How Many People Livestreamed BU’s 2021 Commencement? A Lot!
Friends and families, unable to attend in person, watched ceremonies from around the world
Boston University has been offering some version of a livestream or a video recording of its annual Commencement Weekend ceremonies for more than two decades, and not surprisingly, its digital audience has grown gradually: 2019’s event had 3,743 total plays. COVID-19 mandated no 2020 Commencement (that ceremony has been pushed to October 2021). And then came May 16, 2021.
With friends and families unable to attend BU’s Commencement weekend in person because of city and state coronavirus restrictions, they turned to the livestream in unprecedented numbers, watching the ceremonies from their cars, from Comm Ave sidewalks, from their backyard patios and living room couches, and from cafés. (Check out our story on parents watching the ceremonies from anywhere and everywhere here.)
So far, the Commencement 2021 livestream and recording, produced and delivered in a partnership between BU Productions and Learning & Event Technology Services (LETS), have been viewed more than 36,300 times and counting (for you math majors, that’s an increase of more than 800 percent from 2019), for both the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies (not including the Baccalaureate).
“Commencement is a complex, large-scale production that requires a tremendous amount of planning, preparation, and coordination with many campus departments to successfully execute the program,” says Nancy Marrs, executive director of BU Productions. “We have an amazing team comprised of dedicated BU Productions staff, freelancers, and our direct partner, the team from LETS. I hope viewers from around world enjoyed our presentation of the ceremonies.”
“The entire team and our contractors came together to support Commencement-related events,” says Linda Jerrett, director of LETS. Livestreams have grown in popularity steadily since LETS began offering the service many years ago, she says, and in the first year there were only 600 views on the day of the ceremony.
“I, myself, am a parent of a graduating senior [Nora Jerrett, COM’21],” Jerrett adds. “My husband and I also watched the livestream of the ceremony on campus along with many other proud BU parents!”