There is so much to love about graduation. Don’t tell the boss, but I actually enjoy working the weekend to go behind the scenes during commencement because there’s just nothing like it. It is the day when joy is evident, energy is palpable, and hard work is met with triumph.
After all, THIS is what we do. It is the fundamental mission of our university— to prepare our students to complete this chapter in their lives and transition successfully to the next.
And our job in the Office of Communications is to make commencement an event our students and faculty will never forget. Last year, we added another requirement to our role— make it a memorable social experience that transcends place.
This evolution began in Spring 2010 when we streamed the ceremony live over the internet for the first time and live-tweeted using the #UALRgrad hashtag so that friends and family, who couldn’t be present for the ceremony, could still experience the occasion across the miles.
This year, we did it again, and since we had a little bit of experience on our side, we added a few more social media bells and whistles. The idea was to create a space for interaction whether you were physically present in the Jack Stephens Center or virtually present online.
See the archived video of the ceremonies on the Commencement Experience web page.
What resulted was an aggregation of the different methods of participation that surrounded the video live stream, including a Facebook guestbook and live tweets. More than 700 users watched our live broadcast on May 21, and since then, approximately 670 have viewed the archived videos from each ceremony.
Also new, we asked grads and family members to submit photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and had staff correspondents behind the scenes and on the arena floor, uploading photos to Flickr.
So tell us what you think. What more can we do to extend the graduation experience? In the meantime, check out all of the photos on our Flickr page and watch archived video from each of the May 21 ceremonies.