According to university officials, Long Beach State’s commencement ceremony this May will be a “vehicle caravan” honoring the classes of 2020 and 2021. The contactless car parade will allow graduates to reserve a 30-minute window in March to be honored sometime from May 18 to 21.
Graduating students began expressing mixed feelings toward the alternative ceremony after administrators officially announced via a campus-wide email last month that CSULB will be hosting a hybrid event in lieu of the traditional, in-person commencement. With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in the state, the university felt it was necessary to move forward with a plan that doesn’t include congregating in large groups.
Jeff Cook, associate vice president of strategic communications, said that the celebration will feature two stages set up on campus, one by the “GO BEACH” sign and one by the Walter Pyramid. Students will be appointed a time slot that is dependent on their graduation year and their department.
“My understanding is it will be segmented both by year as well as the college and program you’re graduating from,” Cook said. “So both classes will be honored at separate times.”
The university’s plan still requires official approval from the city’s health department.
To accommodate both classes of graduates, Conoley said she expects the ceremony to span about a week, and students will be able to register in March, at no additional fee, to receive their time slot. She said that students will have their names read aloud and be honored via a jumbo screen displayed with photographs.
“There’s still going to be a big screen, the student would send in pictures and stuff ahead of time and we’d be up there so there’s a chance to take a picture of yourself on the big screen,” Conoley said. “And we have some of our folks there on stages to then congratulate them.”
According to Cook, officials are also toying with the idea of giving students recognition on personalized online pages.
“I think they’re experimenting with some models about photos and quotes and such that you can upload to your page too, so it will be a hybrid experience,” Cook said.
More details including confirmation of approval from the health officials will be updated on the commencement page by the end of the month and sent to graduates’ student email, according to the university’s website.