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Special Events, Projects, Programs, or Campaigns - Bronze

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Virtual Graduation Celebration for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s Class of 2020
Virtual Graduation Celebration for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s Class of 2020

Virtual Graduation Celebration for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine's Class of 2020
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Faced with not being able to have an in-person graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 due to the pandemic, we had to adapt to a virtual ceremony. We weighed the pros and cons doing a live one on Zoom, pre-taped, or a blend of both. We ultimately decided we wanted something that was beautiful to watch and memorable. Our team worked hard over a month period to record everything and edit. While working on this project, we as a community were amidst such uncertain times; however, being able to assist with creating a virtual event to showcase our 2020 graduates allowed us to shift our focus from “pandemic anxiety” to caring for and celebrating our students who would begin their medical career during a pivotal historical moment in time.

What was the most impactful part of your award-winning entry?
Being able to give the students and their families something they could cherish during uncertain times. It felt good to give students a virtual ceremony that still felt personal and unique. At VTCSOM we pride ourselves on our close knit culture. Being able to help keep that alive in a tough, disconnected time was rewarding.

What is one thing you learned from this experience?
It is possible to create a virtual experience that is still very personable. We plan to get the perspectives of graduates on video in coming years, whether in-person or not, because we were able to capture memories and perspectives while the students are nostalgic. The students' families also appreciated being involved, so we've adapted that into other virtual events this year, like the White Coat Ceremony.

What challenge did you overcome?
The greatest challenge was logistics to film the 45 graduates separately, following safety protocols for both them and our content teams, as well as all of the speakers. We had to do so in a relatively short period of time. It was a long month of preparation and work, but we felt it was worth it in the end.

Contact

Alison Matthiessen, acordell@vt.edu

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