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Southern goes green with its caps, gowns from recycled plastic bottles

11/07/2013

 

Southern University is working to "Go Green" and one big step is to change the graduation caps and gowns for ones made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

 

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Brandon Dumas said "This fall's graduating class will be the first to don new gowns made entirely of 100 percent recycled plastic bottles, the product of a joint effort by the Student Government Associations, Campus Bookstore, and Student Affairs to 'Go Green' for commencement."

 

The new caps and gowns, produced by GreenWeaver, are softer, lighter and good for the environment and for Southern's campus. They are even a few dollars cheaper for the undergraduate gowns than last year.

 

Each gown is made of around 23 plastic bottles. Essentially, Southern students are helping to keep these bottles out of the landfills.

 

University Campus Bookstore Store Manager John Dyer took the idea of going green with the caps and gowns to Dumas and SGA President Simone Bray after attending a Sustainability Week event held at Southern.

 

Dyer said the supplier for SU's caps and gowns, Oak Hall Cap & Gown, is part of the GreenWeaver Movement that produces these recycled plastic gowns. Dyer thought it would be good to have Southern join the movement.

 

"We are promoting more of Follett's sustainability efforts and trying to help the school be more conscience of the reduce, reuse and recycle," said Dyer.

 

Follett Higher Education Group, which owns the University Bookstore, is an advocate for recycling and being green through the recycled shipping cartons, and textbook recycling.

 

Other universities and colleges have already started using caps and gowns made of recycled plastic bottles. Dyer said that Southern may be the first among Historically Black College and Universities to use the recycled gowns.

 

Southern plans to go further with the 'Go Green' campaign.

 

"Innovative sustainability efforts such as these are glowing examples of our commitment to cleaner, safer communities," Dumas said. "The Division of Student Affairs, and the institution as a whole, will continue to identify new ways to create a cleaner, safer, and more forward-leaning environment in our state."

 

After the commencement next month, students who don't want to keep their gowns can place them in boxes that will be stationed around the F.G. Clark Activity Center. GreenWeaver will recycle them for use in future graduation ceremonies.

 

Students can order their gowns until Friday without any late fees added.