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Guest Etiquette

The conferring of an academic degree is a tradition that dates back to the 12th century and is regarded as an important rite of passage for students and their families. Commencement is a time for celebration and recognition of your academic success, and the faculty and staff of California State University San Marcos congratulate you!  We ask that you remember this long and respected tradition and approach the ceremony with the proper decorum and respect.

Graduate Gifts

Leis and bouquets are permitted and will also be available for purchase inside the venue.  It is your responsibility to present these items to your student either before the ceremony in the guest seating area before they line up, or after the ceremony.  We ask that if other gift items including balloons, signs, banners are brought in, they do not obstruct the view of other guests. 

Wrapped gifts will not be permitted inside the venue.

Venue Opening

Venue gates will open one-hour before the ceremony start time.  The venue must be cleared after each ceremony for a security sweep before graduates or guests will be permitted to enter for the following ceremony.

Guest Seating

Seating is on a first come, first serve basis.  Students are asked to invite a maximum of 10 guests so that there is enough seating for every student to have their friends and family present. 

We ask you do not save more than 10 seats for your party.  Any saved seats must be forfeit 15-minutes before the ceremony start time.  

Bag check

Bags, backpacks, duffle bags, wrapped packages/gifts, etc. will not be permitted inside the event venue. 
Purses are permitted and are subject to search, which may result in delays entering the venue.  We strongly recommend guests and graduates leave all belongings behind in a safe place.

Alcohol and smoking policy

CSUSM is a smoke and tobacco free campus. The University also observes a strict no-alcohol policy.  Commencement graduates and guests are prohibited from bringing tobacco products and alcoholic beverages onto the premises.

Prohibited Items

  • fireworks
  • bottles (water bottles are ok)
  • beach balls
  • cans
  • pets
  • drugs or alcohol
  • noise makers
  • confetti

University faculty, staff, and security will strictly enforce this policy. Guests are not permitted in the graduate seating area or on stage.