A Meets ceremony or an ‘office degree’
Graduating is very different this year
Hitting the close button on his Google Meets window after he’d defended his thesis was a weird feeling for philosophy student Wouter Wiersma (25). He’d just graduated, but he was alone in his room. ‘I started studying in Groningen in 2013, and this is how it ends. I never could have imagined.’
He didn’t attend a ceremony with his friends and family at the Academy building or the MartiniPlaza. Because of the corona crisis, most departments have postponed their events until September or October, or they organised something online.
Students will be able to retrieve their diploma, the so-called ‘office degree’. But the arts faculty warns that since they have a backlog from the past few months, it can take a while for them to print and sign every diploma.
At FEB, they were planning for a new pilot for master students, where every student would get their degrees at once, with drinks afterwards. ‘But corona put an end to that’, says vice-dean Manda Broekhuis.
The planned group ceremony for bachelor students at the Duisenberg building has also been cancelled. There are some alternative options, but nothing’s been decided yet. Students are generally understanding, says Broekhuis. ‘We have to be realistic about our options.’
Cap and gown
Most other faculties don’t have concrete plans yet, either. Will they do everything online, or are they going for a mix of on- and offline events? BSS, Campus Fryslân, and the University College Groningen did decide that the opening ceremony in September will take place online.
Campus Fryslân is still exploring options for an offline, small-scale graduation ceremony in September. Under normal circumstances, the UCG has its ceremony in July, with students dressing up in cap and gown, but this, too, has been cancelled.
Arjan Schelhaas (20) is a student of computer science. He hopes he can go to the ceremony next year. If not, his master will be a second chance.
Corona has left an indelible mark on his graduation. In March, he was one of the last few people in the Harmonie building. He needed access to the server to finish his thesis at home. ‘It’s not exactly fun, but it’s definitely an interesting experience.’
Last Friday the Summer ceremony, which closes out the academic year, also took place online. Rector Cisca Wijmenga addressed a small group of people in the Senate room, and the winners of the GUF-100 Awards, the Wierenga-Rengerink Dissertation Prize, and the Gratama Award had all recorded videos.