Editorial: Class of 2020 says goodbye to the Carrier Dome at senior send-off

Editorial: Seniors say goodbye to the Dome at class of 2020 send-off

Seniors promised a piece of the roof as they spend one final night together in the Dome before it closes for renovations.
Published: February 27, 2020
Students had the oppurtunity to mingle with another and with Otto the Orange.
Students had the opportunity to mingle with each other and Otto the Orange at the Dome send-off Thursday night.

SU football coach Dino Babers kicked off Thursday night’s senior send-off in the Carrier Dome with a reminder that, “The Dome is a special place.” This year’s graduating class will be the first to not have commencement ceremonies held in the building since its opening in fall 1980.

Home of SU athletics, the Dome has become a staple of the university and the local community. The building officially closes this Sunday for renovations that include a new steel roof, a hanging scoreboard, and ADA-compliant accessibility improvements. Last night’s senior send-off commemorated the final time graduates will be in the Dome all together.

Popular outside vendors, including Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Pastabilities, Tully’s, King David’s, Red Chili, and Insomnia Cookies, provided free food to students. Those of age even received two alcoholic beverages, like White Claws or hard cider, with the $2 purchase of a wristband.

Current seniors and soon-to-be alumni mingled with friends and took pictures in the photobooth while enjoying a variety of performances from campus organizations throughout the night. Black Reign Step Team, Kalabash Dance Troupe, Otto’s Empire Belly Dance Troupe, Orange Pulse, Creations Dance Company, and Outlaws Dance Troupe took to the main stage to perform their routines in front of hundreds of fellow students.

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Food was available at the Dome send off, including Insomnia cookies.

Despite the celebration, many seniors still feel deprived of what could be considered a rite of passage for SU students, graduation in the Dome. “This is nice what they’re doing tonight, with all the food and drinks, but we’ve paid for the Dome for four years just like everyone else. We deserve to graduate here. It’s wrong and I’m upset about it,” said James Pezzullo, a Newhouse senior.

Violet Cuerdon describes the Administration’s decision to begin renovations prior to graduation and not hold commencement activities in the Dome as heartbreaking. “When I toured at Syracuse, they told me you start and end your college experience in the Dome. You start with new student convocation and then you end with commencement. It’s really messed up I’m not ending in the Dome,” said the College of Arts and Sciences senior.

Some students even speculated that Pete Sala’s surprise announcement would be bringing back graduation in the Dome. Although this wasn’t the news, the much-anticipated statement from Sala, University Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer, informed graduating students they will be given a piece of the Dome’s current roof. He encouraged them to come to commencement rehearsal later this semester to receive the gift.

Sala said this year’s graduating class, “has endured the most construction on campus,” during their four years. It’s true, SU looks slightly different now than it did when the class of 2020 began their journey as freshmen in fall 2016. The university built the Barnes Center at the Arch and the National Veterans Resource Center, is renovating the Schine Student Center and now the Carrier Dome, and funded various other projects to attempt to improve the campus over the last four years.

As a gift, the class of 2020 will all recieve a piece of the Dome roof.
As a gift, the class of 2020 will all receive a piece of the Dome roof.

Although the Dome is not expected to reopen until September, the show must go on. Commencement weekend takes place from May 8-May 10. Many schools and colleges will hold individual convocation ceremonies at Manley Field House. Plans for the official commencement ceremony include outside on the Quad or inside Manley Field House, depending on the weather.