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04-29-2011

Eco-gowns and More for Sustainable Clarkson University Commencement

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/eco-gown.jpg .]

“Eco-gowns” will be the uniform of the day for graduates walking across the stage on May 7 as Clarkson University works toward a sustainable commencement.

Senior Jennifer M. Hinrichs of Gouverneur, N.Y., models Clarkson University’s “eco-gown.”The students will be wearing graduation gowns that decompose more easily with fiber made of wood from renewable, managed forests.

The regalia was developed using 100-percent acetate material, which is proven to decompose in soil in a year. In addition, the coil zipper tape and teeth are made from 100-percent recycled PET. The robes’ earth-friendly packaging contains material that facilitates the decomposition process of the cap and gown bag. When a student redeems his or her regalia hang tag code online, the manufacturer, Jostens, will also contribute $1 to support environmental sustainability.

Centerpieces at the weekend’s special events will include locally-grown herbs that will be replanted after commencement in the Campus Dining kitchen garden. Clarkson will also purchase floral items for the stage and urns that can be replanted outdoors.

More communications to students regarding commencement have also gone out via e-mail to save paper and fuel. And signs and name badge supplies are reused as much as possible.

“Efforts to make our commencement more sustainable are one component of our overall campus effort to reduce the environmental footprint, while still providing the services and activities that are essential for college life,” said Associate Director for Sustainability and Spence Professor Susan E. Powers. “The commencement committee and its chair, Christina Lesyk, are setting a great example for the campus as a whole by showing that incorporating sustainability into all campus functions is possible and valued.”

Early this month, Clarkson was named one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada by the Princeton Review in its Guide to Green Colleges.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Senior Jennifer M. Hinrichs of Gouverneur, N.Y., models Clarkson University’s “eco-gown.”

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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