It’s been a tough year, but amongst the lockdowns and changes to how we teach, many students have still managed to complete their University studies in 2020.
Graduations are always a highlight of the University calendar. Sadly, like lots of activities this year, graduations can’t go ahead the way they normally would.
So, to give our 2020 graduates the best possible experience, we’re planning a physically distanced, two-stage celebration.
1. Online graduation ceremonies
When: 22 December
Where: Online broadcasts
Who: Melbourne graduates only
Melbourne graduates will be able to tune into their school’s graduation broadcast and hear from our Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and Alumni, all of whom will celebrate your time at La Trobe.
Specific details and a link to the relevant broadcast will be emailed to eligible students in the coming weeks.
2. Physically distanced gowning experience
We are also planning to offer a gowning experience for our Melbourne-based graduates. We will hopefully be able to host 2020 graduates at our Melbourne campus in December, where they can gown, receive their testamur and head to some of La Trobe’s most photogenic locations.
Of course, this will only be possible if health restrictions ease to a level which allows us to safely meet on campus. We will confirm at the end of October if we can proceed, based on government advice.
Please note: These graduation experiences will only be available for Melbourne-based undergrad, postgrad and PhD graduates. Regional campus graduates, please be advised that all 2020 regional graduation ceremonies are deferred to 2021 where we hope to be able to host a traditional ceremony.
To find out more, please ensure your email address and mobile number is kept up to date so that we can contact you to let you know what’s happening and keep an eye out for updates in the coming weeks. You can update your contact details in StudentOnline or via ASK a Question.
Who will be invited to GradsFest?
All students who are based in Metropolitan Melbourne and have completed, or are due to complete, their course in 2020 will be invited to attend GradsFest. Regional students will receive more information about graduations in 2021.
When can I register and pay?
If we are able to proceed, you will receive an invitation via email in the week commencing 2 November 2020. Ensure you read this email carefully and follow the instructions to register and pay before the deadline.
When will you decide whether this is going ahead?
The decision to proceed will depend on government announcements and will occur in the week commencing 26 October 2020.
What is the registration fee?
Approximately $130 per graduate.
What’s included in the registration fee?
- Your admission to the graduation activation
- Hire of academic regalia (gown, cap and colours)
- Testamur (degree certificate)
- Up to four guest tickets
- Participation in activations around the campus
Is there a limit to how many guest tickets I can purchase?
Up to four guest tickets are included in your registration fee. Additional guest tickets are not available due to health regulations.
I am a student who lives in a regional area, can I attend GradsFest?
Due to restrictions on movement around the state, only students who reside in Metropolitan Melbourne will be able to attend GradsFest. We are currently working on plans to celebrate graduating regional students in 2021. Keep an eye on your emails and our social channels to stay informed of any updates.
If I attend GradsFest, can I still attend an actual graduation next year?
GradsFest will replace traditional ceremonies in 2020. Graduates from 2020 will not have the option to defer to a ceremony in 2021 or beyond. If you chose not to attend GradsFest, you will graduate in absentia. All graduates, including those who graduate in absentia, can join the online celebration on 22 December at 5pm.
Is it cheaper if I only bring one guest?
No, as your four (maximum) guests are complimentary. Registering guests is for contact tracing purposes only.
Is there a specific day I must attend?
To ensure all students have an opportunity to be involved, availability is restricted based on completion of your studies. There will be a variety of dates and times offered for bookings on a first-come-first-served basis.
I want to attend at the same time as my friends, can I?
Before registering via the portal, we encourage you to discuss availability with your friends and family. Booking at the same time as your friends will depend on dates and times available when you register.
Do I have to go on the same day as other people from my course?
No. You can book a time that works for you and your immediate family/guests.
Can I graduate in absentia (without attending the event)?
If you do not wish to attend GradsFest, you can choose to graduate in absentia at no charge. If you graduate in absentia, you will not have the opportunity to attend a later ceremony for this award. All graduates, including those who graduate in absentia, can join the online celebration on 22 December at 5pm.
If I don’t attend, how will I receive my testamur (degree certificate)?
You can choose to have your testamur mailed to your home address free of charge, or you can collect it from campus. Testamurs (degree certificates) will be mailed up to six weeks after GradsFest.
What steps will you be taking to reduce the chance of infection?
To ensure compliance with health and safety regulations, we will be implementing a number of safety measures including additional cleaning, and venue capacity restrictions. The event will only take place if government regulations allow.
What if someone tests positive after attending the event?
We will follow the expected Department of Health and Human Services protocols around contact tracing, quarantine and cleaning. If we are required to suspend GradsFest in order to do so, we will contact those who have booked to re-arrange their booking or process a refund.
Do we have to wear masks?
Yes. Current health regulations require wearing a face mask in public.
Why do I need to register myself and my guests prior to attending GradsFest?
You will need to supply your guest’s details (name and contact number) when you register on the portal. This is so we can provide accurate and timely contact tracing information to the Department of Health and Human Services in the instance of a declared case being notified.
What happens if the government changes the health status/steps relating to the COVID roadmap and the event is cancelled?
La Trobe will fully refund any payments due to cancellation as a result of changes in health status relating to managing the spread of COVID-19.
I’m an international student – what does this mean for me?
You will be contacted about the alternative celebration options – more information will be available in November for plans in December 2020. If you do not wish to or are unable to attend GradsFest in December 2020 at Melbourne (Bundoora) Campus, you can graduate in absentia at no charge and will still be sent your testamur (degree certificate).
If you or your family are currently overseas and had planned to travel to Australia to celebrate your graduation, we appreciate it is disappointing that this will not be able to occur however we hope you will join the online ceremony on 22 December at 5pm to celebrate all 2020 graduates, including those who graduate in absentia.
Why are there different approaches between Melbourne and regional campuses?
The University understands the importance of graduation ceremonies for students and their families however it is also our responsibility to follow Government requirements and do all we can to protect the health and wellbeing of all members of our community.
Large scale events are not permitted under current COVID-19 restrictions and we anticipate that some degree of physical distancing and associated health guidelines, particularly around public gatherings and events, will remain in place for some time.
The significantly smaller sizes of the graduating cohorts from regional campuses mean there is a possibility that an in-person graduation event (albeit modified to comply with public health requirements) may be delivered in 2021. For this reason, 2020 regional graduation ceremonies have been postponed and will be reassessed next year.
However, the increased complexity and logistics associated with the significantly larger cohort of Melbourne graduates (approximately 9,000 graduating students, plus guests) cannot be practically scaled to deliver a graduation ceremony safely within public health guidelines while still providing a positive event experience for all attendees.
We understand it’s disappointing that graduation plans this year are different to the traditional graduation ceremony. This is not a decision that has been made lightly. In planning what alternative celebration options are possible, we have sought input from current domestic and international students as to what elements of graduation are most important to them, balanced against what is possible within current and anticipated COVID-19 restrictions. These insights have informed the planned GradsFest available to Melbourne graduates in December 2020, which will give 2020 graduates and their guests the opportunity to attend campus and have professional photographs taken in their academic regalia with their testamur. This is in addition to the online graduation celebration on 22 December.
We remain committed to providing the best possible student experience while also observing the health advice and restrictions that are in place.