May 10, 2014

Future coming into focus

PLATTSBURGH — College commencement is a key moment in the big picture.

These days, mom doesn’t need to sneak down to the front row to capture that image.

With nearly 1,100 graduates crossing the stage next Saturday, SUNY Plattsburgh has a system in place to let parents stay in their seats.

“Students and parents often wish to go to the front of the auditorium to take close-up shots of the graduates, especially when they are shaking hands with the president,” said Michelle Ouellette, director of public relations and publications at the college.

“This would interfere with the flow of the ceremony, so, instead, we have professional photographers set to take pictures of every student who walks the dais. The students will have access to these.”

The evolution of technology has allowed universities to offer a more real-time feel to graduation festivities.

At winter commencement, SUNY Plattsburgh started using the Twitter hashtag #PlattsGrad for the ceremony and is encouraging students to post using it again this spring.

The university has also had a live stream of the past few ceremonies and hopes to do so again this spring.

“Perhaps the biggest change we’ve seen in recent years is an opening up of communication channels — an ability to share thoughts, feelings and photos in new ways,” Ouellette said.

“And that communication is two-way. We can post something and instantly hear back from students and their families. Even alumni get into the act, cheering on students and providing words of wisdom. It’s heartwarming.”

After each ceremony, SUNY Plattsburgh has been posting hundreds of commencement photos to its Facebook timeline.

This allows students to tag and share the pictures with friends and family.

“It is a very popular feature,” Ouellette said.

Email Nathan

Text Only | Photo Reprints