• 2010 graduate Sarah Gould models the new "green" commencement robes with Xan Koonce, associate director of University Events (Photo by Carlos Barron).

Members of the graduating class of 2010 have been instrumental in pushing Southwestern to embrace more environmentally friendly practices. So it is only fitting that their commencement ceremony will be Southwestern’s first “green” graduation.

The graduates will wear robes made of an acetate fabric that is made from wood sourced exclusively from renewable managed forests. The robes are biodegradable, so graduates who choose to can leave them to be composted after the ceremony.

The gowns come packaged in plastic that contains a special material to help it decompose as well.

“It is important that we be cognizant of the impact events like graduation have on the environment,” said senior Sarah Gould, who helped select the new robes as a student worker in the University Events Office. “Any way we can make graduation work the way it always has and be better on the environment is a good decision.”

Xan Koonce, associate director of University Events, said the disposable gowns are costing graduates only a few more dollars than last year. The gowns were ordered from Jostens Elements CollectionTM.

In addition to the “green” gowns, several other steps are being taken to lessen the impact the commencement ceremony has on the environment. The programs are being printed on recycled paper, the water stations will feature biodegradable products, and the menus will feature organic and locally grown produce and other food products.

For more information on commencement, visit     http://www.southwestern.edu/alumni/graduation/