Events

Graduation Celebrations - July 2021

 

 

 

 

 

QMU Graduation Celebrations 

QMU Campus - Tuesday 13th, Wednesday 14th July & Thursday 15th July 2021 

With graduation ceremonies not taking place this year, due to COVID restrictions, the current plan is to provide 2020 and 2021 QMU graduates with an opportunity to attend an on-campus gathering to mark their achievements at which they can wear a gown and get a professional photograph taken by Ede & Ravenscroft. At the gathering, there will also be hospitality, music, and opportunities for graduates to take photos and chat with lecturers.

We are arranging this gathering in a context when we are limited by COVID restrictions and where other universities have decided not to offer any graduation event at all this year. Please note that, this gathering will not take the form of a ceremony and so will not be live-streamed. Instead, we are creating a pre-recorded graduation celebratory video which will be available online. The graduation film will include speeches from the Chancellor and Principal, stories from recent graduates and messages of congratulations from some of our staff. It will be available  for people who may wish view the film at their own graduation celebrations at home with family and friends.

Please note that due to COVID guidelines set out by the Scottish Government, numbers permitted to attend this event will be limited.  Each student, who secures a place at the graduation celebration, will be permitted to invite two guests.

Booking Arrangements - The latest update is shown in  the ‘Registration’ tab at the foot of this page. Due to changing government guidelines, the event programme is continuously under review so please keep checking this webpage for updates.

We will be following Scottish Government guidelines with regard to COVID regulations to ensure that the safety of our students, guests and staff is a priority. We will be detailing all the safety measures & precautions we are putting in place on these webpages in due course.  

Due to the fact that this is not our traditional indoor graduation ceremony, but instead an informal outside gathering to comply with currently restricted guidelines, there will be no charge to attend the event, and a reduced cost will apply for gown hire and official photography.

  • Registration (inc. Booking System Update)
  • Format of each day
  • Gown Hire & Official Photography
  • Your Safety
  • FAQs

Students’ Union Graduation Celebration Waiting List – Opens Friday 18th June at 1pm

Thank you to all of our graduating students who have waited patiently while we work with the University to maximise slots for students under these difficult circumstances. The SU is now in a position to open up a waiting list for the graduation celebrations on 13th, 14th & 15th July.  Should you wish to be placed on the waiting list, please read the information below carefully and follow the instructions fully.

Spaces are still limited due to Covid restrictions and logistics and there are no guarantees that a place on the waiting list will get you a place at the event.  If you would like to be added to the waiting list then please follow the process below fully.  This process has been agreed with students as the best way for our team to manage the process.

To be placed on the waiting list, please email union@qmu.ac.uk between 1pm on Friday 18th June and 6pm on Saturday 19th June to submit your request. Your e-mail should come from the address that you want us to use to respond to you and must contain all of the information requested below – we will not have time to send correspondence back and forward to get more information. If you wish to ask someone else to e-mail on your behalf that’s fine but our further correspondence will also be with that person.

What to put in your e-mail:  Please state Waiting List in the subject line.

Information Required:

  • Your Name
  • Your Student Number
  • Course Studied
  • No of Guests (0, 1 or 2)
  • Dietary requirements for you and any guests
  • Are you happy to be allocated any available timeslot? Yes or No
  • Do you have a preferred date and timeslot? Yes or No

If yes:   What is your preferred date and timeslot?

Tuesday 13th 1100-1300                Tuesday 13th 1700-1900

Wednesday 14th 1100-1300          Wednesday 14th 1700-1900

Thursday 15th 1100-1300              Thursday 15th 1700-1900

Are you happy to be offered any slot that is available if your preferred option is not available? Yes or No

Important Notes:

  • No waiting list e-mails will be responded to until after Monday 21st June at the earliest
  • We will deal with the e-mails in the order they come in to the SU inbox
  • Please allow us up to a week to respond. 
  • Any waiting list e-mails which arrive in the SU inbox before 1pm on Friday 18th June or after 6pm on Saturday 19th June will be deleted.
  • Do not send more than one e-mail as this will slow down the allocation of spots for everyone and is likely to result in your request going to the back of the allocation list
  • If you are contacted and offered a space you will have 24 hours from when the e-mail is sent to accept or reject it. If we haven’t heard from you by then we will offer it to the next person on the waiting list.

