In May of 2019, as the graduates gathered on the green in excited anticipation, no one would have guessed that the subsequent ceremonies would be put on hold by a global pandemic. So when Alyssa LiSanti, Assistant Director of University Programs and Events at Columbia University, was given the green light to plan the next in-person commencement in 2022, which would honor three years of graduates, she had her work cut out for her.
In the words of Lisa Stichnoth, Project Manager for AudienceView Grad: “They were basically executing on a new organizational structure because they used to use a different ticketing platform for almost every single individual college. And this year, they decided to fold them all together, with one primary administrator who was coordinating with all the different school planners.” This consolidation meant that there would need to be time for quite a few people to be trained on a new interface.
To complicate things further, the festivities weren’t limited to one university-wide event. “In addition to the main commencement ceremony, we also had to coordinate Class Day”, explained LiSanti, “an event that had never before been ticketed – making 40 events in total.” Her team also needed a way to add COVID attestation to the registration process – not only for graduates but faculty, staff, and attendees – more than 50,000 people.
For the first time in the 250+ year history of Columbia University commencements, the team could leverage the power of an all-in-one ticketing platform that could handle individual information for tens of thousands of people, spanning multiple days, times, and locations.
To ensure all parties felt prepared and knowledgeable, Sarah Wellman, Senior Solutions Expert at AudienceView, spent a week on-site training the team. With the help of Wellman and online video tutorials, the workload was spread amongst LiSanti’s team and the office of student affairs, easing some of the pressure and aiding in the sense of comradery as they prepared for an unprecedentedly large undertaking.
“What was amazing about [AudienceView Grad] was how quickly we could create and publish events and create new forms, no matter what we needed. It was incredibly intuitive,” said LiSanti.
With a solution as easy and intuitive as AudienceView Grad, this team was able to tackle an intimidating problem with confidence, and Columbia University’s 2022/2021/2020 celebrations went off without a hitch.