A Letter to Graduating Students
April 20, 2001 ...................... The Pledge as used at Manchester College
To: The Graduating Class of 2001
"I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work."
Whether you take the pledge is voluntary. It allows people to determine for themselves what they consider to be environmentally and socially responsible.
Different universities have had different levels of official administrative and faculty participation in supporting the pledge and in having recognition of the pledge be an official part of the graduation ceremony. For example, at Humboldt State University tables have been placed near the graduation stage for students to voluntarily sign the pledge.
Manchester College started supporting the pledge in 1988, a year after its inception at Humboldt State University. In 1996 Manchester became the headquarters for the Graduation Pledge Alliance (GPA), the national pledge effort, which further emphasizes Manchester's leadership. Over the years, typically 50 percent of students have worn green ribbons at commencement in recognition of the pledge. To our knowledge, Manchester was the first to wear ribbons, and now most other colleges and universities do also. In addition, a note in the program describes the pledge and explains why students, faculty, and staff are wearing the ribbons. For those who wish to participate, decorative certificates will be available (to keep) at the upper union desk during the week of finals, if not before. Participants should also sign and keep the small wallet card received with this mailing, to serve as a reminder of their commitment. There is no need to hand any of the materials back.
We have recognized that the pledge can be supported by anyone who wants to be intentional about the responsibility of his or her employment. It is our hope that your support of the pledge will contribute to the cooperative effort to build responsible citizenship for a sustainable world. The pledge is a serious commitment and MC pledge signers have taken actions such as turning down jobs they did not feel ethically comfortable with (and letting their potential employers know why); promoting environmentally friendly efforts while on the job; or in one case, an alumna talked with her employer and a potential chemical weapons contract was not accepted.
Please do not sign the pledge card or wear a green ribbon on graduation day unless you intend to fulfill the commitment.
Volunteers will be present prior to morning baccalaureate and afternoon commencement to hand out green ribbons and pins to those graduates who endorse the pledge, as well as to supportive faculty members. Your wearing a ribbon will make a public statement of your intent to consider the well-being of the world and its inhabitants both when you consider job possibilities and after you are on the job.
Student Alumni Council Representative
[Senior Fellow, Peace Studies Institute]
Professor of Psychology
MC Box 135
Executive Director, Alumni Association
MC Box 22