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Commencement planners are trying to get the word out to graduates, their families and friends, and others who will participate in the 11 a.m. May 1 event that they must arrive early.
Extra security and a higher-than-normal participation by graduates will require thousands of people to make their way through security in a few hours, so leaders are asking everyone to be at Michigan Stadium no later than 9 a.m. University and Development Events released details of what will take place that morning, including entertainment for graduates and their guests while they wait for the ceremony to begin.
Graduates must go to Elbel Field, beginning at 6:30 a.m., to receive security instructions for entering the stadium. At the field there will be a free continental breakfast, photos and the chance to offer a shout-out to family and friends via video or Twitter.
Graduates should arrive at Elbel Field no later than 9 a.m. so they will have plenty of time to get instructions, take part in the activities at the field and make sure they can move through security at the stadium before gates close for the formal ceremony. Seating priority for the graduates once inside the stadium will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once the graduate seating area on the field is filled, graduates will be directed to seating in the stands.
All graduates must have a ticket and M-Card and those who do not bring these items will not be permitted entry to the graduate seating area on the field.
The stadium gates will open to guests at approximately 6:30 a.m. All guests should plan to arrive at the stadium no later than 9 a.m. to make sure they can clear security before the gates close for the formal ceremony. Concession stands in the stadium will be open for guests who wish to purchase breakfast foods and beverages.
Security for this year’s commencement will require that everyone (graduates, families, staff, public, etc.) pass through metal-detection devices similar to those at airports. This will take some time, so guests are urged to arrive at the stadium no later than 9 a.m., and bring their patience, as lines most likely will be long.
As on football game days, bags of all sizes (including purses and fanny packs) are prohibited in the stadium. This policy will be strictly enforced. Exceptions for medical reasons may be granted as long as the guest has a prescription or written authorization from a medical professional. Permitted items that will not fit in the guest’s pockets, including medicine, medical equipment and diapers for small children should be placed in a clear plastic bag no larger than a gallon size. Additional prohibited items for this commencement include ALL bottles and containers, Leatherman-type tools, air horns and umbrellas. All electronic equipment, including cell phones and digital or video cameras, which are permitted, must be presented to the screening officers in a “powered on” mode. Any permitted items brought to the stadium will be searched.
• Binoculars, no cases
• Pagers and cell phones
• Small cameras and hand-held video camera, no cases
• Blankets and rain apparel
• All bags, including purses, fanny packs, etc.
• Aerosol and spray cans
• Leatherman-type tools
• Air horns
• Flags and flag poles
• Signs, banners, balloons, balls and inflatable items
• Alcoholic beverages
• Coolers, thermoses, cups, bottles, cans, flasks
• Camera tripods
• Pets or animals (assistance animals are permitted)
• Weapons: firearms, knives, pepper spray
• Hazardous materials
Enhanced security for this event means that several roads and parking lots near the stadium are not available for use. In addition, the number of graduates participating this year has increased dramatically, so there will be even more competition for space on the roadways, in parking spots, and on shuttle buses. Commencement participants should carefully study the maps found on the commencement Web site to determine the best routes and parking locations.
Participants are urged to check the Web site for more detailed information and to keep up with updates that may be posted up until May 1.
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