Pipe and Drape
The primary agent of change is what is described in events planning lingo as "pipe and drape." Tall velvet panels — in a lovely, rich, presidential blue — hang all along the room and route. They both soften and ennoble the place.
Instead of being crammed with students sharing outlines, discussing torts, sipping coffee, the room is now filled with black chairs in neat rows. In the back, camera crews are setting up shop. Every department — events, facilities, audio visual, communications, public safety — is doing its part to make sure the speech goes off without a hitch.
We have become a stage set, an empty theater waiting for its star.