FAQ: Everything you need to know about CARmencement


Mercy Sosa

Sacramento State holds a CARmencement graduation ceremony in the illustration above. The celebration will take place on Friday, May 21, 2021 for student graduates of 2020 and 2021. Graphic created in Canva.

Michael Pacheco and Erick Salgado

Sacramento State held an information session for students and guests on the CARmencement ceremony and President Robert Nelsen addressed a student petition that called for students to walk across a stage Friday via Zoom.

Sophie Esquivel, child development major, created a petition that called Sac State to allow graduate students to walk across a stage at the CARmencement ceremony. 

“All we are asking is for the administration at Sacramento State to hear us out,” said Esquiviel in her petition description. “We deserve to walk across a stage. We deserve to be recognized better than just a drive through campus.”  

Cely Smart, Nelsen’s chief of staff, didn’t disagree that students deserve more but said the current conditions of the pandemic doesn’t make a walk across a stage and large outdoor gatherings possible.

“It’s not that we don’t think students deserve to walk across the stage, we do, but we’re still in a pandemic,” Smart said. “We still can’t have large gatherings. If people are leaving their car there is no such thing as no risk. People leaving the safety of their own vehicle, you’re around other people.”

Nelsen also weighed in on the petition.

“I’m extremely proud that you started this petition, because it says that you care, you care about being a Hornet, you care about being part of our Hornet family and so I am proud of you for doing that,” Nelsen said. “But I also know what it’s like to have someone die, and to risk any of our students in any way at this point is too much.”  

Nelsen said Sac State will try to make certain that students and their families will be kept safe. 

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The State Hornet compiled frequently asked questions by students from the information session. 

(upper left to right) Gary Rosenblum, Gladys Glaude, Sarah Billingsley (middle left to right), Cely Smart, Ed Mills, Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen,(lower left to right) Steve Perez and ASL interpreter Cindy Farnham attend an information session for students and guests on the CARmencement ceremony as panelists on Friday, March 5, 2021. Mills said if students need to adjust their gown size they can email ASI for some options. Screenshot taken via Zoom.

Question: How do I RSVP for CARmencement?

Answer: Registration is due on April 1 at noon through the Student Center, according to Gladys Glaude, director of university events. Those who participate will receive a Hornet Grad Kit, which will include programs for the event and other memorabilia. 

Those who do not wish to participate in CARmencement can still register to receive their Grad Kits also on April 1. Those who wish to participate in the Virtual Celebration, which will feature graduate slides with pictures, personal messages and a livestream of CARmencement, have until April 26 at 11 a.m. to register.

Q: When will CARmencement take place?

A: CARmencement will start on Friday, May 21, starting from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. More dates will be announced depending on the turnout for registration Glaude said. 

Q: How long will the CARmencement ceremony take?

A: Each car in participation will be estimated to take about one hour to go through the route that is outlined.

Gladys Glaude explains the CARmencement route via Zoom on Friday, March 5, 2021. The route starts in the corner of State University Drive and College Town Drive.

The route starts in the corner of State University Drive and College Town Drive, leading through a series of checkpoints with volunteers and police officers throughout campus, ending in a split in the route with two different exit points.

Q: Will the CARmencement ceremony be only in English?

A: Yes. 

Q: What size vehicles are allowed?

A: According to Glaude the allowed vehicle size for the event is a height of 11 feet and a length of 20 feet.

Q: Where can students order caps and gowns?

A: You can order your cap and gown through the Associated Students Inc., website. If your size is not available, you can contact ASI directly via email and they will help you.

Q: Are students allowed to schedule graduation photos before graduation?

A: Yes! Although campus is depopulated, it is open so that you may take your graduation photos, so long as you are mindful of others, Smart said. Students can also arrange a photoshoot with Sac State’s Alumni Association. 

Q: What is a grad pass? 

A: The Grad pass is given during the registration process Glaude said. It will also be scanned at the CARmencement as a form of individual recognition. 

Nelsen emphasized that it is not just to count students in, it is to queue the students when their name is being said. The grad pass also makes sure that the photo of the student will be projected on screen along the route when their car is there.

Q: Are students and guests allowed to be in the back of a flatbed truck during CARmencement? 

A: “That is a no. That is against the road laws of California. We will be turning people away if you are in the back of a truck, so please don’t do that, it is not safe,” Smart said.

Q: Are students and guests allowed to attend the CARmencement in a limousine?

A: As long as the limousine is between 11 feet in height and 20 feet in length. “We look forward to shorter limos during the parade route,” Smart said.

Q:  Are there any restrictions to what we can and cannot decorate our car with?

A: “Just follow the Hornet Honor Code, it’s on the student affairs web page, and I think that will give you an idea,” Mills said.

Q: Will there be restrooms along the route?

A: “Yes, absolutely,” Smart said.

Q:  Is there a route student residents can take that will be moving out during CARmencement to allow them to get out of the dorms and stay out of the way?

A: The road closure will not affect students getting in and out of housing, if they use the north side of campus, Glaude said.