UVA Today turned to Banks and his trusted team, the ultimate Finals Weekend pros, for their top tips for making the most of this meaningful weekend.
Banks’ Best Bets
- Arrive early. Finals on the Lawn start at 9 a.m. Entrances will open at 7 a.m. under the fair-weather plan.
- Pack a raincoat. Final Exercises will happen on the Lawn, rain or shine. Walking the Lawn is a tradition that our students look forward to. We will only move the ceremony indoors to John Paul Jones Arena if it is deemed unsafe to be outdoors with things like thunder, lightning, high winds or other dangerous conditions. During my graduation in 2003, we experienced nearly two inches of rain during the procession and the ceremony, but we walked on the Lawn! The last class to have their ceremony moved was the Class of 1976. The ceremony was held at University Hall, which is no more.
- Bring a clear bag. The University’s clear bag policy is in effect for Valedictory Exercises and Final Exercises.
- Balloons are festive, but please limit them to one! And to protect the environment, do not release balloons into the air. Instead, donate your balloon! Volunteers with UVA’s Office for Sustainability will collect balloons on the lower Lawn to donate to children at UVA Children’s and at local child care centers.
Banks also polled his team members and colleagues for more ideas:
- Wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty to Final Exercises, and save your high heels and favorite pair of shoes for school and department ceremonies. Walking down the Lawn in high heels is more challenging than you expect, thanks to your heels sinking into the ground with every step. If it rains, the Rotunda steps become really slick, and you’ll likely walk through mud.
- Cell service could be a little spotty due to so many people being on the Lawn for Final Exercises. Prior to arriving to the Lawn, establish a time and location to meet your family when Final Exercises concludes.