3 Tips for Commencement Planning

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Commencement is a huge milestone for students who have worked so hard throughout their educational careers. It should be a happy, carefree event for graduates who are finally finished with stressful exams and grades. But with COVID guidelines constantly changing, it’s difficult to make a plan set in stone.


There are a few tips to help mitigate the unknowns of planning a successful commencement ceremony.

We've created this checklist to help you get started.


1. Gather Relevant Data

There are many variables that come into play when hosting a large or small ceremony.

  • How many students are graduating?
  • How many family members will be allowed to attend?
  • What time will the ceremony take place?
    Remember that daytime effects equipment options (projection, lighting, etc.)
  • What COVID precautions will be taken? 
    Will there be social distancing, masking, temperature checks, or screening questions?

It's critical to spend time on project planning. Knowing these details from the start is the only way to execute a successful event.


 2. Contingency Planning is Crucial

There is a drawback to the beautiful weather that comes with graduation season: rain. An outdoor event is the best option for social distancing, but there are many other potential headaches that accompany it.

  • If the ceremony will be live and outdoors, what is the plan in the event of rain?
  • Will the event be relocated indoors?
  • Will there be a tent?
  • Will there be a rain date? 
  • How early will a decision for a rain delay be made?
  • Will there be a hybrid or virtual ceremony?


If the ceremony will be held indoors, the ever-changing COVID guidelines will have to be considered. Also, the rate of COVID transmission in the area will affect the in-person status of an event. 

  • If COVID rates are high, will the event be held virtually?

In the past two years, an increasing number of commencements have had a virtual element. At AMP, we create a complimentary custom webpage to host the live stream for these events.


3. Equipment

It’s obvious that you need to secure caps, gowns, and diplomas- but what else is needed?

  • POWER. It doesn’t grow on trees (unfortunately).
    • Where is your power source?
    • Where does the power need to go?
    • Do you need a generator?  Where would the generator be placed? (Remember that generators can be loud!)
  • Staging and podium.
    • How many people will be on stage? 10? 20? 100?! We’ve got you covered no matter the size!
  • Video options
    • Projectors aren’t a viable option for outdoor daytime events. Luckily, there are a variety of sizes and options for monitors or LED walls.
  • Sound
    • You need the entire audience to be able to hear the names being called and the classic graduation march. Whether that requires 2 or 20 speakers, we will make sure you're heard. 
  • Chairs
    • So. Many. Chairs! If you don't already have chairs available, it's important to reserve them early!
  • Pipe and Drape
    • There are a variety of lengths and colors, a perfect opportunity to represent your school pride!

    If you're struggling with any of these concepts, don't fret! AMP Event Group brings over a decade of experience to every event, and can help you from start to finish! Contact us today to ask questions or book our team for your commencement ceremony!

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