Student Life

How to Throw a Virtual Graduation Party

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Some milestones are worth celebrating in a big way. Here's how to throw an epic virtual graduation party.

The coronavirus is forcing the class of 2020 to get creative for graduation.

Commencement ceremonies are either canceled or going virtual because of the pandemic and social distancing measures. Meanwhile, virtual graduation parties and drive-by celebrations are increasing in popularity.

More and more ideas are popping up across the country, including video game ceremonies, car parades, and virtual escape rooms. As long as it doesn't break social distancing rules, it's fair game.

You can set up some virtual ceremony ideas on your own, while others require help from family and friends.

Need some ideas to get started? Here are six ways to celebrate a virtual graduation.

Host a Ceremony on Minecraft

After UC Berkeley postponed its graduation ceremony indefinitely in March, a group of students went to work — in Minecraft. The video game allows users to build structures in a 3D world, and the students used this to replicate the campus and stadium where they would have received their diplomas.

While it took them several months to complete, the results were spectacular. The students later hosted a virtual commencement ceremony that included speeches, a choir performance, and DJs.

You may not have the time to build an entire campus, but getting some friends together to celebrate on a smaller scale is worth the effort. We recommend creating a stage or platform to walk across.

Organize a Car Parade

You may not be able to walk across a stage physically, but you can drive. Recently, Cal State San Marcos celebrated the class of 2020 with a car parade.

Graduates received their diploma covers while staying in their cars. Meanwhile, faculty and staff cheered them on while staying six feet apart.

Students decorated their cars with things like balloons, signs, and inflatable dinosaurs. Some wore full graduation regalia to mark the occasion.

It's yet another example of students making the best of an unfortunate situation. You could plan a similar parade with fellow students, coordinate with faculty, or organize a smaller event with friends and family on your street.

Virtual Party Experiences

Part of the fun of graduation is the party afterward. But if your friends are spread out across the country (or world), a virtual hangout is the next best thing.

There are many ways to enjoy yourself from home. Live concerts on Twitch remind us of the days when we could go to outdoor festivals or nightclubs. For something more relaxed, you could watch Netflix with friends.

Or, you could check out an escape room. Yes, that's right — there are escape rooms on Zoom.

Escape rooms are all about solving puzzles through story-themed mysteries. It requires teamwork, focus, and determination, which is a perfect activity for friends and family.

The Grimm Escape, created by Seattle-based escape room company PuzzleBreak, features a fantasy theme that takes place in an enchanted forest. Teams of at least three people have 90 minutes to solve puzzles and escape the forest.

The host — in this case, a fairy godparent — will help players along the way by sharing clues and setting challenges for the team. It's a great way to escape the confines of quarantine.

Visit Virtual Venues

After graduation, many celebrations include a trip. While you're not likely to visit the Louvre Museum in Paris or the Coliseum in Rome, you can still indulge your flair for adventure.

You can tour famous museums, hike at national parks, go on Disneyland rides, and visit popular destinations around the world — all virtually, of course. You could even create an international dish to expand your palette.

We recommend picking a time to gather with friends, family, and fellow graduates to celebrate and explore these virtual vacations together.

Send Out Party Favors

You can take a virtual hangout to the next level by sending gifts to friends before the event. After all, your pals deserve a reward after years of hard work just as much as you do.

There are hundreds of gift options, many of which are relatively inexpensive.

For example, you could send a physical reminder of the college experience, such as a class ring (a tad on the expensive side), framed pictures, or tumblers. Or you could choose something handier, like a coffee maker, thermos, blanket, or book.

Virtual Happy Hour

This one is for the college graduates. What's a college graduation party without a few drinks?

Make your favorite cocktail over Zoom or Google Hangouts with some friends. Drinking connoisseurs even have recommendations for college graduates, including wine, beer, and spirits.

A buzz will go over nicely with completed coursework, a diploma cover in hand, and friends on the other side of a screen.

Final Word

You may not be able to toss graduation caps in the air like those before you, but that doesn't mean you can't celebrate. Have some fun with the accomplishment while still practicing social distancing measures.