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Traditional Candle and Rose Ceremony in desperate need of volunteers

Sandra Alvarez and Matt Earle graduated last year and participated in the Candle and Rose Ceremony. This graduation tradition is set to take place May 6, but is searching for more volunteers.

By: Anna Anguiano, Staff Reporter

The Candle and Rose Ceremony first took place in 1928, and now many years later it’s facing a shortage of student volunteers. Since 1928, seniors have chosen to end their undergraduate years with the simple exchange of their candle for a rose. This year, the ceremony that symbolizes giving truth and knowledge to an underclassman, while they present you with a rose that represents beauty, love, and compassion will take place on May 6.  While many volunteers are needed to oversee the event, senior Vanessa Mendiola is determined to carry on this tradition for various reasons.

“I like to be involved in a lot on things on campus, but when I was told that nobody was interested in the ceremony I was especially worried that this event wouldn’t be successful,” Mendiola said. One of the reasons she volunteered to be the head of the committee, which oversees budgets, deadlines, and meetings, is more personal.

“My grandfather does not have a lot of time left and it has always been his dream to see me graduate college. I graduate next winter but it is unlikely that he will be with my family and me at that time,” Mendiola said “I look forward to the success of the Candle and Rose ceremony so that I can give him the honor of embracing this stepping stone by my side.”

Other seniors and underclassmen have not found a significant reason to volunteer. The committee has various open roles and opportunities needed to plan the event including a student in charge of program design selection, speech audition selection and a volunteer coordinator. In addition, speaking and design roles exist in which a student has to audition. All these positions need to be filled.

Associate Dean of Students Norah Collins believes the lack of student volunteers stems from tight schedules.

“I think seniors have a lot to balance during their final semester of college between classes, research projects, honors projects, employment, in addition to job or grad school searches,” Collins said. “It is hard to add one more thing to an already busy schedule.”

While the Candle and Rose ceremony is not in danger of being cancelled, there have been elements and deadlines that are missing due to the lack of volunteers. Twenty-five to thirty students are needed to volunteer during the actual ceremony.

Some students think there should be other ways of informing the seniors of what the ceremony is and what is missing.

“I was a rose last year and I like what it originally represents to give a candle to a younger generation,” Evangelina Covarrubias said. “Yet, I don’t think a lot of people know about this symbolism and ceremony and therefore other types of advertisements are needed.”

Mendiola said she will continue visiting classes and asking professors to spread the word in an attempt to get all the volunteers and help the committee needs.

“The success of this tradition is due to the commitment of the students,” Collins said. Collins says the Dean of Students office has taken an active role in the planning but the student influence is still needed.

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