Graduation ceremonies going viral

Should commencement be live-streamed?

Over the last five years, Florida International University has been attempting to draw more students and families into its commencement ceremonies via the Web. It began with a simple video stream of the main ceremony, overseen by a technical support staff of one: social media coordinator Betsy Soler.
But this year, Soler gave a battalion of IT and marketing students specific instructions to take FIU commencement viral.

Each interdepartmental ceremony was posted on YouStream, but Soler’s team’s main focus was creating as many free, professional-quality Facebook-, Flickr- and Twitter-ready images as possible. Every student had the opportunity to pose for as many photos as they wished, and all of the photos featured the FIU logo prominently. With nearly 4,300 students walking, the idea generated an enormous boost to FIU’s Facebook presence.

“I wanted to give the graduates something to take home. We offer paid photos, but we wanted to do something free and fun for everybody,” says Soler. “Plus, we liked the idea of having something that our graduates could connect back to us after they graduate.”

Washington and Jefferson College — a small liberal arts school just outside of Pittsburgh — has no intention of making its commencement ceremony more Web-friendly.

While schools around the country are pulling out all the stops to boost flagging commencement participation, W&J’s 100 percent participation rate is holding strong, without going online. In 2012, all 320 graduating students donned the cap and gown. The reason is simple: At W&J, if you don’t walk — live and in person — you don’t graduate.

“We focus on relationships. We build it right from the beginning, so to be there in person is, to us, a very important part of that,” says James M. Sloat, associate dean for assessment and new initiatives. “We’re very intentional about how we bring people into the community, so it’s so important to us that they continue that relationship with us right up to the moment they graduate.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.