Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility
Below is a description of a college-based campaign that can make an impact upon the
wider world: a pledge by graduating seniors to consider the social and environmental
aspects of their jobs. We hope that you, personally, students/faculty/administration, can
promote the campaign at your institution, or can publicize it to others. (Our
computer center has requested that we ask you to please follow the guidelines of your
institution or organization regarding forwarding/posting of electronic information.)
GRADUATION PLEDGE OF SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
In 1987, Humboldt State University (California) initiated the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility. It 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." (students define what being "responsible" means to themselves). Dozens of colleges and universities have enacted the pledge, at schools which range in size from Earlham, to Harvard, to University of Kansas. Graduates who voluntarily signed the pledge have turned down jobs they did not feel morally comfortable with and have worked to make changes once on the job. For example, some have promoted recycling at their organization and in one case, a graduate helped to convince her employer to refuse a chemical weapons contract.
In 1996, Manchester College began coordination of the campaign effort, which has taken different forms at different institutions. At Manchester, it is a community-wide event coordinated by a diverse committee. Fifty to sixty percent of students sign and keep a wallet-size card stating the pledge, while students and supportive
faculty wear green ribbons at commencement and the pledge is printed in the formal commencement program. Depending upon the school, it might take several years to reach this level of institutionalization. If one can just get a few groups/departments involved, and get some media attention on (and off) campus, it will get others interested and build for the future. The project has been covered in newspapers around the country
(e.g., Chicago Tribune, Detroit News, and Cleveland Plain Dealer), as well as being covered on national radio networks and local T.V. stations.
The pledge helps educate and motivate students to contribute to a better world, and can be a focal point for other types of consciousness raising both on and off campus. Contact NJWollman@Manchester.edu for
information/questions/comments; or write GPA, MC Box 135, Manchester College, 604 E. College Ave., North Manchester, IN 46962. The Campaign also has a web site, at http://ARES.manchester.edu/department/peaceStudies/gpa.html . PLEASE KEEP US INFORMED OF ANY PLEDGE EFFORTS YOU UNDERTAKE, AS WE TRY TO MONITOR WHAT IS HAPPENING,AND PROVIDE PERIODIC UPDATES ON THE NATIONAL EFFORT.
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