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Group discusses ‘green’ gowns

Marisa Iati | Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Student Senate discussed the option of an environmentally-friendly commencement gown and a potential human rights event series at its meeting Wednesday night.

Interim University Registrar Chuck Hurley said Balfour, the University’s commencement gown vendor, now offers an environmentally-friendly gown made of 23 plastic bottles.

Students could purchase the new gowns for $45, which is approximately the same price as renting the current gowns for two days, Hurley said. The new gowns would not be available for rent. 

“You can take [the new gowns] home with you to take pictures,” Hurley said. “If you want, after the ceremony, we’d have recycling bins that you can put them in. You also can put them in a recycling bin back home, and it would go right through and become plastic.”

The Notre Dame emblem could be added to the black gowns, but Hurley said he does not recommend this option.

“It’s an additional $6 charge if you add a crest to it,” he said. “I would like to not add the crest just because of that extra price.”

Hurley said seven of the eight Ivy League schools currently use these “green” gowns.

“It’s what most institutions have switched to or are switching to right now,” Hurley said. 

For every gown sold, Hurley said Balfour would donate 25 cents to a University sustainability initiative. This would amount to approximately $600 to $700 per year.

“If this is something you’re interested in, then I would take it forward with the University [Office of] Business Operations,” Hurley said.

Student body president Pat McCormick said collaboration between the Athletic Department and the student body is an ongoing conversation.

“We might be exploring some combination of an advisory council to the Athletic Department and also striving to solidify relationships with student government in the halls so athletics can know how to engage [with students] more actively,” he said.

McCormick said student government is also engaged in an ongoing effort to host a human rights series at Notre Dame this spring. The event would have a Saint Patrick’s Day theme.

“Our proposal would involve an internationally recognized event consultant who has done events of this type before, and our hope is that the University would find this proposal worth pursuing,” McCormick said. “This is part of the effort that we’re trying to advance this year in terms of this argument that students can serve as partners in the project of advancing the Notre Dame mission and that student government can work simultaneously on both issues of convenience and issues of consequence.”