was built on the idea of ââa way to celebrate our students in a COVID-friendly way.â
The plan included strategic table spacing, changing table covers between the seats, and mitigating any possible additional risk. Masks and hand sanitizer were provided as needed.
Derek Mace, vice chairman of the borough council and professor of psychology at KU, addressed the graduates on behalf of Mayor Jim Schlegel and the Kutztown Borough Council, giving them all a very warm welcome and congratulations.
âGraduates, you did it! You persevered! Mace said. âUniversity is always a challenge. But this year, this group, this promotion, YOU, you managed to do it all blindfolded and your hair on fire! It’s almost as if the world dared you to end. “Go ahead and try to do it!” And you, collectively, said: âHold my coat, I have this! And you did!
Mace called the graduates the Kutztown class of 2021 Golden Daredevils.
âOf course you didn’t do it alone. You have friends and family who have been supportive from the start. And over the next few days, they’ll tell you how proud they are of you, âMace said. âSometimes you will feel like an impostor, as if the praise is too much. You say, “I don’t feel that different”. Or “It wasn’t that bad.” But that’s only because you’re used to it now. This is because you are living with yourself every day and it is difficult to remember and notice all the progress you have made. But your loved ones can see it clearly. They know how much you’ve grown. So accept it. Accept their praise. And more than that, believe it.
âFinally, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,â Mace concluded. âAs a professor at KU and a city dweller, I am lucid about your impact on Kutztown. You make this place special. And I know some of you have been living there for two, four maybe even eight years. It doesn’t stop now. Please continue to think of this place as one of your homes. You know the streets, the shops, and maybe you’ve even found the bison herd (yeah really, they’re on the hill north of town.) So please keep driving home to Kutztown. We are very proud of you. And once again, congratulations!