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Every place we could graduate that’s better than UEA Sportspark

Are we even going to be allowed to wear heels on the basketball court floor?


The revelation from UEA that this year's graduates would be doing the honours in the Sports Park has been met with some very mixed reviews, shall we say.

Yes, some people do live at the gym, take swimming seriously or maybe even go to weekly zumba. Let's face it though, some of us have never stepped foot in the Sportspark in our whole time at UEA. Also, even if the Sportspark is a massive part of your life, who really wants to graduate your three years of uni and receive your degree there? We had a look at some alternative options.

The Cathedral

I'm not religious and neither are lots of others, but I am of the opinion the Cathedral (or the other of the TWO that Norwich has) would have been a beautiful place to graduate. Look at that ceiling! The building itself would have made a stunning backdrop for graduation pics and been close enough to bars in Tombland, so we could have gone out for celebratory cocktails after the ceremony (even if your grad ceremony is at 9:30am, who cares, you just graduated!)

Of course, it's totally fair enough that some people wouldn't be happy to the use of a Christian place of worship for their grad ceremony, for reasons explored here, amongst others, so here's some more alternatives.

UEA Lake

If you're set on having it on campus, and you're worried about capacity, just sell tickets with the small print that reads 'please bring own deckchair'. Few gazebos, a pop-up stage, friendly dogs out on walks, sunshine, a few tinnies from the shop or a snakebite from red bar and bam – graduation? Sorted.

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don't spill on the rented grad gown though


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Graduating is a pretty big 'gig', right?

Let's go all out and graduate at the LCR. Imagine the scene: Mortar Boards with the Damn Good logo on, VKs being thrown and Mr Brightside on loop – it sounds horrific, but it's very UEA, and surely that's the point – right?

Earlham Park

Norwich Football Club means nothing to me, nor does the Sportpark and I'd like to see the grad ceremonies held somewhere sunny and neutral (well, if we can count on the British weather). Think along the lines of the Radio One Big Weekend in Earlham Park in 2015. Hey, lets go full Grease and get some ferris wheels and dodgems for extra 'capacity'. If they can do it for Freshers ball why not for grad?

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much better than squeezing into a gym

How about the Forum? Seriously, the Forum

Big, grand and expensive-looking, and the best bit – it's made of glass so you can invite your whole family along to watch without having to pay for more than 2 tickets! Line up the aunties and siblings outside and then photos in the upstairs Pizza Express overlooking the beloved Norwich Market and Peter Mancroft's. They hold events all the time. Ideal.

The Sainsbury Centre

On UEA campus, tick. Glass windows for extra family to peep in, tick. Part of the city's culture and arts heritage, tick. Beautiful and close to the lake for nostalgic photo opportunities, tick. Two rather nice cafes to choose from while you wait… A prime candidate for graduating. No religious or sport affiliation, just big and bright and beautiful, surrounded by artwork and relevant to Norwich. (sigh)

Even somewhere like the Plantation Gardens? Thomas Paine lecture theatre? Cromer Pier? All of them would probably get complaints too, but I'd prefer them to the current decision and so would some others by the looks of it…

Anyway, we can't blame them for this choice. It's not like we live in a city full of theatres, cathedrals, parks, galleries and a massive castle to choose from. Why wouldn't you choose to hold your best academic achievement to date in a place that smells of your housemate's gym trainers?