Graduation Pledge

Students graduating with the Concentration or Minor in Writing and Rhetoric will be given the option of joining the "Graduation Pledge Alliance." Initiated at Humboldt State University in California. The pledge reads as follows:

"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 [or write]." (Students define what being "responsible" means for themselves.)

The organizers report that more than 70 colleges and universities have enacted the pledge at some level, ranging from Whitman, to Harvard, to the University of Kansas. And more than 100 will be involved this year. Graduates who voluntarily signed the pledge have turned down jobs with which they did not feel morally comfortable and have worked to make changes once on the job. For example, pledging graduates have promoted recycling at their organizations, removed racist language from a training manual, worked for gender parity in high school athletics, and in one case, helped to convince an employer to refuse a chemical weapons contract.

Manchester College now coordinates the campaign effort, which has taken different forms at different institutions. At Manchester, it is a community-wide event coordinated by a diverse committee. Typically, 50 percent of students sign and keep a wallet-size card stating the pledge. Students and supportive faculty wear green ribbons at commencement, and the pledge is printed in the formal commencement program.

More information on the Alliance can be found here.

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