Olivia Authur (she/her) walks past a graduation banner last month on the OSU campus. (Photo illustration by El Guo)

Commencement Day is a yearly event to congratulate and celebrate Oregon State University graduating students. However, as many families travel into town to celebrate with their new graduates the city of Corvallis can become very busy.

This year’s commencement day will take place on June 17, at Reser Stadium. According to the OSU website, the gates will open at 9 a.m. and the ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m, which means that the OSU campus as well as parts of Corvallis close to campus will have far more people than usual. 

“It felt like freshman move-in day, super packed.” said Jordan Vanaken, a mechanical engineering major who graduated in 2022. “Also, I did not attend commencement because of how many people there were.” 

Jordan also advised those attending the commencement ceremony to park north of Harrison Boulevard, where parking is free, and walk.

“We attended two graduations in 2016 and 2018,” said Tim Smart, a father of two OSU graduates. “Family also attended from Eugene so about 6-8 people each year. In general, the traffic was 30 min or so with delays once we got off (Interstate 5).” 

Smart said that for the elderly and those with disabilities, parking can be difficult, as the walk to commencement is, for most families, around half a mile from where they parked, which for some can be quite a journey. 

“As for food and restaurants, there are a few choices so reservations are critical if you are celebrating in an establishment. As for us, we opted for the BBQ and outside space for celebration. Games, camping chairs, and good food hit the spot after each graduation we attended,” Smart said.

According to Google Maps, the most traffic heavy areas in Corvallis are the downtown areas, including 2nd Street, 3rd Street, and 4th Street. Additionally, some of the downtown cross connecting roads such as Jefferson Avenue, Madison Avenue, and Monroe Avenue, and roads like Harrison Boulevard, 14th street, and Western Boulevard can become heavily congested. 

Construction will also be taking place on Van Buren Bridge, the main eastbound connection for Corvallis to I-5.

“All of our work will still be off of the roadway during that time,” said David House from the Oregon Department of Transportation. “No lanes on Van Buren will be closed Saturday, June 17.  Traffic flow shouldn’t be any different than what everyone is used to.”

Finally, while some may be worried about the commencement day traffic, others, like Aidan Connell, a fifth-year construction engineering management major, don’t even consider it an issue.

“Unfortunately, I really don’t, most of the time I tend to be outta here before graduation/commencement,” Connell said. 

Orange Media Network

Orange Media Network is a student media organization at Oregon State University with more than 400 students creating content for television, radio, podcasts, the student newspaper and various magazines. Follow Orange Media Network on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Miles Green is a news contributor for The Daily Barometer at Oregon State University