GPA Updates Log

Graduation Pledge Alliance - 7th Update for 2003-2004
Hello Pledge Organizers: 
Good luck leading up to your graduation – for some a week or two away, for others well over a month. Looks like we’ll have over 130 schools and several countries involved this year ! Don't forget to utilize the materials at the web site (

At the bottom here is the press release we and Manchester’s Public Relations Office uses at the national level. In evolving form over the years, it has gained us much prominent media attention (USA Today, Business Week, Washington Post, etc.—and nearly got us on national TV a couple of times. On your own or with your school’s PR department, please send this out.   When you use  it locally, modify as you see fit and add a bit about your own Pledge effort, school, and contact info.  The Pledge has been mentioned on local TV and we recommend you trying that in addition to newspapers (and an accompanying phone call really helps, we’ve found). Media attention helps raise public consciousness and can also help campus organizing for next year..

Whenever you have the information, but please before you leave for the summer, let me know the following:

                  1.   Who will be your school's pledge contact(s) for next year (even if it's still you, please let me know, as a lack of a response indicates to me that you are gone permanently, making it difficult and time consuming to reach the new contact next year, if one exists). Of course, we hope that that person is the rep of some permanent organization/department/program so that the effort will continue year to year.

                  2.   A report on what has or will happen at your school (fine to respond now even if graduation has not yet taken place). We realize folks are at different stages regarding the Pledge—from full institutionalization of the project on campus to barely beginning work on it. Whatever you can tell us is fine, with the more types of info you can provide, the better: what Pledge activities you did this year, how many signed the pledge and what % of students that represents, what materials were given to pledge signers – cards/ribbons/certificates, what (will) happened on graduation day, what media--on and off campus--covered the pledge, or have been contacted.

· One component of the pledge effort that hasn’t progressed as much as we would like is staying in contact with graduates after they leave school. This is very important for keeping graduates attuned to their pledge commitment. Some do this, but not many. Remember, the real value of the Pledge is what happens after graduation. Possibilities include newsletters, an email list (or listserv) for all those taking the pledge (perhaps separated by class year once enough classes/folks are on board), or tying into already existing email lists for your school. And work with your alumni office so they get out word to graduates in their mailings, publications, visits with alumni, etc. There is a piece on our web site ( gives hints on working with that office—and one for working with Career Services, as well. 


Of course, all of these you might report on are also hints for next year and have been done by one campus or another!! Many are ways of making the Pledge permeate the campus so students think about social responsibility on the job in contexts beyond just signing the Pledge. A few schools are trying to do follow-up of one sort or another with Pledge signers. Great if you can do that this year or build in for next year. We are always looking for examples of folks carrying out the Pledge.  





Neil Wollman; Ph. D.; Senior Fellow, Peace Studies Institute; Professor of Psychology; Manchester College, North Manchester, IN 46962;; 260-982-5346; fax 260-982-5043



                                                                        Graduation Pledge supporters seek socially, environmentally friendly jobs


NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. –  May 1, 2004--At colleges and universities across the nation, soon to be grads are taking a pledge to seek environmentally and socially responsible jobs.  They will be sporting bright green ribbons on their commencement gowns, and, despite a difficult job market, may even turn down job opportunities to fulfill their Graduation Pledge.


Graduates of  universities large and small are promising that once on their new jobs, they will champion environmental and social responsibility.  That could be as basic as starting or supporting a paper recycling program, or as bold as lobbying their CEO to refuse a chemical weapons-related contract.  The Graduation Pledge Alliance is what the ribbon-wearers make of it; it’s an individual voluntary decision.  They work on company wellness programs, help re-write employee manuals and coordinate diversity programs and food drives.


"Instituting the pledge gets at the heart of a good education and can benefit society as whole," says Dr. Neil J. Wollman, coordinator of the Alliance, which is based at Manchester College in northeast Indiana.  "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."


The pledge has grown since Manchester College became the national headquarters in 1996 under Wollman’s leadership.  Students from well over a hundred campuses, ranging from small colleges such as Olivet and Colgate to the powerhouse Harvard and Stanford universities are supporting the pledge this year, up from the handful seven years ago. Over half the eight Ivy League campuses are on board at some level and now the pledge is in several other countries.


Humboldt State University in California created the 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 organizations for which I work.”


The pledge ranks now include some high schools and graduate schools, and universities and schools overseas.  Many who take the pledge carry it on a wallet-sized card. At some universities, the pledge appears in commencement programs.


“Think of the impact if even a significant minority of the 1 million college graduates each year sign and carry out the Pledge,” says Wollman. “Or what if applicants turned down jobs and told their potential employers the ethical reasons why they did so?”


Although 2000 Harvard University grad Sinead Walsh never considered herself the "environmental type," 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 says.  After graduation, Sinead, a native of Dublin, Ireland, worked in Rwanda with Population Services International.  She had organized the pledge at Harvard during her senior year.


For Dana Nixon, who took the pledge seven years ago at Manchester College, it’s about making a difference. "It is a pledge to be a responsible citizen of the globe," she says. "It lets people know that decisions they make – even career choice – can make a serious impact on or for the environment."


The independent, liberal arts Manchester College is located in North Manchester in northeast Indiana. It is a college of the Church of the Brethren, and offers more than 45 areas of study to more than 1,140 students from 22 states and 29 countries.  Ninety-five percent of Manchester College graduates find employment within six months of commencement.  To learn more about the college, visit its web site at To learn more about the Graduation Pledge Alliance, contact Wollman at ; 260-982-5346.