How to Celebrate College Graduates in Your Area

Holding a graduation ceremony or program is a thoughtful way to welcome the next generation of AAUW members and leaders! Commencement season is an important time, as students may be both excited and apprehensive about the future. Use this guide to help plan your branch or Younger Women’s Task Force (YWTF) program in conjunction with your local colleges.


Step 1: Locate your local C/Us, student organizations, and e-student affiliates.

Create a list of C/U members, including community colleges, that are near your branch. Identify schools that have student organizations, which will help you find students who are already involved with AAUW. Use the Member Services Database to collect the names of the e-student affiliates in your area. This will help you determine your basic invitation list.

Who else should you invite? Consider expanding your graduation program guest list beyond e-student affiliates. Contact local C/U representatives, women’s centers, and student leadership offices to identify and recommend students who should be invited. The size of your invitation list will help you determine the size and scope of your event.

Step 2: Tailor the event to your audience and your branch.

Recognizing local college grads can be as easy as sending a congratulatory e-mail. Start your message with words of congratulations and encouragement and include information about AAUW, your branch, and the free membership available to recent graduates. Invite grads to reach out to a local AAUW branch or YWTF chapter wherever they begin their career.

If you decide to hold an event, work with your campus contacts to identify a location that suits your needs. Here are is an example of an event to consider:

  • Host a graduation reception for women in STEM Invite a doctoral student pursuing a degree in a related field to talk about her experiences and encourage students to persist in their career aspirations. You could even invite a fellow or grantee to speak at the event.
AAUW graduate cords. Buy them as gifts or buy them for yourself.

Buy an AAUW cord for your graduates today.

Step 3: Make it meaningful.

Make your event meaningful by highlighting the accomplishments of the graduating students. Event speakers should share words of encouragement with the students and explain how AAUW can be a lasting part of their lives. You could

  • share messages from faculty and administrators about the students
  • print a brief program book featuring each student
  • ask graduates to share their favorite college experience or proudest moment at the event

Step 4: Use available resources.

These AAUW resources can help make your event shine:

Have questions or additional ideas for recognizing your local graduates?



Two ladies in AAUW colors, one in a bright blue shirt, and the other with a blue and green paisley scarf, smile for a photo.

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You've gotten her this far ... Now give you grad the gift of membership. (It's free!)

Give a Grad a Gift

Current AAUW members can give unlimited FREE national memberships to college graduates who earned their degrees within the last two years.