While many restrictions have been lifted over the past year, CWU has once again decided to hold the graduation online in pursuit of keeping the CWU students, their families, and the faculty safe.
Lauren Zeutenharft, director of executive events and protocol, gave details on CWU’s plans for spring graduation, the ongoing pandemic leading to another virtual commencement.
Although the ceremony will be held online, many changes have been made since last year’s graduation with the extra time allowing for more thorough planning. There will be five virtual commencement ceremonies, one per each college campus, all of which will go live online 9 a.m. June 12.
The school has collaborated with companies this year to add extra features such as the option for students to add photos, videos and special messages along with their names, degrees and honors on their slide. The files themselves will be open for access several months after the graduation for students to save, download and share their personal clips.
Similar to last year, there will be recordings of the CWU president and several other speakers as well as grad packages which will contain diploma covers and commencement books.
This year, the school has increased opportunities for students to get as much out of the experience as possible by making grad box pick-ups all across the state starting in May. Graduation t-shirts that were originally only sold in person will be sold online and mailed after purchase. Students graduating spring 2021 will also receive a commemorative tassel.
Zeutenhorft said while there will be no regalia required this year, it will still be available to purchase along with other graduation merchandise in CWU’s Wildcat Shop.
Dillon Clare, one of many students graduating this year, said that he is not opposed to the idea of a virtual commencement ceremony. After attending CWU for three years following time in running start, Clare said he has been happy with the school and understands there has been a lack of options due to the pandemic.
“I think ideally everybody would want it in person,” Clare said. “But I understand you can’t really help things. I don’t know all of the regulations, all the hoops they’d have to jump through.”
Having already gone through long graduation ceremonies in the past, the convenience of a virtual ceremony and the lack of regalia cost is also seen as a benefit to Clare.
“I didn’t think I was gonna plan on doing the graduation ceremony. If it was virtual and didn’t really cost anything then … I would take part in it,” Clare said.
Zeutenhorft said CWU is doing its best to make every celebration possible but understands that even with all of the accommodations, the ceremony is still not in-person.