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Senior pledge asks for commitment to social justice

Before this semester’s graduating class crosses the stage Friday evening, they will be asked to sign one more thing. This time, however, students will have the chance to sign and pledge for something they can stand up for in years to come.

This document, the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility, encourages students 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.”

Graduation Pledge Alliance (GPA) committee member Taylor Blackwell sees the pledge as the next step for graduates looking to help advance their workplace.

“The pledge is a way to publicly commit to working towards environmental and social justice in your workplace,” he said.

The goal of the pledge is to encourage students to be consciously aware of the social and environmental needs of the world and be willing to try to tackle these issues at their jobs.

Signers don’t have to advocate major change to be part of the movement, said Blackwell.

“You don’t have to join Greenpeace and fight whaling in Japan if you sign the pledge,” he said. “Even little things like implementing recycling in your workplace or encouraging your employer to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs are great.”

More than 125,000 students have signed the graduation pledge nationwide since its start in 1987. The pledge has been offered at Belmont since 2006. The university is the only school in Tennessee to offer it to students.

The GPA’s mission is to “build a community of responsible graduates improving the environment and society through the workplace.”

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