Class of 2016 Goes Green

Graduation caps and gowns are made from plastic bottles

“What are you wearing?” is a question posed on runways around the world. Ask members of Montclair State’s Class of 2016 what they’ll be wearing to walk down the aisle at Commencement and the answer is simple: plastic.

This year, the students’ red and black graduation caps and gowns will be made from recycled plastic bottles.

“It takes 23 plastic bottles to make one GreenWeaver gown,” says Michelle Handal, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania Territory Representative for Oak Hall, which manufactures and sells the sustainable caps and gowns. “Since 2009, Oak Hall, along with the schools we service, has helped to remove almost 70 million plastic bottles from landfills.” Fully committed to sustainability, the company ships gowns to Montclair State in recyclable storage bags in cartons made of recycled cardboard.

Even the caps and gowns themselves are recyclable. Students can drop everything into recycling bins after the ceremony, so they can eventually be reprocessed into new products.

“Going green for graduation just makes sense,” says Jennifer Tunnicliffe, director of special events at Montclair State, which is ranked among America’s greenest campuses by The Princeton Review Guide to 353 Green Campuses: 2015 Edition. “It’s a choice that fully supports the University’s longstanding and overarching commitment to campus sustainability.”

Montclair State University makes sustainability a vital practice in everyday campus activities, ranging from instruction in classroom courses, project plans, building design, construction and refurbishing, green purchasing, green landscaping, energy and water use, waste management etc. Switching to sustainable graduation regalia is yet another way to foster its culture of environmental stewardship.  

According to Cari McGregor, who handles the University Bookstore’s orders for graduation regalia, 3,800 members of the Class of 2016 have ordered green robes.

Students graduating with undergraduate and graduate degrees will be able to pay for and pick up their regalia in the bookstore from May 5 through May 11 with valid Montclair State student IDs during the following bookstore hours:

  • 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 5; Monday, May 9; Tuesday, May 10; and Wednesday, May 11
  • 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, May 6
  • 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 7