As with many things in 2020, Castleton University's convocation had a different look this year.
Due to the limitations put in place for large gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, convocation premiered on YouTube. While convocation typically takes place in front of a packed Casella Theater, the messages from Interim President Jonathan Spirio, Dr. Andre Fleche, and student Adam Murray provided a familiar tone.
Convocation opened with a socially distanced version of the Alma Mater set in the pavilion, led by Dr. Sherrill Blodget. President Jonathan Spiro followed the performance with his opening remarks.
"Convocation is a time-honored ritual in which we all gather together at the beginning of the semester to welcome everyone and officially launch the new academic year," Spiro said.
And, while convocation is a time-honored ritual, it doesn't have to be without a little humor.
"Convocation comes from the Latin root convocatus, meaning '15-minute video that costs nothing to produce and takes the place of a really expensive barbecue,'" he said. (For the record, it actually means "assembled.")
Dr. Fleche welcomed President Spiro into his new role and greeted students to a new semester at Castleton.
"It's also my pleasure to welcome the entire Spartan community to campus, wherever in the world you might be," Fleche said. "I have to admit, it's hard not to be together. As we all know, this University prides itself on The Castleton Way, which includes close personal relationships, student-faculty interaction, and the support of a caring community. I'm happy to say that we're still living and working by those commitments."
Adam Murray, VP of the Activities Board of Student Government Association, described SGA's functions and offered some advice for his fellow students.
"One piece of advice for any freshman or anyone who goes here is to get involved. Self-plug, join CAB, join Congress. It's the easiest way to get involved ... but if you're not into that, you can join any of your academic programs, you can get a work-study job, there are countless ways to get involved on campus, and you are bound to meet at least one person that you really click with."
Convocation closed with a segment that highlighted the academic opportunities at Castleton.