10 Things You Need to Know About Commencement 2021

Posted by Kaitlyn Hart on May 11, 2021

Commencement 2021 is here, and due to COVID-19, it’s going to look a little different this year. Even though I’m a junior, I’m so incredibly proud of all of my senior friends for getting through this insane, virtual year, and I can’t wait to cheer them on as I watch the livestreams! Here are some of the most important things to know about Commencement this year, whether you’re attending in person or online.

Commencement 2021 will take place from May 13-16

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Each school will have multiple ceremonies, each lasting about a half an hour, so make sure you attend the right ceremony! For more info on when specific ceremonies will take place, check out the schedule of events.

You can invite two people to Grad Walk

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All students participating in Grad Walk can invite two guests to attend the ceremony in person. The student's name will appear on the tickets, but students should make sure that the names on the Ticket Request Form match the names of the actual guests on the day of your Grad Walk. If the guest’s name on this form does not match their proof of vaccination or their proof of a negative COVID-19 test, they will not be allowed to enter.

You need to have a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination to attend

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Both students and their guests must show proof that they don’t have COVID-19, or that have have been fully vaccinated. You can find out more information on the requirements and what qualifies as proof here. If you show up to the Events Center without any of your proofs or documentation, you won’t be allowed to enter the venue until you test negative. Again, if you arrive on the day with no proof of negativity, or proof of being fully vaccinated, you will be asked to go to the on-campus testing center for an antigen test. Then, only if time allows, you can attend your Grad Walk ceremony. So bottom line, it’s better to plan ahead and not have any last-minute surprises. Also, if you know that you or one of your guests will need a test, make sure to reserve an appointment ahead of time at the testing center! Please read all of the guidance and make sure you understand all of the requirements.

You'll have to wear a mask for most of the ceremony

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You will have to keep your mask on throughout the entire Grad Walk, including when you walk across the stage. However, right after you walk across the stage, you will have the opportunity to have one photo taken in front of a Binghamton University backdrop without your mask on. Also, unlike previous ceremonies, after you walk across the stage you will not return to your seat; you will exit the building. Make sure that you don’t bring anything in with you that you’ll have to carry as you walk across the stage, like purses or bags! You can’t return to your seat to retrieve anything, so make sure you bring as little to the ceremony as possible!

Students and guests will park in specific lots

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Once you enter the campus via the main entrance off the Vestal Parkway, there will be signage as well as police and parking staff directing you where to go. Students need to park in Lot G and report to Lot G1 to check in. Guests will be directed to other parking lots near the Events Center. They will then check in outside the Events Center and have all of their “proofs” validated before entering the venue.

Those who can’t make it can watch the livestream

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If you’re walking and can’t invite everyone that you would like to attend your ceremony, they can always watch through our livestream links! Every ceremony will be livestreamed, so make sure to send your family and friends this link so they can celebrate with you, even if they can’t be there physically.

It will be a hybrid event

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There will also be a virtual ceremony for any students who don’t want to participate in the in-person ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 13! All graduates had the opportunity to participate in Grad Walk if they filled out the application in time! The Virtual Conferral ceremony will show all the names of graduates who filled out the Application for Degree before March 25. So if you filled it out, make sure to tune in!

You don’t have to participate to graduate

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If you decide that you don’t want to participate in Grad Walk, that’s totally fine! The ceremony doesn’t determine whether or not you actually graduate. If you don’t want to participate in Grad Walk or watch the Virtual Conferral ceremony, you can still graduate, as long as you’ve applied for your degree successfully!

The doctoral hooding ceremony is a little different

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The doctoral hooding ceremony will look a little different this year. It will be like the other Grad Walks, however, doctoral graduates can still invite their advisors to the ceremony to cross the stage with them, hood them and get professional photos.

You can take photos at the Peace Quad!

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Even though the ceremony will look different this year, don’t forget to participate in the Binghamton University graduate tradition of taking photos at the Berm, located on the Peace Quad near the Couper Administration Building!

Kaitlyn Hart is an intern in the Office of Media and Public Relations, and a junior double-majoring in English Rhetoric and Political Science, with a minor in Anthropology. She loves to write, watch movies and spend way too many hours of the day on TikTok.

Have questions, comments, or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.