Reunion & Commencement Weekend Going Green

Posted 05/01/08
A new color will stand out against the traditional black and red regalia decorating Wesleyan University’s graduating class during its 176th commencement ceremony in May: Green.

As a symbol of the university’s dedication to producing Reunion & Commencement Weekend with an eye toward increased sustainability, graduating seniors, graduate students, faculty and staff members and attending guests will have the opportunity to don green ribbons indicating their agreement to the Wesleyan Community Climate Commitment.

The Climate Commitment was created as a result of Wesleyan President Michael Roth signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in November 2007. The document commits Wesleyan to reduce its environmental impact with the ultimate goal of climate neutrality.

“By wearing the green ribbons, we can personally support an environmentally conscientious and sustainable lifestyle during the commencement ceremony,” says Deana Hutson, director of events. “It’s a simple way to say ‘I care about global climate change.’”

In addition to this emblematic gesture, the university will implement a number of environmental initiatives throughout the four-day weekend, which brings an estimated 7,000 visitors to campus each year. These initiatives will include:

  • Most printed materials will be produced on at least 30 percent post consumer and wind generated electricity paper.
  • Bon Appétit, Wesleyan’s campus dining service, is committed to providing food that is fresh, seasonal and minimally-processed, and will purchase up to 20 percent of the food used throughout weekend from local farmers and other artisans located within a 150 mile radius of the university, utilizing organic products whenever possible.
  • Recycling resources will be widely available throughout campus, and the university with collect diploma covers and nametag holders for reuse.
  • Bon Appétit will collect waste for compost in all of its kitchens; composting will take place at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm.
  • Most disposable plastic items will be replaced with eco-friendly bio-ware, made from renewable sources like corn, sugarcane, and potato starch that break down in a way that is not as harmful to the environment.
  • Guests will have the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets to negate the greenhouse gases emitted as a result of their travel to Wesleyan.
  • Guests will be able to utilize a ride-share website in order to facilitate and encourage carpooling to and from campus.
  • Many of the communications sent about the weekend will be in electronic format, greatly reducing the total amount of paper used.
  • Hybrid vehicles may be utilized in place of some conventional shuttle vehicles for transporting guests around campus.

    Continuous updates regarding Reunion & Commencement Weekend greening initiatives will be online at

    More information on the Wesleyan Community Climate Commitment is online at