(Photo by Jake Alvey)
(Photo by Jake Alvey) Jo Koga, a campus bookstore employee, talks to a student at a Grad Fest booth on Tuesday.
20144-1 Eva Kor (kaitlynjohnson) CMYK-11
(Photo by Jake Alvey) Jason Nelson unpacks boxes of caps and gowns at Grad Fest in the Shepherd Union Lair on Tuesday.
20144-1 Eva Kor (kaitlynjohnson) CMYK
(Photo by Jake Alvey) The biannual Grad Fest’s banner hangs in the Shepherd Union Building.

The Weber State University Grad Fest started relatively slowly as students arrived this morning, talking to other students and the people hosting booths.

The biannual Grad Fest is designed for students to meet their graduation needs in one convenient location. It will be held in the Shepherd Union Building Atrium today and tomorrow from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Grad Fest was previously held in the Lindquist Alumni Center. However, this year it was moved to the union to be similar to other universities that host Grad Fest in their bookstores.

“We had excited graduates who are looking forward to graduating this year — we really saw students bleed purple today,” said Melissa Leonard, program coordinator of Alumni Relations. “We love being a part of this capstone in students’ lives. We’re just here to help make it an memorable experience. We’re really proud to be a part of this event.”

Many booths were displayed along the hallways of the Shepherd Union Building, encouraging students who now have their bachelor’s degrees to come back and earn their master’s degrees as well. Various scholarships and tuition waivers are available from either WSU and other organizations. As one booth’s sign put it, “Pursuing a master’s degree is not only an advancement in your career, but an enhancement in your life.”

WSU offers 11 master’s programs, which are flexible for students to take part in. Graduate programs run as a typical two-year degree offered on campus or online.

“This (Grad Fest) is a big celebration for students,” said Tim Eck, director of the Campus Store. “This is to help get the students excited about their achievements and all that they worked to accomplish all these years that they’ve attended Weber State.”

The usual graduation merchandise is available for students to buy while they are picking up their caps and gowns. Students can find graduation announcements, class rings, stoles, diploma frames, alumni products and association memberships, additional lunch tickets and more at the Grad Fest.

The color of the tassel students wear during their graduation depends on what academic field they receives their degree from. Any time during the Grad Fest, students can pick up their cap and gowns and find out what color of tassel they will receive.

Graduating students also have a free photo opportunity from Grad Images, which takes pre-graduation photos that grads can later buy for business cards or graduation invitations.

Jostens is the company that supplies students with the gowns and caps they normally wear on the big day.

“We help the students prepare  for their graduation day,” said Jeff White, sales representative of Jostens. “We hope to give the student more than they bargained for . . . that they are not only excited and dressed well for the event, but they will remember it for years afterwards.”

White has been the major Jostens sales representative for practically every university, college and high school along the Wasatch Front. He said Jostens help students out with issues that may arise, whether they forget to order a cap or gown or need help pressing and ironing the gown.

“Just getting my cap and gown made this feel more real to me, like I’ve actually accomplished something important,” said Chelsea Parish, graduating this year with a degree in social work. She said she can’t wait to mail out her invitations to her family and friends, and is counting down the days until she can go to the graduation ceremony and receive her diploma in the mail.

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