GradFest eliminates hassles for students

Michelle Moriarity

Hordes of students gathered Wednesday at Coffman Union’s Great Hall in preparation for commencement at the University’s fifth annual GradFest.
GradFest promises graduating seniors “No Hassle for Your Tassel” by creating a one-stop source for students to apply for graduation, conduct financial aid exit interviews, and order caps, gowns and graduation announcements. In addition to these services, opportunities are available for students to prepare for graduation parties and job interviews, and examine career options.
New opportunities available at this year’s GradFest include a complimentary one-year membership to the University’s Alumni Association as well as a class banner provided by the Alumni Association for all 1998 graduates to sign.
The Star Tribune, for the first time, has a booth at the festival for new graduates to post their resumes online. Thu Lien Rogers, a Star Tribune business development specialist, said the booth is popular with the browsing students.
“People are getting more and more aware of the power and reach of the Net,” Rogers said.
Brian Catrine, a senior in speech communication and human resource development, said GradFest was a good place to take care of his graduation needs.
“I like the fact we can do everything in one place,” he said.
Although Catrine said conducting his financial aid exit interview was his main reason for attending GradFest, he added that the complimentary merchandise was a welcome perk.
Greg Steffen, a graduating senior in architecture, agreed with Catrine.
“I’m a student,” Steffen said. “I’m looking for free stuff.”
While perusing the aisles, students can sample cakes and party platters from Rainbow Foods, soft drinks from Coca-Cola, and help themselves to pens, buttons and candy from various booths.
Students can also apply for credit cards, enter drawings for gift certificates and a free class ring, and have free photos taken of themselves in a cap and gown by Chappell Studio Photography.
GradFest is sponsored by University Bookstores and University Relations. Bookstore officials estimate this year’s total GradFest attendance to be 3,600, about half of all graduating seniors.
GradFest continues today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.