The QMU Events Team and the SU team are working flat out to process the large number of e-mails received so we thank you in advance for your patience as we work through this.  

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Update on QMU's graduation celebration plans - June 16, 7.30pm

Dear students,

I would like to express my sincere apologies, first of all for the stress caused by the issues arising from the graduation celebration booking system crash on Tuesday 8 June, and also for the further frustrations and stresses associated with the re-launch of bookings yesterday. I would like to emphasise that I know how important it is to you to have an opportunity to celebrate graduation, such an important achievement in your lives.

Further availability and next steps

Following the suspension of the booking system, at which time the volume of enquiries led us to understand that all slots were full, we have had the chance to review and analyse overall capacity across the three days and are in a position now to open up more availability on certain slots that were not as full as initially indicated. This will enable us to accommodate more students who have not yet managed to successfully book a space at the event.  

Our events team will be individually contacting all those with whom we have already been in contact about booking issues to set out the options available to them. Rest assured that we are also providing a process, through the Students’ Union, to provide others who might not have managed to secure a booking an opportunity to do so. The Students’ Union will share details on this process later this week.

We are currently working on these tasks as speedily but as carefully as we can. To allow the teams to focus on the task in hand, I would ask you not to email the events team except if they email you. Similarly, please do not try to book with the Students’ Union until they announce their process is open.  I ask this as, quite simply, we will not be able respond to requests sent to the teams outwith the agreed process. We greatly appreciate your continued patience whilst we organise these next steps.

While we fully anticipate that we will be able to find spaces for many more of you, unfortunately there is still the possibility that not everyone will get a place.  One way we can reduce the risk of this is that any of you who need  to cancel your booking because you are no longer able to attend the event, or because you have double-booked, do so by emailing events@qmu.ac.uk with the heading ‘Cancellations and double-bookings’, if you have haven’t already done so.

Other areas of concern

I would like to address one key common area of concern at this point, that being “graduation celebration” versus “graduation”. Some of you have asked if you will still graduate if you do not attend our on-campus graduation celebration. To clarify, all students from the 2021 cohort who have successfully completed their award will formally graduate on 14 July 2021, regardless of whether they attend the celebration on campus or not. Award certificates will be issued to all graduating students. Students who were eligible for award in July 2020 are already deemed to be formally graduated and have been issued with award certificates. Commemorative graduation programmes will also be issued to both the 2020 and 2021 graduates. I must emphasise that the on-campus celebration being organised is not a Graduation Ceremony. 

You will find answers to many other common questions on our FAQs, including:

  • The graduation celebratory video which can be enjoyed at your leisure, which features messages from myself, our Chancellor Prue Leith and staff and student representatives. This makes an ideal watch for any at-home celebrations you may be organising.
  • Options for gown hire and professional photography outwith the campus events for you to have at any celebrations you may be organising.
  • The context in which we are striving to offer the best event we can within the strict COVID guidelines set out by the Scottish Government.

Thank you again to you all for your patience.  Once again, I apologise for any stress and frustration the challenges of booking for this event may have caused.

Best regards,

Paul

Sir Paul Grice, FRSE, FAcSS
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Queen Margaret University
Edinburgh

Already secured a place first time round? No need to rebook.

Please note, that if you have already booked a space and received confirmation of this, you will not need to rebook your space.

Being mindful of restrictions

As you will know from previous communications, we have been determined to provide an opportunity this year for graduating students to celebrate this important milestone in their lives, in a context where COVID restrictions make this very challenging and where many other universities have decided not to offer any sort of graduation event.  However, as we have said before, the current government COVID restrictions mean that spaces at these graduation celebrations have always be limited. Therefore, there has always been the possibility that not everyone wishing to attend the on-campus graduation celebration would be guaranteed a place.  This is an unfortunate reality relating to the requirement for us to run an event which adheres to the necessary government safety and social distancing measures. 

