Senior Regalia Initiative Rewards Class of 2020 Graduates
Under the pressure of a pandemic and its economic fallout and nearing graduation from Dominican, Kimani Anderson ’20 and Salena Herrera ’20 decided to create a Senior Regalia Initiative to help reward their classmates and needy families.
With help of Gaby Bermudez, assistant director of Student Engagement, and Elena Brown, president of Associated Students of Dominican University (ASDU), the two seniors were able to provide free caps, gowns, and tassels for 89 members of the Class of 2020. ASDU allocated $5,000 to incur the cost of the initiative and the University bookstore staff worked over a period of three weeks to process, package and ship all bundles.
They are close to distributing all caps, gowns, and tassels to Senior Regalia Initiative participants.
“We came up with the idea, because we realized that with the shelter-in-place order a lot of people were being laid off from jobs, resulting in them having a financial strain,” says Kimani, a biology major who minored in chemistry and psychology.
“We already knew there was a financial need at Dominican and most likely furthered with the effects of COVID-19. Hearing feedback from our peers about them struggling through these times, we decided to come up with some type of initiative. This would then provide a way to help those in need make ends meet.”
Kimani and Salena, both biological sciences majors, first met and consulted with Gaby Bermudez. Then they launched the initiative through social media and students emails, asking each classmate to complete and submit a Google form requesting cap, gown, and tassel.
The timing of the initiative made perfect sense in an imperfect time.
“While Dominican transitioned to being online – along with graduation – students still deserved to be able to celebrate in style,” Kimani says. “As senior senators, we saw this strain that our class was facing and wanted to be able to help those students. By creating an initiative where undergraduate seniors could get their regalia paid for was the simplest thing we could have done in such dire times we are facing.”
The feedback has been nothing but positive.
“With our senior year ending so abruptly, the Senior Regalia Initiative from ASDU allowed me to receive my cap and gown in time to feel my accomplishments and celebrate without the added expenses during this time,” said Sepanta Alamooti ’20, a biology major with a chemistry and philosophy minor.
“I just want to thank you and ASDU for putting this together for me and my classmates,” said Humanities major Leeann Francisco ’20. “Wishing I could give you all a huge hug right now, but I hope to be back on campus if we have an in-person commencement later on.”
The Class of 2020, which participated in a virtual graduation ceremony on May 16, has been invited back to campus for an in-person Commencement tentatively scheduled for Oct. 9-11, which is Convocation and Family Weekend at Dominican.