May 10, 2013 2:56 PM by Danielle Lerner
TUCSON - The University of Arizona Police Department is expecting more than 15,000 people at Arizona Stadium Friday night. Combine that with a bigger, outdoor venue and it is easy to see why so much planning is required.
"We're doing everything we can to make it an enjoyable atmosphere," said UAPD Sgt. Filbert Barrera.
Final preps were in full swing Friday morning but campus police have been prepping for months to make sure this year's commencement goes according to plan. For the first time since 1972 the big event is heading outdoors. No big changes in store, but security at the stadium will be tight. Similar to what you might see during a home football game.
"They may encounter some security measures getting into the stadium," said Sgt. Barrera. "Be patient, follow instructions of security and police officers on scene."
Only small bags, like diaper bags and fanny packs will be allowed inside after they are searched. Flowers are allowed, and so are signs, as long as they do not have any type of stick attached. Also no alcohol, weapons or noise makers.
"They will be told to either throw it away or they can take it back to their car and secure it," said Sgt. Barrera.
More cars on and around campus could lead to more traffic issues, so the school is asking everyone to park either north of University, or south of Sixth Street.
A new concern this year is also the weather, so police are reminding people to stay hydrated, especially since the stadium opens at 6p.m. for the 7p.m. ceremony. They recommend wearing sunscreen, even bringing a hat, just to be safe.