July 16, 2024

UMW Grads to Wear “Green” Regalia

Next May, University of Mary Washington graduating students for the first time will don eco-friendly caps and gowns as part of the university’s ongoing move toward greater sustainability.

The apparel, offered through the university’s current commencement materials provider Jostens, is made of acetate fabric fiber that uses natural wood exclusively sourced from renewable, managed forests. Scientific research shows the material decomposes in soil in one year.

Other environmentally-friendly features of the regalia include Eco-Zip coil zipper tape and teeth made from 100 percent recycled plastic. In addition, the plastic cap-and-gown bag contains material that facilitates the decomposition process.

Tori Wong, UMW student sustainability coordinator, said the purchase of earth-friendly graduation regalia is another example of the university’s dedication to sustainability.

“It makes me very proud to be a part of such a committed university,” Wong, who graduates in May 2011, said. “It’s exciting to me that Mary Washington has recognized the environmental impact of purchasing 1,000 student graduation gowns every year and has embraced a better solution to celebrating college graduation in style.”

In the fall of 2009, UMW established the President’s Council on Sustainability, comprised of students, faculty and staff, to continue developing initiatives that encourage an environmentally conscious campus.

Known as the Elements Collection™, the apparel also provides students the opportunity to support the environment through the Student Give-Back Program. Each graduation gown hang tag contains a unique code students can enter online. For each code redeemed, Jostens contributes $1 in support of environmental sustainability.

The university will unveil the sustainable regalia at the UMW bookstore during Senior Days in March.

UMW joins a growing list of schools that are moving toward sustainable regalia, including Georgetown University, the College of William and Mary, Christopher Newport University and Davidson College.

In addition, this year for the first time, UMW has decided to use premium recycled paper for the personalized graduation announcements used by the graduates.

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.