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Capilano University gears up to hold drive-in convocation ceremonies in June

The North Vancouver post-secondary institution has held livestream ceremonies for its two convocation periods since the pandemic started last year
Capilano University in North Vancouver will host three days of drive-in convocation ceremonies in June 2021.
Hoping to offer the class of 2021 something a little more robust than just a livestream when they don tassels and gowns next month, Capilano University is gearing up to hold a series of drive-in convocation ceremonies for spring graduates.

Twelve “car-vocation” convocations are scheduled to take place at the North Vancouver post-secondary institution over three days from June 9 to 11, the university has announced.

The convocation ceremonies will take place at the university’s upper parking lot, behind the Nat & Flora Bosa Centre for Film & Animation.

In order to comply with public health orders due to the pandemic, only 50 graduates may attend each ceremony in a vehicle with members of their household or core bubble.

Four ceremonies will be held per day over the three days and people must stay in their vehicles for the duration of the events.

When COVID-19 struck last year, schools from elementary to post-secondary were forced to alter how they delivered education as well as re-think how they’d go about honouring their graduating classes.

Like basically all universities last year, CapU offered a virtual convocation for spring graduates in 2020. In February of this year, winter grads were similarly offered a virtual ceremony in addition to being able to pick up their convocation packages in-person and take a few physically distanced photos.

The goal for the upcoming June ceremony is to offer graduates an alternative to virtual events that captures the spirit of convocations prior to the pandemic while still maintaining a COVID safety plan, according to Julie Vanderyagt, the school’s manager of university events.

“We want to try to give as a close to an actual ceremony as they would have had with some kind of in-person component where they feel duly celebrated,” said Vanderyagt. “I think it’s really important. It gives them something physically to do with their friends and family to celebrate.”

For those graduates unable or not wanting to attend the drive-in, each ceremony will be viewable as a livestream event as well.

For students without a vehicle or driver’s licence but who want to attend the drive-in, the university is collaborating with EVO car share to support the experience by offering a vehicle seating area to view the ceremony.

Once graduates arrive in their vehicles, they’ll park in front of a stage adorned with Capilano University’s legacy canoe and the ceremony will feature some live speeches, as well as a pre-recorded address from a student speaker and some jazz band performances. Professional photos will be offered to be taken of graduates and their guest inside their vehicles.

And for graduates really revving for a good time, a car decorating contest for each ceremony is also being organized, with more details to come, added Vanderyagt.

With most other schools opting to go virtual once again this spring, including Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, CapU is hoping its approach next month will allow many graduates to celebrate in more of a memorable fashion, said Vanderyagt.

“We’re the only ones that we know of, at least in Western Canada, that’s doing this,” she said.

Registration is required to attend a drive-in convocation ceremony. Visit the university’s website for more information or to register.