What Grinds Our Gears: In-person summer convocations

Ever been tempted to take a dip in the AQ pond?

SFU graduates
Look at all those potential heatstroke victims. PHOTO: Courtesy of SFU

By Luke Faulks, Opinions Editor

This July, for the first time in two years, SFU’s graduating class will be gathering for an in-person convocation. You’ll be told you’re lucky to finally have an in-person convocation. I’m here to tell you you’re not.  

No, this summer, our graduating class will be suffering under a sweltering sun. You’ll sit for what feels like an eternity, listening to a parade of supposedly distinguished but entirely unfamiliar faces talk about the virtues of education, while becoming so heat-drunk that you’ll forget your major. Then, the humiliating ritual of glueing your  arms to your sides in a failed attempt to conceal your underarm sweat stains. 

 Let’s face facts — students are probably only there so their families can watch you cross the stage. Fine, but to do so risks your elderly relatives risk succumbing to heatstroke. Think I’m exaggerating? The roof of the main mall is supposedly made of metal. Your relatives will literally(-ish) become baked potatoes. 

 If everyone does make it through the convocation ceremony, your sweaty, greasy faces will be captured for all eternity in the never-ending post-ceremony photoshoots. You can, I suppose, take consolation that those photos will likely be sequestered in a box that will be passed down, powered by guilt, from generation to generation. It’s just not worth the risk. 

 Although “implications for graduands” didn’t make the final cut of this year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, we know climate change is a thing. Every year, a summer graduation becomes ever more untenable. That’s not to mention how extreme weather events, from forest fire smoke to deadly heat domes, are set to make summer convocations increasingly intolerable. That’s just science. 

SFU’s faculty needs to take a moment to reflect on the rare benefits of the pandemic. Going to class in PJs? Fine. Using a minor illness as a pretext for canceling events? Great. Not having in-person summer convocations? Best thing ever