UPDATED 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday to reflect corrections from the UWT:
The University of Washington Tacoma will welcome students back to campus this Friday with a convocation, but it will not be a traditional ceremony with academics in long robes.
Instead, school organizers plan a parade through downtown, ending in a campus-wide community reception and business fair. The public is invited to participate in the processions, which will proceed along
six five routes downtown starting at around 1:45 p.m.
“Our convocation reflects UWT’s mission to work in concert with our community in all things, including welcoming our new students,” chancellor Debra Friedman said today in a news release. “By symbolically starting their journey to campus from six of our closest partners, students will begin to understand that the whole community is committed to helping them achieve their educational dreams. And, frankly, it’s a lot more fun than a bunch of talking heads in an auditorium!”
This convocation, the school’s first since 1999, will reflect the urban university’s role in the community as both educator and driver of economic development.
It’s not clear why the convocations stopped after 1999, just nine years after the school’s founding, said UWT spokesman Mike Wark.
“The tradition just didn’t carry on. It must not have been connecting with students and the needs of the time,” he said. “Now we have 4,000 students and our chancellor has introduced this event, this new tradition, designed to reflect this urban-serving campus.”
More details from the news release:
People are encouraged to wear purple and gold to celebrate UW Tacoma’s Husky spirit. Each of the six parade groups will be accompanied by musicians, including Native American drums, a middle-school drum line, a kazoo band and more.
Students who wish to participate in Convocation must register online at tacoma.uw.edu/convocation before Friday, Sept. 21.
The processionals will depart starting at 1:45 p.m. from the Al Davies branch of Boys & Girls Club, the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, KeyBank, Tacoma Art Museum, the Museum of Glass
and Native Quest. A map of the processional routes and addresses for each location is available online at tacoma.uw.edu/convocation.
Welcoming remarks will begin at 2:25 on the staircase in the center of campus. The community fair begins at 3 p.m. Downtown Tacoma museums, retailers, eateries and more will have tables at the fair, with food and products available to sample or buy.
Tables at the community fair will showcase local business and nonprofit organizations that wish to sell products and provide students with information about their products or services.
All types of businesses are welcome. For more information or to reserve a table, email email@example.com or call 253-692-5753.
Wark said Tuesday afternoon that tables are no longer available. All 40 tables have been reserved, he said.