Smith College’s Illumination Night is a time-honored tradition. During the May commencement and reunion weekend at the Northampton, Massachusetts, U.S., college, bright paper lanterns set the campus aglow. During COVID-19 in 2020, Smith created a virtual lantern ceremony, inviting alumnae to light a candle or lantern and share photos on social media with the #Smithilluminates hashtag.
More than 3,000 graduates, faculty, students, and friends around the globe sent in photos, which Smith compiled on a global illumination map.
“Wow! Best thing on the planet right now!” wrote Smith graduate Sara Guettel on Facebook.
The project earned 2021 Circle of Excellence Awards for social media (Grand Gold) and alumni engagement on a shoestring (gold). Judges called it a “magical virtual experience.”
About the author(s)
Meredith Barnett is the manager, digital communications at CASE.
Article appears in:
Town-Gown Relations: How and why institutions should collaborate with their communities. Plus, understanding alumni personas, navigating nontraditional paths to advancement, and creating a new normal as institutions return to campus.