Covering a graduation in 140 characters at a time

BU Pro-Chancellor Dame Moores proudly released thousands of graduates last week

BU Graduation 2013

Over the course of five days more than 5,000 students graduated from Bournemouth University this week. The Breaker sent three reporters to the Bournemouth International Center to report from the graduation ceremony of the BU School of Health and Social Care. This is how they experienced it.

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It was drizzling when the three of us met up in front of the Bournemouth International Center – a chunky brown building complex that seems oddly misplaced at the sleek and colourful beach front.

Inside, however, it became clear why this was the obvious choice of Bournemouth University (BU) for their graduation ceremonies. Hundreds of likewise proud and excited families bustling about, freshly gowned-up-graduates buzzing around taking pre-ceremony pictures and an all-embracing soundscape of chatter.

It was like Grand Central Station – without the trains.

In the middle of chaos, we found BU Press Editor Nathaniel Hobby who arranged our tickets and on the spot offered us an interview with a special guest.

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Alice Roberts

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We had about 10 minutes for a quick online research about our soon-to-be interviewee, Dr Alice Roberts – most commonly known for appearing in TV shows like Don’t Die Young or Ice Age Giants.

Her wikipedia entry read like a dictionary for academic fields: medicine, surgery, anatomy, osteoarchaeology, anthropology, paleopathology.

But, that list was only to be extended. Dr Roberts was about to receive a honorary doctorate from BU.

 

For her fellow graduates, she had the following message: “Make the most of all your opportunities. Don’t just follow one strict path and wait for that one job you always dreamt of.”

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“Be flexible and adaptable. Because you might find that your dream-career will be one that you never even thought about.”

Speaking of graduating, the ceremony was about to begin in 20 minutes and all students had already put their gowns on, which was unfortunate for us, since we had not planned to take some footage from the scene of putting those valuable fabrics on. But we missed our chance and then followed the students and got into the hall to find our seats.


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Entering graduation

Graduation view from gallery

After the speeches by Pro-Chancellor Dame Yvonne Moores and Vice-Chancellor John Vinney and the commendation of three honorary doctorates, it was time for the big moment of the graduates.

And as a couple hundred students were to be awarded, that moment was not just big but also long.

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stage2

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Row after row, organised by their courses, the students get off their seats and queue up next to the stage.

And with every new name being called up, always another corner of the hall bursted into thunderous applause.

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Chrissie

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While wandering around – smartphone and camera at the ready – we met BA Social Work student Christine Ford on the far right corner of the upper gallery.

In front of Christine was a whole barrage of photographic equipment: A DSLR, a small digital camera taped to the ballustrade and her smartphone – all of which are directed at the graduates making their way across the stage to receive their diplomas.

“They are all my fellow students”,  she said after passionately cheering for another name of her friends being called up.

“Because of my placement I graduate next year.

But we all travelled the same distance and that is why I had to be here today to take pictures of every single one of them in their special moment.”

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Only as little as a few steps up the stage, a bow or curtsey to the Pro-Chancellor Dame Yvonne Mores and a congratulatory handshake from Vice-Chancellor John Vinney separated the BU students from becoming BU alumni.

And apart from one graduand struggling with her high heels, though acrobatically preventing a fall, the ceremony went by smoothly.

Then, as the lights were flashed on again, all tension was lifted from the room. And with the light, came a surge of applause and celebration.

And honestly, kudos to the graduates – the class of 2013 was awarded many distinctions and first class honours.

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But no graduation ceremony is fully concluded without an endless and ubiquitous throwing of graduate caps. Photos and films need to be taken by families, friends – and us.

And with those last impression saved on our memory cards, we let the graduation continue its more informal, champagne-y way.

Graduation Footer

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[/one_third_last] Photography: Sven Wolters
Social Media Production: Yessi Bello Perez, Nicholas Taylor (guest reporter)

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