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Bonner Partner > Graduation Pledge Alliance

Page history last edited by Sherman Morrison 8 years, 8 months ago Saved with comment


Graduation Pledge Alliance


Bentley College

175 Forest Ave 

Waltham, MA 02542




Contact Information

Lead Contact: Sherman Morrison, Executive Director

Contact Phone: 781-891-2529

Contact EmailGA_GPA@bentley.edu


Organization Description: Humboldt State University (California) initiated the  Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility. It states, "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."


Students define for themselves what it means to be socially and environmentally responsible. Students at over a hundred colleges and universities have used the pledge at some level. The schools involved include small liberal arts colleges (Colgate and Skidmore); large state universities (Oregon and Utah), and large private research universities (University of Pennsylvania and Stanford).  The Pledge is also now found at graduate and professional schools, high schools, and schools overseas (e.g., in Malaysia, Taiwan, Canada, and Australia). Manchester College now coordinates the campaign effort, which has taken different forms at different institutions. At Manchester, it is a community-wide event involving students, faculty, and staff. Typically, over fifty percent of students sign and keep a wallet-size card stating the pledge, while students and supportive faculty wear green ribbons at commencement and the pledge is printed in the formal commencement program. Depending upon the school, it might take several years to reach this level of inst itutionalization.  If one can get a few groups/departments involved, and get some media attention on (and off) campus, it will get others interested and build for the future. The project has been covered in newspapers around the country (e.g., USA Today, Washington Post, Associated Press, and Chronicle of Higher Education), as well as being covered in magazines (e.g., Business Week), national radio networks (for instance, ABC), and local T.V. stations (like in Ft. Wayne, IN).


Graduates who voluntarily signed the pledge have turned down jobs they did not feel morally comfortable with and have worked to make changes once on the job. For example, they have promoted recycling at their organization, removed racist language from a training manual, worked for gender parity in high school athletics, and helped to convince an employer to refuse a chemical weapons-related contract.

In a sense, the Pledge operates at three levels: students making choices about their employment, schools educating about values and citizenship rather than only knowledge and skills; and the workplace and society being concerned about more than just the bottom line. Think of the impact if even a significant minority of the one million college graduates each year signed and carried out the Pledge.




Issue Area(s):

  • Social and Environmental Issues
  • Sustainability in the workplace and beyond


Type(s) of Bonner Partnership Connections:

  • Alternative Break Site
  • Internship opportunity
  • Educational opportunity
  • Job opportunity
  • Resource Provider



Multiple Internship Positions


Internship Description:

GPA Outreach Coordinator

This internship is focused on recruiting new schools to participate in a robust Graduation Pledge program on their campus. All activities for this internship are conducted either online or by voice, primarily using email and telephone, so the intern can do the work from whatever location is convenient for her or him. An initial list of schools and potential primary contacts will be provided to the intern from the Executive Director, along with communication protocols and scripts. Data will be collected and conveyed via MS Excel or MS Word.


GPA Partner School Support Coordinator

This internship is focused on supporting schools that are already engaged to some extent in the Graduation Pledge on their campus. The intern maintains contact with the Pledge organizer(s) on a campus, notifying them of new procedures and developments, as well as making sure the partner school has the support they need to be conduct a successful Graduation Pledge program. All activities for this internship are conducted either online or by voice, primarily using email and telephone, so the intern can do the work from whatever location is convenient for her or him. Working with the GPA Executive Director, a work plan will be developed that will include making an initial assessment of the level of engagement with the Graduation Pledge at a school, subsequently determining what support would be needed for the school to further enhance its GPA activities on campus.


GPA Resource Development Coordinator

This internship is focused on identifying resources that will support Pledgers in their post-collegiate activities, including careers (for those looking for jobs in sustainability or to bring sustainability into their workplaces, lifestyles (for those seeking to make more sustainable choices in their day-to-day lives), and education (for those seeking further education in sustainability). All activities for this internship are conducted either online or by voice, primarily using email and telephone, so the intern can do the work from whatever location is convenient for her or him.


Internship Start/End Dates: Flexible


Application Process:

Students interested in applying for one of the above positions should send an email message with a cover letter, resume, and a brief letter of reference from someone at their school (such as an academic adviser, professor, etc.) as PDF attachments to GPA Executive Director Sherman Morrison at gmorrison@antioch.edu


Application Deadline: Ongoing


Stipend Provided?: Not at this time, but we keep hoping!

Housing Provided?: Not applicable

Hosted Bonners before?: Not that I know of




Service Opportunity


Service Opportunity Description:




Service Opportunity Start/End Dates:




Resource Opportunity

Resources Available



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