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Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

Overcast, 54 °F

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Mackenzie Halley

Mackenzie Halley tries on class rings during the Grad Fair in Baker Ballroom.

Photo courtesy of: Elizabeth Held

Graduating students were able to try on caps and gowns and get their portrait taken before the ceremonies take place in May.

Graduating students were able to try on caps and gowns and get their portrait taken before the ceremonies take place in May.

Photo courtesy of: Elizabeth Held

Rufus trys on a Stanley Cup ring brought by University class ring manufactuers to the Grad Fair.

Rufus trys on a Stanley Cup ring brought by University class ring manufactuers to the Grad Fair.

Photo courtesy of: Elizabeth Held

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Grad Fair helps students prepare for big day


With spring break over and classes back in session, graduation is rapidly approaching. To prepare graduating seniors and arm them with the information for the coming whirlwind of weeks, Ohio University Event Services hosted The Grad Fair on Wednesday afternoon.

Many services and vendors were available to students, including Event Services, the Alumni Association, Nationwide Insurance, the Career and Leadership Development Center, Printing Services, a photo booth to take a picture reminiscent of OHIO, the Multicultural Center, Oak Hall Graduation Apparel and Herff Jones, which offered information on class rings and graduation announcements available for purchase.

“It’s impressive,” said Yajun Lin, a biochemistry major who saw the event promoted on Twitter and signs in Baker and decided to stop by. “It’s all the things I don’t know, so it’s amazing.”

This year’s event was heavily promoted and featured extended hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., explained organizer Taylor King, a graduate assistant in the Division of Student Affairs.

Signage outside the hallway leading to Baker Ballroom B helped direct some students to the event with witty remarks like, “Are you ready? Insert minor freak out here. Don’t worry, keep calm and attend.”

The sign also made mention of free cake offered inside, which served to draw even more students to attend.

Morgan Mead, a marketing and entrepreneurship major, saw the offer of cake and wanted to see how her cap and gown would fit, so she decided to attend and learn more about the other booths.

“I didn’t know that Career and Leadership Development offered services for after graduation for grad school or getting jobs beyond your first job, so that was pretty interesting,” she said.

All the vendors and services had the goal of informing students who visited the fair about their services. The Alumni Association had special Athens-related gifts like Passion Works flowers in OHIO colors and personalized Athens blocks.

“I think once you graduate, it’s kind of this fabulous whirlwind that you’ve planned so long and hard for, so I think it’s nice to know once you’re out and everything’s settled, there is a way to reconnect,” said Ali Wills, assistant director of strategic partnership. “There is a network out there to help you job hunt or to help you make new friends in a new city, so I think it’s a nice way to help students off. To know that yes, you’re done with your education at the University, but it’s going to be here for you from here forward.”

Nationwide Insurance had information on discounted policies offered to faculty, staff and alumni. The Multicultural Center had information on the Kushinda/Ritos De Pasaje, which is held the evening before gradation for African, African-American and Hispanic/Latino graduates. Oak Hall Graduation Apparel offered a special discount on Ohio University doctorate regalia and had undergraduate caps and gowns available for students to try and have their picture taken. Even Rufus was involved and roamed the ballroom wearing a graduation gown.

King hoped to have a few hundred students stop by this year, and as an incentive to those who did, students who went to each of the booths and filled out a special ticket were entered to win an iPad mini. In addition, some of the other booths gave students the chance to enter their names in a drawing for a gift card to Bobcat Essentials.

“I think it’s really helpful and I think we’ve tried to do it in a fun way that students really want to come and attend and find out all the information they need to know,” Kind said of the event.

The Grad Fair offered a variety of information for seniors who are preparing for their big send-off this spring.

“It’s mixed,” Mead said of her feelings toward graduation. “I don’t really want to leave, but I’m excited to move on.”