New timing of ‘Senior Week’ comes with mixed reviews


As the year comes to a close, graduation is growing ever nearer for Lehigh seniors. Accompanying the nostalgia is an opportunity for one last celebration to commemorate and reflect on the last four years. Such a time is known as “Senior Week.”

For years, many Lehigh seniors have participated and celebrated in the so called Senior Week in Ocean City, Maryland, after the end of final exams. However, the scheduling of this year’s senior week is slightly different than that of past years because of a modification to the length of this year’s winter break.

“Traditionally, Senior Week has been held the week after the conclusion of finals before graduation,” said John Schultz, the president of the Class of 2015. “Until this year, there was that week in the schedule. The scheduling change just added a week to winter break, so the semester and everything else — except graduation — was pushed back to accommodate this change.”

What this means is that Lehigh seniors now have a shorter period of time in which they can celebrate Senior week, cut short by the elongated winter break. The last day of final exams are scheduled to end May 13, leaving only four days in between then and commencement, which is on May 18.

Schultz, however, doesn’t believe that the motives of the scheduling change were to exclusively do away with a Lehigh-facilitated Senior Week. He pointed out that the week was never sponsored in past years, but was instead facilitated.

“Some other positive things that came out of the added week include giving sorority women an extra week of break, because they have to be back on campus for rush, allow(ing) for more programming to occur over the winter, study abroad, accelerated classes…and others,” Schultz said.

Schultz also explained that the university could not simply change the date of Lehigh’s graduation, because it would conflict with the timing of neighboring colleges’ graduations, as they are all strategically planned.

Jameson Barrett, ’15, spoke indifferently on the matter and said he enjoyed having a longer winter break and likes when school runs later into the spring.

Barrett’s concerns seemed to be focused more toward where he and his friends would be staying during Senior Week, saying that they haven’t been able to get a house yet. They found two possibilities but they only rent to families. He said he’s optimistic that they’ll find a house.

Shelby Wirtz, ’15, is a Gryphon and will not be able to attend Senior Week. As a Gryphon, she is required to stay through the day after the last finals to close the buildings. By getting rid of the other week, she is not unable to attend senior week.

“There’s no sense in me going to Ocean City (on) Thursday for just a couple days and then come back Saturday,Sunday to spend time with my family and get ready for graduation,” she said.

Wirtz said she thought the system worked better before, because now she thinks people are rushed right after finals with a short time to fit in other things like family gatherings before graduation.

For those without many exams or other obligations the change seems minuscule, but for those without the luxury of time, Senior Week seems more of an onerous task than it should be.

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