University of Oregon

Day Sixty-Three

Caitlin H.

May 30, 2010 - 7:00 PM

The following takes place between 7:00pm and 8:00pm:


Sustainability. It seems like you hear that word everywhere these days. Even in Michigan.


My friend Rachel, who attends Cooley Law School in Michigan, has been showing me the greater sights of East Lansing while I'm out here in the east for a visit. Amidst our travels, I found myself describing to her and some other friends our new green ‘eco-friendly' graduation gowns. And by green, I mean ‘sustainable' AND stylish in color. I'll admit, I found the new tradition inspired, but odd. What good was the gown if all other universities wore traditional black? After being forced to purchase a graduation cap and gown, whom was I going to pass it on to? Could it actually be reused? Or was I just to take comfort knowing it would biodegrade more quickly. It isn't every day you see a college student in a green cap and gown.


Turns out you can see college graduates in green in Michigan too.


Michigan State is one of the top five campuses for sustainability. I have discovered a whole world of fun facts and interesting strategies for sustainable living!


-MSU uses the least electricity per square foot of Big Ten schools


-15 undergraduate majors have environmental focus


-Campus landfill waste decreased 1037 tons from the 2007-08 school year to the next


-A student organic farm grows produce for campus dining halls


-Campus dining halls buy produce from Michigan farms


And in 2010, started a new graduation tradition. This year was the university's first green commencement ceremony. Graduates donned caps and gowns made from recycled plastic bottles and accepted diplomas containing postconsumer content. Thirteen plastic bottles equaled one cap and gown. Some 58,000 plastic 20 ounce bottles were recycled to robe the spring 2010 graduating class, saving 16,500 yards of fabric. You have to admit, the green robes might be a little different, but that's pretty cool.


Little by little, I'm that much more convinced about being a Spartan, and convinced of these unusual, but sustainable graduation gowns.



Authors Note: This term I've decided to dissect my day one hour at a time to inform you about my college life. My own life set to the Fox Network's hit show "24." ...If only I were as sensational as Jack Bauer. In this ‘season' you can expect a thrilling and innovative drama complete with a few unforeseen plot twists.



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