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Going green at graduation

UNL’s summer graduates will wear “green” at commencement exercises Aug. 12 and 13 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Not the color green — the environmental green. Sustainable academic regalia will be used for the first time. The color of the gowns will still be the traditional academic black.

The new Jostens Elements Collection fabric for the traditional commencement gown was developed using 100 percent acetate material, proven to decompose in soil in one year. The gowns are made from sustainably harvested wood pulp, and zippers are made from 100-percent recycled PET. Earth-friendly packaging contains a biofilm material that facilitates the decomposition process of the cap and gown bag.

The cost of the green regalia is slightly higher than standard regalia ($14 more), said Jennifer Verhein, assistant director of Registration and Records, who oversees commencement. But the trend is to sustainability, and students, faculty and administrators have been asking for earth-friendly options.

The debut of the green regalia coincides with an Earth-friendly-themed commencement, to include speaker John Rosenow, founder and chief executive officer of the Arbor Day Foundation. Stage decorations at the ceremonies will be selected by UNL Landscape Services, who will plant them on campus afterward.

“Our plan is for stage greenery for all future August commencement ceremonies to be selected by Landscape Architecture and incorporated into the Graduation Garden or other campus landscaping,” Verhein said.

The ceremonies include one for postgraduate degrees at 3 p.m. Aug. 12 and one for baccalaureate degrees at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 13. Approximately 800 students will receive diplomas, some 430 for master’s, doctoral and law degrees and about 370 for baccalaureate degrees.

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