May 13, 2003
Graduates Pledge to Seek Socially-Responsible Positions
Green Pledge a "Natural" for College by the Sea; Goal Is to Educate and Motivate Individuals to Contribute to Creating a Better World
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At this Sunday's commencement at Southampton College of Long Island University, green ribbons will adorn the gowns of many of the graduates - a signal that they are participants in the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility, promising to evaluate the broader consequences of any job they take. So far, about 30 percent of the graduates have signed on in advance, including co-valedictorians Katie Luxa and Daniela Gregory, with many others expected to sign the forms the day they are to receive their degrees.
The voluntary pledge, in its fifth year at Southampton College, where environmental and marine science students have the highest level of participants, reads: "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."
As the graduates begin the anxious job search process, they can show that they've added a sense of leadership and concern on social and environmental issues to their resumes. The pledge allows individuals to vow publicly to seek out companies that work to minimize pollution, or whose business practices are ethical, or non-discriminatory. It also permits individuals to define for themselves what they feel to be socially or environmentally responsible.
Southampton College is the only Long Island school involved in the pledge. They join students from prestigious, regional higher learning institutions including Fordham University, Columbia University, Hunter College, and Manhattan College, as well as over 130 universities nationwide - up from 100 last year, according to Neil Wollman, a psychology professor at Manchester College in Indiana, who serves as the overseer of the pledge-organizing efforts. The pledge is a "natural" for Southampton College, which has produced 37 Fulbright Scholars in the last 28 years from its top marine and environmental programs.
At the Southampton College commencement ceremony, volunteers will hand out green ribbons to those graduates who take the pledge. The language of the pledge is printed in the official commencement program.
Alan Alda will be this year's commencement speaker at Southampton College. He will also receive an honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from the College. Other honorary degree recipients include Marine Science Researcher Carl Safina, activist and children's book author Arlene Alda and Congressman Tim Bishop. Dr. David Steinberg, president of Long Island University, will confer degrees upon 293 undergraduates and 59 graduate students at this 37th annual commencement.