Alumni Association takes to social media to celebrate graduates

(Pull Quote Art by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

Since Kansas State graduates won’t be walking at commencement ceremonies this spring, the K-State Alumni Association plans to celebrate new alumni over social media.

“Regardless of that event of commencement, they’re going to be alumni and so we just wanted to continue to build that relationship that we’ve been building while students are on campus and just letting them know as they transition that we’re still there no matter what those situations are,” Jessica Elmore, associate director of diversity programs at the Alumni Association, said. “So this was just our personal way of just saying, ‘We love you, we want to connect with you.’”

The Alumni Association is producing three different types of videos. The first video dropped May 11 and focused on the transition from student to alumni. The second video will go live at noon on May 16 and features a virtual parade of decorated graduation caps from students. The final video airs at 2 p.m. the same day and alumni from all over the world will gather over Facebook Live to sing the Alma Mater.

“Graduation is very personal. That’s when you get all your family, your mentors and everyone to get together and it’s just a very personal moment,” Elmore said. “With the graduation caps, we just wanted to find a way to help people personalize it even though they might not have that family right now. The moment is still here and we didn’t want that to pass without them having some momentum to look back 20 years from now.”

Elmore hopes graduates can see the association’s genuine excitement for them despite the fact that they can’t physically touch or see them on campus.

“I’ve been getting messages that they’re going to decorate their caps or they really enjoy looking at the Instagram live of our takeover from some of the seniors who are decorating their caps on our Instagram channel,” Elmore said.

Tanji Lewis, senior in chemistry, thinks the posts are an innovative and creative way to have one last celebration and feel like a class again.

“It’s definitely been something that I’ve had to navigate through,” Lewis said. “I know a lot of others have had to navigate differently. I feel like as the time has gone on, you kind of phase-out of the bitter feelings and into the more just prideful feeling. At the end of the day, we’re still getting our diplomas and we’re going to be able to go to do the things we all wanted to do, which a lot of people don’t get the opportunity. In the end, I feel like we should all still be very happy.”

Lewis said being together on Facebook Live will be one of the ways she can hear from her classmates again.

“My friends and I will probably all get to FaceTime together and raise a glass to graduating, kind of like a small ode to this semester,” she said.

Elmore still suggests to take graduation photos to capture memories.

“We have this college keepsake document — fill it out and put it away somewhere safe or store it on your Google Docs,” Elmore said. “Go back to it in five years or 10 years and I think that’ll be something really impactful. Go out and be great.”