NEW PALTZ — For the first time in SUNY New Paltz history, the university will broadcast its graduation ceremony live via the World Wide Web. The May 21 commencement, which will begin at 11 a.m. on the campus’s Old Main Quadrangle, will be accessible at the university’s web site http://www.newpaltz.edu/ between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Rachel Reuben, coordinator of the New Paltz web site, explained that the estimated $5,000 cost of webcasting the ceremony, to be paid through the university’s web site budget, is well worth it. “New Paltz is a very student-centered university. I got involved with this because I realized what a great service it would be for our students and their families,” she said.
Anyone with a computer which is online and has the media player Real Player 7 Basic, which can be downloaded free through a link at the New Paltz site, can view the live ceremony. Relatives and friends of the international students who comprise nearly 25 percent of the graduating class of 2000, as well as senior citizens, people with disabilities, and those who are homebound will be able to watch live as their loved one receives a SUNY New Paltz diploma.
According to Worldcasters.com the Long-Island based Internet broadcasting solutions company with which SUNY New Paltz is collaborating to make this possible “webcasting” is the transmission of live audio/video to the Internet, where it can be viewed by an unlimited number of viewers, anywhere in the world, at any time. Throughout New Paltz’s 113th graduation ceremony, Worldcasters.com’s mobile unit will be encoding visual material provided by the student-run Campus Media Center and audio material collected by the Center for Instructional Resources. It will then be transferred to a server where it can be fed to the Internet by a media player. Multiple cameras will enable parallel lines of graduates to be seen simultaneously.
After the live broadcast, the recording will be archived for 30 days on the New Paltz web site. Subsequently, highlights will still be available at the site. The ceremony can also be purchased on videotape from the Campus Media Center.
Reuben, who last year arranged to have a web camera transmit graduation images every 60 seconds throughout the ceremony, believes SUNY New Paltz to be the first in the state university system to webcast its commencement. She followed the lead of Syracuse University, whose graduation will be webcast by Worldcasters.com for the second year in a row.