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Distance likely to leave some international students with extra tickets for Ohio State’s graduation

Cody Cousino / Multimedia editor

As an international student and an only child, Lanzi Li isn’t stressing out over having enough guest tickets for Spring Commencement.
Li, a fourth-year in city and regional planning, said her parents will be the only members of her family attending the May 5 ceremony.
Li’s parents are making the nearly 11,000 mile trek from Qingdao, China, to watch her receive her diploma.
“Some of my (American) friends are coming, too,” Li said.
But with only a few guests, Li found herself with a surplus of the six tickets allotted to each student.
“I did have one or two, but some of my friends already asked me for extra tickets,” she said.
However, many other graduating students are worried about the ticket limit imposed on friends and family planning to attend graduation. While the ticket limit was increased to six from four, some students have said that still isn’t enough to accommodate their guests.
President Barack Obama is expected to deliver the commencement address to roughly 12,000 graduates in Ohio Stadium. Because of renovations to the stadium, added security measures and the record number of students graduating, a limit was placed on the number of tickets each student would be permitted to have.
Due to student demand for more tickets, the university is attempting to accommodate requests for more. Students who have applied for graduation will receive an email on March 26 with a survey that will assist the university “in further understanding the demand for tickets” according to the OSU commencement website. The survey aims to identify if providing additional tickets for graduates will be possible. Students will be able to reserve their tickets in mid-April, according to the website.
While some domestic students are scrambling to get more tickets, Li’s situation is not rare among OSU students far from home. Other international students have found themselves in the same situation.
James Zhang, a fourth-year in economics and finance from Beijing, said Chinese students typically only have one or two parents come to their commencement.
“I’d say it’s 99 percent of the cases,” he said. “(It’s) because traveling expenses are so expensive.”
Zhang is only using one ticket for his aunt from San Francisco but said he has not decided what he’s going to do with his extras.
“If my close friends ask for them, then yeah I’d give them away,” he said. “But some suggest to sell the tickets, because the (asking) price is over hundreds (of dollars).”
Zhang also said he has seen a lot of ticket requests on Facebook but has not responded to any.
Other international students are finding ways to make sure their tickets are used.
Vickie Chen, a fourth-year international student in communication, said she does not want to give any of her extra tickets away and will use all of hers.
“If I sell a ticket, I don’t know who is going to get (it),” Chen said. “If I don’t know the person, I’m not comfortable with it.”
Chen’s parents are flying in from Shanghai for Spring Commencement. She is also inviting two professors she calls her mentors, as well as a few friends from school.
Chen thinks that hearing Obama’s speech is a good reason to come, but “all in all, it’s (her) graduation ceremony.”
“I don’t want (him) to be the only reason people come. I want it to be private, at least for me,” she said.
Chen said international students will probably have a lot of extra tickets.
OSU has a lot of international students from China, where Chen said many young adults come from small families.
“(They) are usually the only child in the family,” she said. “Thinking of the distance, not every mom and dad will come to the ceremony, so there should be a lot of extra tickets.”

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