ASU students feeling lucky to receive graduation ceremony despite pandemic

For the first time in about a year, Arizona State University is holding in-person graduations, but they still have a little bit of a twist to follow COVID-19 guidelines.

ASU seniors lined up to take turns to walk in their graduation ceremony on Wednesday, but it's different this year compared to the big crowds we usually see at graduations.

"I am super excited. I feel disappointed we don’t get to walk like normal, but I am happy we get this event to walk through and take our picture and still feel special," said Meghan Gast, ASU graduate.

RELATED: Arizona universities discuss mandating COVID-19 vaccines for students, staff

For most of 2020, students at most Arizona colleges and universities were taking classes online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The graduates had to book a reservation and line up with a small group of others graduating. Then they walk through campus, taking photos at five stops and finally, collect their diploma.

"It is a smaller ceremony to make sure we are planning, first and foremost, to make sure we are compliant with public health protocols and planning and putting them in groups on stage in a way that is safe," said Todd Sandrin, professor and dean in ASU New College and Vice Provost at ASU's West Campus.

RELATED: UArizona, ASU to hold in-person graduation ceremonies

Students say while it isn’t what they imagined, it's still a memory they can hold onto after an incredibly tough year.

"I am definitely very thankful for what we do get this year," Gast said.

2,000 students are graduating from West Campus and 18,000 total at all ASU campuses. Each campus doing something a little bit different to follow the guidelines.