The last day of class for each spring semester is typically met with a lively campus and dozens of in-person events to celebrate the closing of an academic year. This year, student leadership is adapting this tradition to keep students safe.
On May 5, the Carolina Union plans to host a '90s-themed LDOC celebration, with a mix of virtual and in-person events to round off the semester. Students can tune in to a '90s LDOC playlist, curated by the Carolina Union Activities Board to accompany all activities.
Some of the scheduled activities include socially distanced yoga on Hooker Fields and high ropes cap and gown photoshoots for seniors at the Outdoor Education Center.
CUAB will also hold events prior to LDOC, such as a popcorn giveaway on May 3 and a drag queen bingo event on May 4.
CUAB has worked with campus organizations such as Campus Recreation, Carolina Athletics, Carolina Housing, the Office of Sororities and Fraternities and Student Life and Leadership for this year's celebration.
Sarah Fitzgerald, who works in the Office of Student Wellness, said the LDOC celebration was organized by groups of four committees intended to promote student well-being, including marketing, programming, risk-reduction and assessment committees.
“This has long been in existence at UNC to help with risk-reduction strategies and make sure that there’s programming going on that day to make sure students are safe and well,” Fitzgerald said.
The purpose of LDOC, Fitzgerald said, is to promote student wellness during a stressful time of year.
“We wanted to set up some structures that can actually help with the stress and anxiety that comes with this time,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s always important to center self-care during this time.”
To help with self-care, CUAB is hosting events such as a Stress Less Fest with the Residence Hall Association, during which students can pick up food and painting supplies for a virtual paint-along session.
Kierra Hyman, a senior majoring in global studies and Hispanic literature and culture, said she was excited to hear that the Carolina Union was planning activities for LDOC.
Hyman said her first few LDOCs as an underclassman were fun experiences because she got to see the campus come to life.
“The Pit is so exciting on LDOC, and especially if it's a sunny day with all the people out and the music," Hyman said. "It’s a good time.”
Lauren Kane, a junior and the Special Events Committee chair for CUAB, worked specifically on planning giveaways and events for LDOC to make the day special for students.
Kane said that much of the difficulty of organizing a virtual LDOC celebration came from being unable to see the students on campus and how the crowd is doing.
Despite adapting to a virtual LDOC, Kane said the last day of the spring semester is still an important milestone to celebrate for seniors.
“Something that my team works on is finding ways to celebrate with low risk. We try to find events that don’t promote the use of substances or alcohol or anything like that,” Kane said. “So we try to find safe ways to celebrate these milestones that you reach in your life, like being a senior on LDOC.”
Hyman hopes to celebrate her last LDOC on campus by dressing up, getting lunch and meeting some friends. For her, the last day of class — as a senior — is a moment of nostalgia and transition.
“It’s kind of like a wrapping up of all these different chapters that were open during this period of time,” Hyman said. “I honestly think college is definitely one of, if not the most, transitional periods of life, and one where you live to grow as a person.”
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