WALLA WALLA, Wash.-- Whitman is among a growing number of U.S. colleges and universities around the country whose graduates are signing a pledge committing them to environmental and sustainable issues.


 Whitman’s Commencement program includes this promise: “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 organization for which I work.” Students who have taken the pledge will wear green ribbons at graduation ceremonies Sunday, May 21. Campus organizers estimate that more than half the class of about 400 will take the pledge, based on last year’s participation.


 Founded in 1987 at Humboldt State University, the pledge is now made by students at more than 100 colleges in the United States and abroad, including Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada; the Chinese Culture University, Taipei, Taiwan, and Manchester College, Indiana. Thousands of graduates will take the pledge for a number of reasons. Whitman senior psychology major Carlene Deits of Seattle, Washington, is coordinating the pledge signing at Whitman. One of the first to sign here this year, she explained her support:


 “After having the privilege to attend a school as academically and socially enriching as Whitman, this pledge signifies my commitment to give back the fruits of my education. I’ve learned the value of community, peace and active service, and I plan to incorporate these values into my future affiliations. The pledge reflects the important of social responsibility and a dedication to approach the work world with heightened awareness of our personal impact on the world around us. I am asked to look beyond the immediate appeal of a job—the position, pay, location—to its position on and contribution to greater systems such as society and environment. And beyond just awareness, the pledge calls for action. Rather than leaving jobs because of issues such as excessive waste or reliance on slave labor, we might consider staying and working for change. It seems to me that the greatest opportunity to change destructive and unsustainable tendencies of our potential employers is to work from an internal position grounded in collaboration.”




CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156

Email: parishlj@whitman.edu