As the senior class prepares for graduation, many efforts are being made to inform students about the realities of the real world. Members of Grassroots, the environmental action and awareness group on campus, have brought the Graduation Pledge to the UR campus.

The Graduation Pledge is a voluntary commitment to explore and consider the social and environmental consequences of any job in order to improve those aspects of any organization for which you may be affiliated.

Co-president of Grassroots and freshman Emily Reiss and other members of the organization have been working hard spreading the word about the Graduation Pledge. “We’ve been presenting to different SA groups, as well as undergraduate councils and some Greek organizations,” Reiss said. Grassroots has even given presentations to classes, including History of Christianity and a Religion Senior Seminar.

Students, namely targeted seniors, are asked to learn more about the pledge and sign it before graduation. Those who sign will wear a green ribbon on their graduation gowns as a public symbol of their commitment to the pledge.

The Graduation Pledge originated in 1987 at Humbolt State University in California. Since then, students at schools all over the nation, both public and private, have students participate in the pledge.

Fourteen point five million students graduate from college every year. Such a large group has enormous potential to impact society even with only a minority of job-seeking recent graduates. “It is important to encourage people to think of a job as more than just a way to make money, but also a away to create change,” Reiss said. “At the very least, it promotes a dialogue between people, about how to incorporate your values into a career.”

It is important to state that the pledge is not an attempt to condemn some jobs and praise others. Rather, the pledge encourages students to critically question and self-determine responsibilities and potential contributions when considering employment options.

Grassroots is trying to inform the entire student body about the pledge. “The pledge is not just for seniors or just for graduation,” committee member and senior Aadika Singh said. “It is for all students to consider and reflect upon at all times.”

Grassroots has been truly dedicated in gathering as many resources for students to use in order to stay committed to the pledge. “We are working with the Career Center to compile and display job search resources for students,” Singh said.

Furthermore, students are encouraged to talk with career counselors, begin a search online or simply look through the compilation at the Career Center.

Students take their pledge into graduation and beyond. Pledge signers sincerely commit to factoring social and environmental ramifications into their potential employment opportunities.

Grassroots realizes the amount of pressure and importance of getting employed after graduation. “Ideally, the student body will realize the power they have when choosing a job after graduation,” Reiss said. “It will obviously be a dynamic change in their lives, but most importantly, they also have the ability to make a significant change in someone’s life.”

Though students are preoccupied with finding a job that will bring in the most amount of money, organizers of the pledge are asking students to take a look at the bigger picture. “The point of the pledge is to foster a public dialogue where social and environmental concerns are discussed with the same overtness and openness as the predominant financial question,” Singh said.

In order to further educate students, a group of panelists consisting of employed members of the university and the Greater Rochester community will be addressing issues of social and environmental responsibilities in their work on April 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Students will have the opportunity to pose their own questions and receive frank responses.

Continuing in the traditions of Grassroots, the Earth Day Celebration will be held on the Wilson Quad on April 16 to spark more awareness and interest about our environment.

There will be chances for students to part take in morning community services, win prizes and learn some environmental trivia in the afternoon.

All students are invited to attend the different events and programs starting at 7 a.m. and ending at noon.

For more information on the Graduation Pledge go to or e-mail Grassroots at

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