Commencement 2013: Before, During, and After

Time-lapse shows it’s over in a blink

05.23.2013 Video by BU Productions

Watch the setup, celebration, and breakdown of Boston University’s 2013 Commencement. Time-lapse footage, provided by BU Productions, was recorded from the Nickerson Field press box from May 10 to 20. Photo by Tia Chapman

What, you may wonder, does it take to put together three days of Commencement activities for the 6,685 students who received degrees on May 19? For starters, nearly a year’s worth of meticulous planning.

An estimated 25,000 students, families, faculty, staff, and alumni took part in 200 Commencement Weekend events, which included 50 diploma Convocations. About 40,000 chairs were used, as well as 6,000 feet of duct tape for behind the scenes. Grounds crews planted more than 150,000 annuals in the days leading up to the weekend. And 350 plus University staff members volunteered their time over the three days.

And then there was the food. Nearly 10,000 gallons of coffee, punch, and bottled water were consumed—enough liquid, if frozen, to create the hockey rink at Agganis Arena. More than two and a half tons of cheese, fruits, and vegetables were nibbled, along with over 45,000 cookies. Dining Services employees logged in excess of 18,000 man-hours over three days.

This year, in response to the Boston Marathon bombings that killed 3 and injured nearly 300 in April, enhanced security screening was implemented, with 50 BU Police Department officers working around the clock to ensure that all venues were safe.

“It was a success,” says Police Chief Thomas G. Robbins, BU’s executive director of public safety. “By all accounts, everyone had a great time.”

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