Green graduation gowns
Environmental friendliness is sooo in style right now. So much so that Harper College, located just outside Chicago, has switched to green graduation gowns.
The actual gowns are still official Harper blue. But once thrown away, these new robes will biodegrade within a year. Yeah, that kind of green.
But what if it rains on graduation day? What if you get a really sweaty senior? Can these eco-friendly gowns endure a post-graduation party?
The gowns (modeled in the photo by Harper grad Catherine Camastro) are part of Josten's The Elements Collection. The manufacturer promises that they look and feel just like traditional graduation gowns. They can withstand rain, and the biodegrading process doesn't start until the gown is buried in soil. They're made of a natural fiber that comes from renewable, managed forests. Plus the zipper is made of recycled plastic. Even the packaging is eco-friendly.
The college's old gowns? Not so earth-friendly, explains Maria Moten, dean of enrollment services and co-chair of the graduation committee.
The college used to rent gowns that were collected after the ceremony and dry-cleaned.
"Each time those were used, they had to be cleaned, pressed, transported by a truck and wrapped in plastic bags. All of that used an enormous amount of fuel and chemicals," Moten said.
The new gowns were approved by Harper's Green Committee, which is responsible for making campus more eco-friendly. Other planet-loving practices the college has undertaken: Reducing the amount of energy and water used, supporting a student environmental club, using green cleaning products and offering a host of environmental courses.
Harper isn't the only college going green on graduation day. Graduates of Hamilton College in New York will sport "comfortable 'greenweaver' regalia" made from recycled plastic bottles. Each gown is made from about 23 plastic bottles that might otherwise have landed in a landfill.
Is your college also greening up graduation? Let me know in the comments section.
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March 31, 2010; 4:05 PM ET
Categories: News Overload | Tags: Harper College
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