The virus has thwarted campus traditions, cut into the time they have left to make memories with friends and thrown into question whether they’ll be able to return for graduation.
But the seniors at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts, didn’t let that get them down.
Like true engineers, the class of 2020 channeled creativity and innovation to put together a “fauxmencement” ceremony on Thursday — a day they’ll probably never forget.
They donned garbage bags as gowns. They fashioned graduation caps out of paper. They made tassels with yarn.
“It was yesterday morning in the dining hall at about 9 or 10 am when a set of students and staff came and said ‘Hey, we have this idea. We can do a fake commencement!” Mark Somerville, Olin’s dean of faculty, said at the ceremony. “Which seemed like a pretty awesome idea in a challenging time.”
In about 24 hours, people from all over the school came together to make it happen, according to Somerville: Facilities workers, dining services employees, the orchestra, staff and of course, the students.
“This is amazing that this is happening right now,” Somerville said. “It is a testament to what Olin is as a community and it kind of makes me want to cry but I’m gonna not do that quite yet.”
A group of students who spoke at the ceremony also reflected on how their class had come together in the face of these challenges.
“Less than 48 hours ago, a single email flipped our whole, tiny world upside down,” one of the students who spoke at the ceremony said.
But less than 48 hours later, the community came together to put on multiple final concerts, other events and now “fauxmencement,” the student said.
Congratulations to the class of 2020. Hopefully, this doesn’t have to become a tradition.