09 Feb Virtual Graduation Ceremony: 5 Tips To Make It a Successful
Virtual graduation ceremonies and commencement events are a reality of the new normal, in the post-Covid-19 age. This is to say that it will be a while until universities and colleges can go back to the traditional way of organizing this event, where thousands of students gather around a makeshift podium in the sports arena. Although those events had their own charm, virtual celebrations are just as special and even more convenient for colleges. Experts believe that colleges might stick to virtual ceremonies even when it would be safe to hold large gatherings.
With the sudden onslaught of the pandemic in early 2020, universities scrambled to keep up and adapt to the abrupt change of doing things virtually. However, a few months in, colleges were already seen settling down and getting used to online learning scenario, and organizing virtual events and celebrations. Graduation ceremonies were no different. Universities all around the world put in the effort and care to make this important milestone special for the students, keeping intact the essence of the graduation.
Most universities might have had a handle on conducting virtual events by now, but there are still many that are trying but struggling in a few areas. Besides, unexpected glitches are not uncommon during such events. These circumstances can delay the event or cause interruptions that might lead to dissatisfaction among students and the colleges alike. However, it is possible to minimize the hiccups to almost none with some preparations. Let’s take a look at some things that a college needs to pay attention to while preparing for a virtual graduation ceremony.
Colleges must start preparing for the graduation ceremony months before the D-day. This has been the norm for years when celebrations would be held on-campus, but it should be done for virtual ceremonies as well. Sometimes, it may be necessary to start the planning even before the usual time. Virtual ceremony is a fairly new thing and it will take time to understand what will work and what will not. This platform can actually open up the doors for creative solutions as there are no limits on space or time. Furthermore, even if the number of students is the same, the virtual gatherings will have much higher viewership as they won’t be bound by location.
Colleges must make lists, revise lists and further finalize an itinerary for the event. They should take into consideration the time it would take to get the students who are now learning remotely to get involved and make their submission. Since participation from a large number of students is important, it would be wise to give enough time and some leeway when it comes to deadlines. Basically, having enough time and planning a lot in advance will be the key to have a smoother graduation ceremony.
College life is all about the camaraderie, bonding between friends, peer groups, lectures and group projects. It is about engaging in activities that strengthen relationships, teamwork and see leaders emerge. These activities are also connected with the traditions that the university has followed since ages. These traditions can be anything from cultural events, some whacky ritual or fun competition or race. For example, the Wooden Hoops race at Wellesley College or where architecture students at Notre Dame build over-the-top 3D models on their mortarboard.
These activities inculcate a sense of togetherness among the students and make them feel a special connection with the university. Although on-campus activities may not be possible, colleges should ask students to do the traditional activity wherever they are and send in videos and photos of the same. A compilation of these little snippets posted on social media platforms will definitely portray the creativity of the students.
Ship Graduation Kits
This is probably the most important aspect of the virtual graduation ceremony. Colleges must decide in advance what should go into the graduation kit after researching the market and taking into consideration the best items for students to cherish. Not only do the colleges have to get the kits prepared and customized but also shipped to all graduating students across the globe. This is why it is important to ensure that there is enough time for this activity. It is essential that all students receive their kits before the graduation day so that they can have the complete feel of the occasion.
A typical graduation kit contains the graduation cap, gown and the tassel. Universities include a hood or an honor cord and other items according to their discretion. These items have a long history and have now become important symbols of commencement day.
Universities should incorporate social media platforms in their plan as this will help create a meaningful experience for everyone involved. Ask the families and faculty to post congratulatory messages and takeaways addressing the students. The students can make similar videos talking about their experiences at the universities and their future plans. The top management of the universities, head of departments, the dean and others should also make similar videos addressing the students and imparting some crucial advice that has an impact on the students.
Besides this, universities can ask family and friends of the students to make videos of the celebrations and post it on social media. These celebrations may take place after the graduation day, but lively photos and fun videos will add to the whole feel of the occasion. Ask the students if there is some specific, whacky tradition in their family when someone graduates. It should be educational for everyone to know how families of different cultures and backgrounds celebrate this milestone.
Focus on Technology
You have done all the preparation, you have shipped all the graduation kits, and you have received tons of videos and photos from the students well before the set day. So, now it is time to see what all you can incorporate in the ceremony. Create a compiled video or presentation to show students’ and parents’ points of view. Make your own videos to encourage students and involve yourself in the activities that you would have normally done. Rather than making videos where the faculty talks continuously, try and make it fun by doing some activity. Maybe some faculty can play a cool inspiring song or build a quick model or some such thing.
Prior to the day of the graduation ceremony, decide on which platform would best suit the kind of ceremony you have planned. Make sure understand the platform or even do a mock run, so that you are prepared for the event. If you think it necessary, do the ceremony in smaller batches. Know what works for you best and do it perfectly so that students can feel special and have a memorable event.
With this new normal, universities have had to work hard to hold these ceremonies. Hue has been partnering with universities all around the world to help them make these events successful. We at Hue understand how important it is to ensure that all students receive their graduation kits well in advance. We help universities build an effective graduation kit, customize and personalize it and also ship it all across the globe while keeping on schedule.
To know what items can go into the graduation kit check out our merchandise section. To know more about our customization and shipping services write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.