By Sam Nicholas

As SVC’s June 15th graduation date approaches, staff are carefully planning the commencement ceremony and associated activities. Security is at the forefront of these efforts given recent public tragedies and the media’s special attention to them. Although the safety and security of those on campus is always the top priority, much advance planning is necessary to make certain that the event proceeds with perfect execution.

“As soon as the last person is off campus, we start planning for the next year,” commented Jim Jolly, SVC’s Director of Security and Emergency Management.

Because organizing such a large event is complex, planning meetings are held throughout the year with the various staff involved in the process. In reality, all staff are involved in commencement to some extent. Jolly noted that this committee is headed by SVC’s Vice President for Student Services Claire Peinado.

“Every detail from printing out programs to the ways that students apply for graduation” is carefully mapped out, stated Jolly. “It’s the biggest event that we have to plan for each year.”

In anticipation of a large crowd, Skagit Valley College will hire 3 off-duty (uniformed) police officers from local agencies. Their presence will serve as peace of mind to many, but also as a deterrent for those with nefarious intentions.

Other considerations involve the thoughtful placement of seating, band, choir, and other elements to meet important rules like the fire code. Keeping exits fully accessible is an important detail that may have been overlooked in past years’ planning efforts, but will surely be incorporated this year.

Whether moving supplies, students, staff, or visitors around campus, the security team will play an important role. Logistics are a huge part of it, ensuring that everyone is able to view the event (if not live then via video display in rooms across campus) by getting people where they need to be on campus.

Commencement will take place at 6:30 pm on June 15th in Mount Vernon. Additional ceremonies are planned for June 13th for San Juan Center and June 14th for the Whidbey Island Campus. More info about commencement activities can be found online or around campus.