SXU Concludes Semester in Unique and Special Ways
Despite the transition to remote learning in response to COVID-19, Saint Xavier University's (SXU) spring semester concluded with a bang. In an effort to continue to provide students with the kind of transformative education and support services they're used to and celebrate their incredible achievements, faculty and staff went the extra mile to make remote events unique and special.
SXU's Scarlet and Gray Awards honor outstanding student leaders, organizations and achievements in service and extracurricular involvement. The ceremony was moved to a virtual format in response to the pandemic, and SXU's Center for SUCCESS and Student Life made sure award winners were acknowledged in a big way. With hundreds of people coming together to tune in and watch the live awards, a sense of community and pride was present. As a special surprise to students, the virtual program featured celebrity cameos ranging from actors and singers -including Nickelodeon actor Drake Bell and R&B singer Montell Jordan- to wrestlers and Olympians -including WNBA star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie- all who delivered personalized cameo messages to award winners.
"We knew that we had to maintain a celebratory feel, bring together campus partners to connect students back to our SXU family and include something that was special enough to still give the event that large-scale awards feel," said Alexa Zaharris, director of Campus Life. "We hope that during the virtual ceremony, students felt that connection to campus again and know that we value and honor their wonderful talents and achievements," added Joshua Bogaski-Baugh, associate director of Student Development.
Criminal Justice Professor Tracy Crump, Ph.D., honored inductees of Alpha Phi Sigma, the criminal justice honor society, in a unique and special way. Dressed in full regalia and a face mask, Crump personally and safely delivered gift bags that contained students' induction cords and certificates. Crump knocked on student doors and then quickly sprinted away. When they opened their doors to find their packages, students were incredibly surprised and emotional at her efforts, shedding tears and sharing smiles.
SXU will hold a future in-person Commencement ceremony, but celebrated graduates remotely May 9. Families and friends across the state and beyond gathered virtually to congratulate graduates on their incredible achievements for this daylong remote celebration. Faculty and staff dressed in full regalia and spoke from various places on campus and inside their homes to wish graduates well and send them off with special messages through a compilation video. The community also came together to congratulate one another by using social media. Graduates shared photos using the hashtags #WeAreSXU, #SXUalumni and #IDidIt, and they also shared their festive and creatively decorated caps.
Faculty and staff also celebrated students by hosting various other virtual awards and video montages. The Graham School of Management (GSM) held its Beta Gamma Sigma honor initiation via video and the Chemistry department sent graduates off with a special video compilation featuring personalized messages from faculty to students. The Residence Hall Association (RHA) held their Greatest of All Time (GOAT) Awards via video montage, with each speaker filming from inside their homes, complete with fancy attire, mock microphones, and award envelopes.
"The SXU community has come together in spite of the challenges associated with COVID-19 to celebrate one another as a true learning community. Our school is blessed to have such dedicated students, faculty and staff, and I am grateful that we are able to appreciate our collective talents and passions together. I thank everyone for working to ensure that our traditions are upheld regardless of distance," said President Laurie M. Joyner, Ph.D.
SXU could not be prouder of its faculty, staff and students for their perseverance in rising to the challenges posed by the pandemic. Their creative and unique efforts have created lasting memories for the entire SXU community.