Understanding the format of this informal graduation event – what can you expect in the two hour slot?

We would strongly encourage you to read the FAQs on these web pages to make sure you are fully aware of the format of this outdoor graduation gathering, health and safety information etc. It is important to understand that this is a far more informal event than was initially planned for the Usher Hall. Students/graduates and guests will be limited to a two hour slot on campus. There will be no ceremony, speeches or live streaming, but we will be providing a celebratory pre-recorded video with speeches and more (see below). The focus of this outdoor event is providing you with the opportunity to wear your graduation robe, have your official photograph taken, celebrate with students and staff, and enjoy some QMU hospitality. Please be understanding of the fact that we are having to restrict students/graduates to a two hour slot to allow us to accommodate thousands of people in a safe matter which complies with government safety restrictions.

Indeed, there is no perfect solution to graduation this year. However, we are trying our best to give students some form of limited opportunity to mark the completion of their university journey, despite the challenge of having to shape a new, scaled-down event which complies with COVID restrictions.

What happens if I can no longer attend?

Out of consideration for others, if, for whatever reason, you can’t attend the graduation gathering, please let the Events team know as soon as possible on E: events@qmu.ac.uk so they can free up the space for someone else.

 

We are currently working on the final details for all event days.

However, we can confirm the following format so far:

 - You will have a 2 hour time slot to enjoy some time on campus.

 - Arrival will be via our car park or public transport:  there will be queuing on arrival to check registered students & guests, you will be asked to scan a QR code for Test & Protect and issued a coloured lanyard. 

 - You can then freely move around the grounds of the campus chatting to your friends and lecturers.

 - If you have booked a photography slot, you should make sure you attend promptly for this.  All pre-booked professional photography will be managed by Ede & Ravenscroft and will take place in the sports hall.

 - If you have pre-booked a gown, you can collect this either 10 minutes before your photography slot or on arrival.  Please note there will likely be a queue to collect your gown.

 - We will be offering all students & guests 2 glasses of fizz (or soft drink alternative) and some pre-boxed canapes to enjoy.  Due to COVID restrictions around hospitality, all catering needs to be seated.  We will have lots of picnic benches in the licensed areas where you can sit and enjoy this hospitality.  

 - We have 2 marquees on the grounds which will be set-up as hospitality spaces.   

- The Prestonpans Pipe Band will be at all events to entertain you on arrival and we will also have some of our own QMU Music Therapy students playing at different times throughout the days.

 - We will also have some visual displays of student and academic work on display at various point throughout campus.

The full event will be located outside, this is in line with Covid guidelines and to make the event as safe as possible.  We are hoping that the weather will be good (hopefully dry!), however, we will be providing rain ponchos if it is wet and suggest that you come dressed appropriately, checking the weather forecast before travelling.

Please keep checking this webpage for more information. It will be updated regularly as we have updates and we will be adding a visual site map of the campus detailing where you can find everything.

 

Please note that any questions regarding official photography and gowns should be directed to: customerservices@academic-services.co.uk 

Edes Ravenscroft will be on campus both days to provide gown hire and official photography.

Official Photography

There will be a charge for this but the University have agreed this at a discounted rate.

After you have registered for an arrival slot to attend the Graduation Reception you will be asked to book a photography time with Ede & Ravenscroft. A link for this will be provided to you.

Gown Hire 

When you have booked an official photography slot you will be asked to collect your gown around 10 minutes prior to this. 

There will be a charge for gown hire but the University have agreed this at a discounted rate.

Gown Hire without professional photography

Some students may wish to hire a gown for the Graduation Reception, but choose not to use the professional photography on offer by Ede & Ravenscroft and take their own pictures around campus instead.

