On November 28, 2017, the stage will be set for graduating seniors in the communication program in the Vonnie Borden Theatre at Southeastern Louisiana University. The National Organizational Communication Association (NOCA) plans to ensure that the Tuesday evening ceremony in D. Vickers’s Hall is successful and memorable for the seniors and attendees.
Each semester, graduating seniors who are in their last semester enroll in the “Professional Seminar” course (COMM 498) and must pass it to graduate. In order to be eligible for the capstone course, communication students must have 100 or more hours and have completed six prerequisite courses (COMM 151, COMM 159, COMM 211, COMM 215, COMM 391 and COMM 453). The last aspect of COMM 498 is the Colloquium in which the seniors receive a pin and present their theses that they worked on over the entire semester.
Over the past few semesters, NOCA has taken over the responsibility of preparing and hosting the ceremony in which seniors receive their pins. The ceremony gives NOCA members a real-life experience of what a potential job in the organizational field may be like—planning an event.
Noah Smith who is the current president of NOCA, said that in the past couple semesters, Dr. Mirando has constantly challenged the organization to step up and attempt to come up with new ideas to make the it better. Ideas such as new possible locations, times and itineraries are in discussion at NOCA meetings.
Smith even came up with the idea of having custom NOCA button-up and polo shirts made so that the members of the organization can look as professional as possible when hosting the event.
His role in the ceremony is fundamental, being that he is the speaker who reads the names of the seniors to be pinned. This is easier said than done because the pressure of correctly pronouncing each name rests on his back. To make sure that happens, before the ceremony begins he confirms with each senior how he or she wants his or her name to be pronounced.
Behind him onstage will stand Darious Robertson. Robertson is charged with the duty of giving the pin to each of the senior’s pinner. In the past, the pinner has usually been a parent or relative of the student or a professor chosen by the student.
“My job is important, and I take it seriously,” he said. “In the past the pins were small and harder to handle, so I am glad that the ones from last semester were bigger.”
For future ceremonies, members of NOCA wish to be able to either pick the design of the pin or allow the graduating seniors to pick it.
One thing that NOCA keys in on is the placement of chairs onstage. Smith wants to make sure that nobody is hidden behind the body of a person in front of them.
Smith will be graduating next spring, so he wants to make sure the members of the organization feel prepared about this semester’s ceremony so that next semester they will have things under control. He expects the COMM 498 course to have most of his attention throughout the semester, so his involvement in the organization may lessen.
“NOCA will be having officer nominations and an election soon,” he said. “Depending on the nominations and the votes of the members, we may be introducing a new president possibly.”
Bailee Bishop is the current vice-president of the organization and is one of the graduating seniors that will receive a pin and present her thesis on the 28th. Although she will not be able to help NOCA host the event because of that, she is insistent on ensuring that NOCA is prepared.
“At our past meetings I have been making sure to bring up the Colloquium because it is not something that can be planned for last minute,” she said.
Currently, she is the only member of NOCA who is in the capstone course, but she is going to be huge in helping NOCA come up with ways to improve the ceremony in the future. She plans on receiving feedback from her peers to see if they recommend any changes that would make the experience better.
Last semester, several members of NOCA attempted to sell rose pins before the ceremony. These pins were aimed towards the parents because the members wanted the parents of the seniors to be able to have their own pin that signified that their son or daughter was being honored. This opportunity did not turn out to too successful, but NOCA’s members hope to try a different idea at this semester’s ceremony.