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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Greener Cap An Gown

I feel privileged to part of the 2012 graduating class from Gonzaga. My graduation year marks the 125 anniversary of Gonzaga as a registered university. In honor of the Gonzaga's big birthday the university sent out a special request for a powerful and charismatic speaker. Arch Bishop, Sir Desmond Tutu will be speaking at my commencement. I'm ecstatic to hear Tutu speak (even though he has made some crude remarks about Canada). The man in a visionary who has fought for freedom against the oppression of apartheid. Tutu's courage and commitment to his beliefs earned him the 1981 Nobel Peace Prize. 

But that's not all, no, in addition to being blessed with one of the worlds most revered public speakers the 2012 GU class gets to "debut" GreenWeaver Academic Regalia.

GreenWeaver uses recycled plastic bottle to create the fabric of their academic attire including the "Cap and Gown." When I first heard that my commencement outfit would be made of used pop bottles I was apprehensive. I questioned the wear ability and the aesthetics of the gown. Fortunately, there was no alternative option. Either you bought the gown commissioned by Gonzaga or you don't walk.  Now, that I have the "Academic Regalia" in my possession I am pleased to report that the recycled gown surpasses my expectation.

GreenWeaver is supplying the academic regalia for 5% of the colleges and universities in the US for the 2012 commencement. Across the nation approximately 310,000 students will be modeling recycled and re purposed plastic bottles. GreenWeaver states that the 310,000 cap and gowns saved 9, 000, 000 plastic bottles from landfills. Each student, by wearing a gown saves the pollutant equivalent of 29 plastic bottles. The only fallacy though, is that after graduation I will never wear my "Academic Regalia" again. After Graduation my "cap and gown" will tossed, donated, disposed of.  The company does offer a gown recycling program to allow graduates to donate their gown to future graduates. At a cost of $100 for the Cap and Gown and no incentive to donate I wonder how many hypothetical water bottles will wind up back in land fills.

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