From May 9-12, thousands of students will close a chapter of their lives by ending their educational career at UB and receiving their degrees. Students will embark upon the next journey of their lives after attending one of the 17 commencement ceremonies.
Before graduation, students need to check a few things off their to-do lists.
Cap and gown
By the time of commencement, approximately 2,600 cap and gowns will be sold for bachelor's graduates and approximately 800-900 will be sold for master's graduates, according to Debbie Davis, the general merchandise manager at the university bookstore.
All graduates can purchase their caps, gowns, hoods and tassels until May 12 at the bookstore, according to UB's "Countdown to Commencement" website. While doctoral students have the option of renting their caps and gowns, undergraduate and graduate students do not.
Advertised as "environmental friendly," the ensembles are made out of fiber from forests, and the fabrics are completely decomposable.
Andrew Levine, a senior electrical engineering major, said the biodegradable nature "just means it's OK to spend mad cash and throw it away?"
Special Events, in conjunction with the university bookstore, made the decision to change to environmentally friendly academic regalia, according to Sonia Marinaccio, the coordinator for University Commencement, the ceremony specifically for College of Arts and Sciences undergrads. The purpose of the change was to be "more 'green," Marinaccio said.
Associate's or bachelor's caps and gowns cost $83.25 plus tax, while the price for master's graduates is $94.80 plus tax.
Levine said the process of buying his cap and gown was easy, but he did not like how expensive it was. Although it's tradition, Levine said, "The idea of paying so much for something we'll only have to use once in our lifetimes is obnoxious."
Michael Nuzback, a senior accounting major, is borrowing his brother's cap and gown, a UB alumnus from the class of 2010 - all Nuzback needs to purchase is his tassel.
When registering for the commencement ceremony, students have the option of obtaining guest tickets. Due to the capacity of Alumni Arena, where the graduation ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences - the largest ceremony of commencement weekend - will take place, graduates are allowed a maximum of four tickets each.
Overflow seating will be available in Center For the Arts; the ceremony will be shown live on the Mainstage Theatre screen.
Not all ceremonies have a limit on guest tickets. Levine, who will be attending the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences commencement ceremony, did not have a limit to the number of tickets he could obtain.
"I have five people coming to my graduation and I would feel terrible telling one of my closest relatives that they wouldn't be able to sit and watch the commencement," Levine said.
Levine understands that students who had a ticket limit for their ceremony would be upset because, to him, "Commencement should be made as easy as possible for the students and having a limit [on tickets] really kills that idea."
"It's a culmination of your hard work at UB and you have paid enough to attend UB [that] you should be able to have more people allowed at your commencement ceremony," Levine added.
Sign the buffalo
All graduating students have the opportunity to leave their mark on a piece of UB history - the buffalo. So far, 516 students have signed the painted fiber buffalo, which currently resides in the Student Life office in 150 Student Union.
This 9-year-old tradition is open to any student who is graduating this school year, whether he or she is an undergraduate, graduate, master's or law student.
Every April, Student Life is delivered a replica of the brass buffalo outside of the Center For the Arts in a box the size of a smart car, according to Kerry Spicer, the associate director of Student Unions and Activities. Spicer said the people in the office then decide on a theme and an informal name for the commemorative animal.
The 2013 seniors are signing "Billy," whose theme is school colors.
The buffalo is then painted by students and housed in 150 Student Union until senior week, when it is wheeled to all of the activities - such as senior rose day, the senior brunch and graduation.
The previous buffalo are scattered around campus, including in Alumni Arena, Capen Library, South Lake apartment complex, Ellicott Atrium and the downtown medical campus. Last year's buffalo is still residing in the Student Life office because they are still searching for a "home."
The 2013 class buffalo will be kept in the Student Life office lobby for the year until they find Billy a home.
"We put them out to pasture, so to speak," Spicer said. "We ask around campus and see if there is an office who is interested in housing the buffalo. Many people are excited about it because it's a nice decorative piece. Then students can come back and see their class' buffalo."
Billy is taking autographs until graduation and through the summer for any graduate who would like to leave his or her mark somewhere on UB's campus.
According to the Office of Institutional Analysis, 4,818 undergrads are graduating from UB this year.
Levine believes it's logical to separate students by school and degree because he wouldn't want to sit and hear everyone in the entire school graduate at the same time.
Still, Levine isn't particularly excited for the commencement ceremony.
"I know I should be excited for commencement because it sort of symbolizes the culmination of one's hard work at UB, but I honestly feel it is more for my parents than anyone else," Levine said.
While he's excited to actually graduate and finish the "tough course load that engineering offers," he believes the commencement ceremony is "a bit superficial."
Nuzback is excited for the "iconic moment" of graduating from college, even if he considers sitting through the ceremony a nuisance.
"With all the hard work that I put into my degree, I feel that it's validated the fact that I am actually graduating with a degree and [the commencement ceremony] makes it feel official," he said.
Nuzback's immediate family - his mother, father, brother and grandmother - will be attending as well, and he believes they will be proud to see the start to his career.
He's also sure they will love the fact that the ceremony marks the end of them paying for his undergraduate tuition.
April 29 is the last day of classes, and graduation ceremonies begin the following week on May 9.