Behind the Scenes; Strathmore University Graduation 2015
While most graduands, family and friends prepare for the big day; Strathmore University behind the scenes team ensures that there will be a smooth graduation ceremony on that day. Different departments in charge of different functions of the day, shared snippets of what it takes to prepare and ensure an excellent day is what the graduands receive.
Student and Academic Affairs Office
Between February and March, the academic affairs office begins to verify details of potential graduands. Working with faculty managers and deans to verify the information and compile a list. Once that is ready, the office sends out emails to students to register for graduation. Students are given about two months to register.
By end of May the list of interested students is tallied against the list of graduands issued by faculties; this list also has details of the grades.
The academics office then tally the list before sending out to three offices;
- Communications- where the submitted names will be put in the graduation program
- Dean of Students office- they use this list to print out names and arrange the seating position for the students.
- Deans of each faculty for verification purpose.
Graduands are then notified on when they can pick their gowns from their faculties and also get details on how much the graduation fee is. The academic office then works at ensuring gowns for VIPs and the procession team are ready and in order.
On graduation day, the academic office is charged with dressing up VIPs in their gowns and ensuring that gowns are returned once the ceremony is over. Once graduation is over students are given a month to return gowns to the academic affairs office in order for them to be issued with their certificates.
Josephine Wandugo Executive Assistant
The sound systems are provided by the same supplier who has been supplying for the last four years. The process of setting up sound is very rigorous as if sound fails on graduation day, the ceremony will be at a halt.
Preparing sound involves coding the wires on the ground three days before the actual ceremony. This is because they need to be on a path that will not be easily tampered with when guests arrive. After the wiring is complete, the speakers will be mounted. Each speaker is connected to its own port. There are about six speakers that are used on the day.
On the day before graduation the screens and microphones are connected in preparation for rehearsals that afternoon. Rehearsals take about an hour and half where mics are checked, sound is checked, and screens are checked.
The sound team reports to the university early morning on graduation day to test the systems one last time before the ceremony starts. It is on this morning that the chorale team do a sound check as well.
Mathew Suka Sound
The role of the security team is to ensure that during the ceremony the grounds are secure, the gates are secure and the visitors and graduands are secure. The security manager communicates to the OCPD to give the university some police officers for the day, he also works with the OCPD (Officer Commanding Police Division), the OCS (Officer Commanding Station) and the Division Traffic Officer to control traffic.
They also need to get in more security officers from Seneca Security. This year the security measures are tougher due to the risen insecurity state in the country. Guests have designated gates that they are allowed to use to get into the campus in order for the security team to conduct a thorough search.
The day before the ceremony, police officers come for a recee of the grounds and to familizarize themselves with the environment.
I look forward to graduation because after all the preparation, the end product is what we desire to see so that we know all the work we have done is not in vain. We secure this students for their period of study and now we have to ensure that on their biggest day they are the most secure.
Nobody accesses the ground once everything has been set up the day before graduation. We conduct what we call sweeping where we check the grounds to ensure there are no threats on the grounds. We then ensure that no one accesses the ground unless they have been screened.
Kenneth Lijodi Security Manager
Preparation begins about four weeks before graduation, where about 8songs are practiced by the team. After practicing the 8 songs, a team of people are selected to assess the songs and choose the best songs. The chosen songs are then performed to the graduation committee who choose the best two songs for the team to sing on the actual day.
It takes us about four weeks to practice for the day. We practice three times in a week, and on graduation week we practice every day. If we are not ready as the days come by we practice even on weekends.
Every choir member sings on graduation day. We have about 30members in the team; but for this graduation most students were not in session, therefore we were not as many.
Coach Albert Apella Conductor, Strathmore Chorale