In order to hire a gown only, without professional photography, you must order your gown via this link: https://www.edeandravenscroft.com/

The gown will then be sent to your home and you must bring this with you on the day of the Graduation Celebration. No gowns will be provided on the day to anyone who has not booked a photography slot.

You must return your gown inside the pre-paid packaging you receive via the post office or on the day of the event. 

Our priority is for all students, guests and staff to enjoy the celebrations whilst feeling safe on campus.

We are following Scottish Government Covid guidelines when planning the receptions and will continue to do so as we progress.

We will be detailing all the safety measures & precautions we are putting in place on these webpages in due course.

As an added layer of safety, we would encourage attendees to order and undertake a lateral flow test 24 hours prior to coming to the event, these can be ordered on the Government Website

Please also see : QMU Covid website 

FAQs

Is there a charge to attend the celebrations?
As this is a scaled down version of our normal graduation event, and is not our traditional ceremony, there will not be a charge for attending this on-campus outdoor celebration. However, a reduced charge for gown hire and photography will apply.

Will there be a ceremony?
No, there will be no ceremony this year as, due to COVID restrictions, we need to offer a scaled-down outdoor celebratory gathering, rather than our traditional indoor ceremony which would normally have taken place at the Usher Hall. Our outdoor celebratory gathering will provide an opportunity for graduates to wear their graduation robe; have their professional photos taken; celebrate with friends, other graduates and staff; and enjoy some QMU hospitality. 

Will I graduate if I don’t attend the graduation celebration?
Yes, you will still graduate if you don’t attend the celebration. All students from the 2021 cohort who have successfully completed their award will formally graduate on 14 July 2021, regardless of whether they attend the celebration on campus or not. Award certificates will be issued to all graduating students. Students who were eligible for award in July 2020 are already deemed to be formally graduated and have been issued with award certificates. Commemorative graduation programmes will also be issued to both the 2020 and 2021 graduates. The on campus celebration being organised is not a graduation ceremony. 

What can I expect from the day?
Our celebratory gathering, which will primarily be held outside within the grounds of the QMU campus, will present an opportunity for graduates to wear their graduation robe; have their professional photos taken; celebrate with friends, other graduates and staff; and enjoy some QMU hospitality. It will be a lower key affair than our normal traditional indoor ceremony. However, despite the fact that many other universities are not providing any opportunities for students to celebrate their graduation achievements, we felt it was important to provide you with some kind of event to mark the successful culmination of your time at QMU.

Will there be speeches at the event?
No. This celebratory outdoor event will not take the format of our normal indoor graduation ceremony and as such, there will be no speeches.  However, we are creating a pre-recorded graduation celebratory film which will be available online. The graduation film will include speeches from the Chancellor and Principal.

Will the celebration be live streamed?
No, there will be no live streaming of the gathering. Please note, that this is not a traditional ceremony, but a more informal, scaled-down, celebratory, outdoor gathering.  However, we are creating a pre-recorded graduation celebratory video which will be available online. The graduation film will include speeches from the Chancellor and Principal, stories from recent graduates and messages of congratulations from some of our staff. It will be available for people who may wish view the film at their own graduation celebrations at home with family and friends.

Will I have the opportunity to get capped?
Unfortunately not, as this outdoor gathering will be different from our normal traditional indoor graduation ceremony which would have normally taken place at the Usher Hall.

Can I bring more than two guests?
Due to COVID restrictions we are very limited to the number of attendees we can have on campus at any one time. Eligible students who successfully secure a place at this gathering, will be able to register themselves plus two guests maximum. We don't know at this stage if we will have space for more than 2 guests, however, we will be operating a waiting list for those students who would like to be able to bring additional guest(s).

Am I guaranteed a ticket?
Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Registration will open early June. We have a limited number of places available so unfortunately we cannot guarantee places although we will do our best to ensure that if there are spaces available they will be offered to people on the waiting list.

What happens if a student has booked but now wants to change their slot or day following the addition of the extra day?
We would love to accommodate everyone who wants to change timeslot but under the circumstances, that is just not going to be possible.

