Graduation Going Green

At the SUNY-ESF/Syracuse University 2012 Commencement celebration on May 13, nearly 98,000 plastic bottles were on display in the Carrier Dome, not in their original container shape, but in the form of 3,900 graduation gowns worn by students.

SUNY ESF & Syracuse University commencement courtesy of SUNY ESF

For the first year, all of the custom-designed SU blue and SUNY-ESF green undergraduate gowns, along with the traditional master’s black gowns, are certifiably sustainable. Each gown is made from Repreve Fabric, which uses fibers produced from approximately 25 post-consumer plastic bottles per gown that otherwise would be destined for a landfill. The Herff Jones Collegiate Caps & Gowns Co. has made this sustainable option available to SU and SUNY-ESF by offering its ReNew line of gowns, made using the Repreve fabric. Herff Jones also ships all of the gowns in recycled or recyclable materials.Meagan Pepper, a SUNY-ESF senior who served as a class marshal during Commencement, says using recycled gowns is a great initiative.

“It’s something the students and their families will be excited to hear about, especially since they mentioned how many bottles went into the gowns,” says Pepper, an environmental studies major from Plattsburgh, N.Y. She says the gowns will make a nice keepsake to remind SUNY-ESF and SU students about the sustainability lessons they learned during their college years.

ESF graduates wore the same gown during the college’s Convocation Saturday afternoon.

The new sustainable gowns are identical in design to those of years past. SUNY-ESF bachelor degree graduates wear green gowns, featuring the SUNY-ESF seal and a white stripe around the wristband-all of which are provided free to undergraduate candidates.

At GenerationSUNY we think this is a great green initiative, what ways would you like to see your school Go Green with their commencement?

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Author: Megan Wolszczak

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