Oxford Trip Moved to Same Day as Commencement


Dr. Brandon Marsh

The Oxford May Term course is set to depart on the same day as the 2022 commencement ceremony, affecting seniors who plan on taking the trip. Other May Term courses are considering date changes to allow seniors to attend, but the Oxford trip is not able to do so. This photo was taken during a previous Oxford May Term trip.

Katelyn Harrison, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – With Bridgewater College’s announcement from President David Bushman about a late start to the Spring 2022 semester, commencement was moved forward to May 7, 2022 – which is the same day of departure for students going on the Oxford May Term trip. 

According to  Department Chair and Associate Professor of History and Political Science Brandon Marsh, who is also the coordinator of the Oxford travel course, the date of departure for the trip cannot be changed, therefore seniors going on the trip cannot attend commencement. Marsh believes other May Term courses are considering a change of date to allow seniors to attend graduation. 

“After that announcement came out, I emailed the provost to let her know what our dates were, and to remind her that we have a certain window of housing at Oxford, so we couldn’t necessarily move it,” said Marsh. 

There are about seven seniors signed up to go on the trip, which according to Marsh is about half of the group going. In previous years, the Oxford trip has left before commencement as a majority of those attending were sophomores and juniors. This year is different, because the trip was originally scheduled for May Term of 2021, but then Covid-19 created travel restrictions. Therefore, the seniors planning to attend this year initially thought they would participate in the trip at the end of their junior year. 

Marsh said that when he contacted the seniors, they were disappointed with the commencement date change but they still plan to go on the trip. 

“I was kind of upset that they hadn’t considered the May terms when they pushed back commencement,” said senior Ben Hancock, who plans to go on the Oxford trip. “Because that’s a really big deal for everyone, so I was pretty upset.” 

Some seniors attending the trip would prefer the date of commencement to be moved so they can attend. 

“So it’s a really hard question, because optimally I would like commencement to just be pushed forward, what is it like 3 days or something, that would allow for everyone to do that,” said Hancock. “The important part of commencement is seeing all your friends and saying goodbye to them or whatever, so pushing it forward would just allow that to happen.” 

Other seniors attending the trip want to have a small ceremony before they depart since they will not be at the larger commencement ceremony. 

“I’m still going to Oxford, we’re hoping we can work with the administration to do some small little ceremony of some sort before we go,” said senior Ben Chatterton, who is going on the Oxford trip. 

Marsh says he hopes to have some sort of ceremony for the seniors attending the trip as dates do not seem moveable. 

“This is something where I’ll kind of see what things look like and what conditions are prior to leaving. I’ll ask the administration about it, I think we can certainly do something” said Marsh. “As far as roping in the larger college community, there’s a lot of moving parts so we’ll have to see. I certainly plan to do something; I’m just not quite sure what at this point.”