3 Ways to Use Video in Commencement Celebrations

Video played a critical role during this year’s Commencement festivities to connect graduates with the university community, and with their families and friends.

Commencement is my favorite time of year. It has no doubt looked and felt different during the pandemic, but the pandemic could not diminish the joy, sense of accomplishment, and pure celebration that is all wrapped up in Commencement. CSU hosted a virtual celebration for graduation for our spring and summer 2021 graduates, while also providing an in-person Walk Across the Oval experience earlier in the spring.

Here are three ways we infused video content into our Spring 2021 Commencement celebration.

Formal ceremonies

Commencement in and of itself is a formal event at Colorado State with a rich history of decorum. The university’s Commencement planning team strove to bring the feeling of a traditional, formal, celebratory ceremony to graduates in a virtual format. This spring’s ceremonial videos included remarks from senior leadership, a Commencement speaker who is a notable alum, college-specific messages from graduating students and department heads, live musical performances, and slides congratulating every member of the Class of 2021. Individual ceremonial videos were created for all eight colleges and graduate school. These videos were the centerpiece of the celebration and hosted on YouTube and embedded on the university’s Commencement website.

Narrative video

Commencement is a seminal event that reaches and touches the CSU community far and wide. CSU Social’s Hannah Tran dug into three stories of graduating seniors to learn what earning their degrees meant to them. She produced an intimate, short narrative video that featured three first-generation students and their journey to graduation. “The Class of 2021 spent a lot of time navigating a difficult year in more solitude than those before them. They endured a year of adaptive learning, as well. I felt it was important to capture their reflections during this historic moment in time,” Tran said. To hear the struggles and triumphs of the Class of 2021 through these students’ perspectives and experiences was moving. We hosted the video on YouTube and also shared it broadly across our social platforms including Facebook and IGTV.

Instagram Reels and IGTV

Earlier in the spring, the university hosted an in-person ceremonial Walk Across the Oval for graduates that was live streamed. This was an occasion for graduates to participate in a Commencement celebration while adhering to public health guidelines and protocols. It was a special and memorable opportunity for grads to come together and celebrate during a historic moment in time. Hannah captured the joy of the day by creating an Instagram Reel and a piece for IGTV depicting happy moments that will last a lifetime.

In a year unlike any other, we had to adjust the way we celebrate our grads but, in many ways, the time for celebration was more meaningful than ever. Congratulations to the resilient and forever stalwart Class of 2021!