EDITED April 18, 2020: Since its original publication, this article has been edited for clarity and accuracy.
Douglas plans to look for alternatives to celebrate students
By Atiba Nelson, Staff Reporter
After the 2020 Summer Olympics, Burning Man, and the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Douglas College’s summer 2020 graduation can officially be added to the list of events upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the summer 2020 semester is scheduled to go ahead as planned, the college announced its plans to suspend its summer 2020 graduation ceremonies.
“We understand many of our graduates have been looking forward to celebrating this moment with family and friends; however, the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is a top priority,” read the press release posted both to the Douglas College Student Services website and the COVID-19 information and resources webpage on April 9.
The move to suspend graduation may not come as a surprise to graduating students, as the first step in the Provincial Health Officer’s recommendation to fight against the planet’s newest coronavirus was cancelling large gatherings. One week earlier, one of Douglas’ partner institutions, Simon Fraser University, cancelled their spring 2020 convocation ceremonies “to ensure the safety of the SFU community.”
SFU invited spring 2020 graduates to celebrate with their fall graduates in October, and also gave the members of the spring class of 2020 the option of celebrating online in mid-June, although no details were provided as to what a virtual celebration would entail.
Several American post-secondary students from different institutions have found new ways to celebrate the major milestone that college or university graduation brings. University students have created replicas of their respective post-secondary institutions in Minecraft—a multiplayer video game where players are able to build a 3D world—and are holding an “in-game” ceremony for the class of 2020 from hundreds of different universities. Currently 706 students from 278 institutions have signed up.
The University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George is hosting a virtual graduation on June 26, and will schedule an in-person ceremony once it is considered safe enough.
Douglas may provide graduating students with similar options, as the college mentioned that they were seeking alternative ways to recognize Douglas grads and would share more information at a later date.
Students who are eligible to receive a graduating award this summer have until April 15 to apply for graduation online by completing an application and sending the PDF to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The college states that they will mail parchments to students who meet the requirements of their programs.