Basic information for instituting a Graduation Pledge campaign...

Previous Page | Press Release 2002


Ivy League campuses, others across country support
Manchester College-based graduation pledge

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. — May 7, 2002 — Six years ago, Indianapolis resident Dana Nixon pledged on her college graduation day to consider jobs that are socially and environmentally friendly.

She did so by supporting the Manchester College-based Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility, which states: "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 organization for which I work."

In addition to the pact she made with herself to support the pledge, Dana publicly demonstrated her support of it by wearing a green ribbon on her gown during commencement exercises.

And she has remained true to the pledge these past six years.

After graduating from Manchester with a biology degree, the Fort Wayne native said, "I wanted a job where I could work for change to improve our current state of recklessness with nature, urban sprawl, energy consumption, and fossil fuel dependence."

While conducting a job search, Dana also did a lot of soul searching. When she began looking for environmental change organizations, she thought to herself, "Why not think globally and act locally?"

She’s been doing just that since June 1998 with the Indianapolis-based Hoosier Environmental Council. As the council’s Action Fund canvass director, the young woman leads teams of grassroots organizers to build support for the coalition’s campaigns. Dana said the teams do this by going door to door across Indiana.

But the pledge goes beyond Dana’s professional life. It’s also part of her personal life.

"I try not to support companies that are destructive to the environment," she said. "I work to purchase organic foods, clothing not made by sweatshop labor, and reused furniture."

Sinead Walsh, a 2000 Harvard University graduate and a pledge supporter, thinks much the same way.

Although she never considered herself the "environmental type," Sinead said the pledge led her to bring about change.

"I started making changes in my life such as turning off lights, trying to reuse and recycle," she said.

Sinead, a native of Dublin, Ireland, is currently in Rwanda working with Population Services International. She organized the pledge effort during her senior year at Harvard where it’s known as GradPledge.

Regardless of its name or the exact wording (the pledge reads the same on most campuses, while its wording is tweaked at others), the pledge has grown since Manchester College became the national headquarters in 1996 under the leadership of Dr. Neil Wollman. Students from about 100 campuses — ranging from small colleges such as Olivet and Skidmore to major universities such as Harvard and Stanford — are supporting the pledge this year, up from the handful that supported it six years ago. Seven of the eight Ivy League campuses are supporting it this spring.

For Dana, the pledge is about making a difference.

"It is a pledge to be a responsible citizen of the globe," she said. "It lets people know that decisions they make, even career choice, can make a serious impact on or for the environment."

For others, the pledge has meant establishing recycling programs at their places of employment, pushing for greater involvement of women in high school athletics, and eliminating racist language in a training manual among other actions.

Those actions, taken together, help to better the world, according to Dr. Wollman.

"Instituting the pledge gets at the heart of a good education and can benefit society as a whole," Neil Wollman, the coordinator, said. "Not only does it remind students of the ethical implications of the knowledge and training they received, but it can help lead to a socially-conscious citizenry and a better world.

Manchester College — an independent, liberal arts college located in North Manchester, Ind., and a college of the Church of the Brethren — offers more than 45 areas of study to more than 1,160 students from 23 states and 29 countries. Ninety-eight percent of its graduates find employment within six months of commencement. The public can visit the college’s Web site at


*The Graduation Pledge is one of the projects sponsored by the Peace Studies Institude of Manchester College

  • Manchester College
  • MC Peace Studies
  • The National Index of Violence and Harm
  • TIAA-CREF Campaigns for Social Responsibility: Social Choice for Social Change :: TIAA-CREF - Out of the Bad and Into the Good :: Pledge to a New Socially Responsible Fund


GPA, MC Box 135, Manchester College, 604 E. College Ave., North Manchester, IN 46962, or send e-mail to: