GradFest 2000 designed to ease stress during graduation time

Liz Bogut

Hundreds of seniors wandered through the University Field House on Wednesday in search of everything from caps and gowns to business suits.
GradFest 2000, an event coordinated to provide students with the essential services needed for graduation, began Wednesday morning and will run today until 3 p.m.
The event includes exhibits from at least 50 different businesses and provides seniors with the opportunity to pick up their caps, gowns and graduation announcements.
Kari Weilding, marketing manager for University Bookstores, founded GradFest seven years ago.
“I would see students in the bookstores that would get so frustrated trying to get everything ready for graduation,” Weilding said. “I wanted to make it easier and more fun for students to graduate.”
Weilding said GradFest has grown every year since it began. More than 4,700 graduates visited the two-day event last year.
Darin Schlosser, a 1999 University graduate, remembers visiting GradFest as a senior. This year, Schlosser came back to work at an exhibit of his own.
“GradFest really gets you prepared for graduation. It’s a great opportunity for both students and businesses,” Schlosser said.
Morrie Katz, an employee with Nate’s Clothing, has had a booth at the exhibit for the last four years.
“Students need suits for interviews after they graduate, and we give them a great discount. We get a good amount of business from this event,” Katz said.
The event, sponsored by University Bookstores and several businesses, included information from job-placement services, graduation services and local businesses. One exhibit sponsored a drawing for a free trip to Europe.
Aleshia Fitzgerald, College of Liberal Arts senior, came to GradFest to get the essentials.
“This was convenient because I really needed to get my cap and gown,” Fitzgerald said.
For another senior, GradFest was an opportunity to get a handle on graduation.
“I am a little bit less clueless now then I was before I came to GradFest,” said Teri Schmid, an agriculture senior.

Liz Bogut covers faculty and welcomes comments at [email protected]