How can I book photography and gown hire?
When you register to attend the event, you will be given a two hour attendance slot. You will then be directed to the Ede & Ravenscroft website where you can book a photography slot/gown hire and pay.

Is attending the event my only chance to get a graduation photo?
Students who are unable to attend the event on campus also have the opportunity to hire gowns and have them sent to their home address (UK addresses only). Gown hire will be for a period of 7 days giving you the opportunity to celebrate at home with family and friends and take some memorable photographs. Gowns can be hired directly from Ede & Ravenscroft at https://graduation-services.edeandravenscroft.com/graduation-events-2021/
Many photography studios also provide gowns for graduation shoots should you wish to book something in your own local area.

Are there toilet facilities?
The toilets near reception inside the academic building will be open for use. We are also planning to have a number of outside toilet facilities available.

I live out with the UK. Can I travel to the UK for the graduation celebration?
Please refer to the Scottish Government website for travel guidance. There is a section dedicated to international travel.
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-travel-and-transport/

I live out with East Lothian. Can I travel to East Lothian for the celebrations?
Please refer to the Scottish Government website for travel guidance
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-travel-and-transport/

Are there any online celebrations for graduates who are unable to attend the campus celebration?
If you are unable to attend our on-campus celebration, please do join your QMU family on either the 13th or 14 July in watching our pre-recorded celebratory film on our website, wherever you are in the world. We hope you will also invite your family, guardians and friends to watch the film and that you take this opportunity to make a day of it. So, dress up, have a bottle of fizz at the ready, and prepare to celebrate your graduation achievements! Please note, that there will be no live streaming of the celebration, so this is not an opportunity for friends and family, who are at a distance, to watch you at a ceremony.

Will the event be cancelled if the weather is bad?
If there is rain forecast for13th and/or 14th July, the on campus celebrations will still go ahead as planned. We will have rain ponchos available which we will distribute on arrival. We will be monitoring the weather in the run up to the events. If there are very high winds/heavy snow forecast, we will make a judgement call closer to the time about cancellation, Please keep an eye on the event web pages.

What should we wear?
We would strongly suggest that you dress appropriately for the planned weather. It is Scotland so we are not guaranteed wall to wall sunshine, it may be cold, it may be rainy and it may be windy, although we are hoping for sunshine! Please check the weather forecast for East Lothian prior to attending.

Accessibility measures
The QMU on-campus graduation celebration event is equipped to welcome visitors with a variety of needs. 
 - Full wheelchair access
 - Wheelchair accessible toilets
 - Guide dogs & assistance dogs are welcome
 - Dedicated disabled parking bays

If you have specific access requirements please contact us in advance so we can make your visit as enjoyable as possible.

What happens if there is a change to COVID restrictions in East Lothian?
If the Scottish Government changes restrictions and as a result people can no longer travel to East Lothian we may need to cancel the celebrations. We will be keeping a close eye on restrictions as we get closer to July and will try to provide as much notice as possible of any changes.
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-travel-and-transport/

Is the celebration COVID safe?
The safety of all attendees is our priority.
We have put in place a number of measures to help ensure our event is as safe as possible and we have a full and detailed risk assessment. Our graduation celebration will be held in the grounds of the QMU campus and will mainly be outside. We will ensure that our plans meet social distancing requirements thereby providing a safe space for graduates, staff and visitors. There will be hand sanitising stations throughout the event, managed queuing in place, one-way systems in operation and we are asking all guests attending the event to considering taking a COVID test just before the event.

Useful contacts 

If you have a question about the celebration and it is not included in these FAQS please email Events@qmu.ac.uk

If you have a question about Graduation (certificates etc) please email Graduation@qmu.ac.uk

 

Event Details

Location On Campus
Date & Time Start 13 July 2021
10:00am End 15 July 2021
7:00pm
Cost Free of charge to attend - costs involved for gown hire and photography.
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Principal's Graduation Message For Students