The University of Waikato is taking a different approach to Tauranga graduation ceremonies this year.
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones says the graduation ceremonies taking place at the Tauranga campus are more intimate compared to large scale university graduations.
“A year ago we said we would have our graduation at Tauranga’s new campus, and the Vice Chancellor did say that the graduation would happen in June rather than April in Hamilton to make it more intimate.
“We are having three graduations which are 45 minutes each rather than two or three hours like the Hamilton campus.”
University of Waikato Tauranga Campus graduating student Jessie Elvy says she and other students are frustrated with the new graduation ceremony layout, as they are only allowed limited members into the ceremony in the lecture theatre, and it has been poorly organised.
“The graduation process this year changed for us. We were meant to be sent automatic invites once our grades had been received, and then we were told to accept the invite before a certain date. Except me and a whole lot of other students didn’t receive them, even though we had finished our qualification.
“So we had to chase this up. It took about three phone calls, a couple of emails, and then my last resort was an angry message to the Waikato University Facebook page to get an invite, which I finally got.”
Jessie says it wasn’t until Monday, May 20, that she received further information on the graduation, two weeks out before the ceremony.
“We all thought we could purchase tickets as we thought it would be at the Trustpower Arena like the Toi Ohomai graduation was, or at the Holy Trinity Church. We were told it’s going to be at our new facility in a lecture theatre, where there will be about 30 seats,” says Jessie.
Alister says Tauranga graduates are entitled to invite three family members into the graduation in the lecture theatre and other friends can be beamed in.
In comparison to other graduations, Alister says there is only a small group, therefore Tauranga graduates wouldn’t fill up a large space such as Baypark or the Holy Trinity Church.
“It’s a new concept separate from Hamilton as well.
“We want it to be intimate, family orientated, having food, for the families to hang around in the building and for the students to march through town before the graduation.
“The idea is to do something new, something different, and Tauranga to celebrate the presence there.”
Alister says he accepts there may have been confusion around not being contacted.
“I am aware of those concerns and will address those, but we want to make it a really successful time to acknowledge the work the students and their families have committed to.”