Office of Sustainability encourages Panthers to take earth-friendly oath

Bianca Ordoñez/ Contributing Writer

The University began offering “earth-friendly” gowns made with molten plastic pellets from about 23 plastic bottles in 2011.

This year, seniors can also sign the Office of University Sustainability’s banner, pledging their eco-awareness. The banner will be presented at graduation and those who take the oath will boast a green ribbon on their gowns.

“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 oath reads.

The office’s initiatives include incentivizing students to walk, bike or carpool to school three or more times a week by giving them six free cab rides a year, and working in tandem with Housing and Residential Life to make sure all dorms are using biodegradable soap.

However, this project has seniors second guessing their view on the environmental crises.

“This is something that we need to do. We need to protect the Earth,” said Yunus Altug, a senior political science major. “[But] in reality, who knows where I will be working. If the only job offer I get doesn’t recycle, I would have to accept it.”

Altug said he may take the pledge, since he believes it is for a good cause.

Alexandra Dutton, interim assistant director of the Office of University Sustainability, said students should not let the potentiality of the lack of green-friendly job offers deter them.

“They shouldn’t be torn. This is a personal commitment that requires simple actions like turning off the lights when you leave a room,” Dutton said.

This spring marks the second year of the Green Graduation Pledge.

The Office of University Sustainability discovered it through the Graduation Pledge Alliance, whose mission, according to their website, is “to build a global community of responsible graduates improving society and the environment through the workplace.”

But the practice of environmentally friendly graduation at FIU goes back even further.

Since last spring, 5,000 people have pledged and Dutton thinks that number is going to continue growing.

“We have to take care of what we have,” Dutton said. “The Earth is our home.”

Dutton also mentioned that her organization has not started tabling for the Green Graduation  pledge. It will instead begin this process during commencement.

According to an article published by The Guardian, just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions. This statistic alarmed environmentalists worldwide. However, it has yet to convince many seniors entering the workforce.

Peter Lynch, senior economics student, said he would not sign the pledge unless he is asked by a friend.

“I think that not a lot of people understand the environmental crisis,” Lynch said. “They understand being broke much better.”

Additional reporting by Raul Herrera, Assistant News Director.

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