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Northwestern College to Again Feature Eco-Friendly Caps & Gowns!

Northwestern College President Lawrence Schumacher announced that this year’s graduates will again wear environmentally-friendly caps and gowns at commencement, with this year’s regalia coming from the Jostens Elements Collection™. Elements™ regalia is truly sustainable as it starts from nature and returns to nature. The continued use of environmentally-friendly regalia is in support of Northwestern College’s efforts toward sustainability and its mission to go green. With each endeavor, whether big or small, Northwestern College continues to move forward with its goal of reducing its carbon footprint, and doing its part in preserving our environment.

An estimated 275 graduates are expected to participate in Northwestern College’s commencement ceremony scheduled on Friday, June 19 at the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place, with each graduate donning the ecologically friendly regalia. While the gowns look and feel the same as traditionally made caps and gowns, by using this particular type of gown, which is also packaged using eco-friendly materials, the College is able to convey one final message on the importance of sustainability.

This is the fourth year Northwestern College has utilized eco-friendly lines of regalia for its commencement ceremonies. Sustainable caps and gowns have been well-received and appreciated in the past by the graduates and staff who have worn them at previous ceremonies.

The Jostens Elements™ regalia is unique in that it is sustainable from the way it starts – from nature – as well as the way it finishes – it returns to nature. First, the fibers in the gown are sourced from renewable managed forests. The fabric itself contains 57% bio-based content by weight, which is far above the 25% certification minimum. In addition, the zipper tape and teeth used in the front of the gown are made from 100% recycled PET, which is one of the most widely recycled plastics. When the gowns are no longer of use and are disposed of, since their make-up includes USDA certified bio-based products, the fabric is proven to decompose in soil within just one year, as shown in scientific tests under controlled conditions.

Northwestern College was also pleased with the fact that not only does Jostens provide an eco-friendly product – the regalia – but it employs the use of earth-friendly plastic packaging when transporting the individually wrapped caps and gowns to the College, specially prepared for each graduate. Jostens’ packaging contains ECM Bio Films™, a material that facilitates the decomposition process and has been proven to decompose in landfills within reasonably short periods of time.

Lastly, through the use of Jostens Elements™ regalia, one final message is imparted on the students regarding sustainability, encouraging each of them to continue to play their part in preserving our environment. Each gown comes with a large tag that educates the graduates about the gown and encourages their participation in Jostens Student Give Back Program. For every response received, Jostens donates $1 to an environmentally sustainable project. To date, Jostens has reported that through the Student Give Back Program, it has currently donated over $20,000 to The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit that is the world’s leading conservation organization.

“Northwestern College remains committed to increasing its sustainability,” commented President Schumacher. “We will continue to do all that we can, through efforts both large and small, to reduce the College’s own carbon footprint as well as instill ecological compassion into our student body. It is our hope that our students will carry on this commitment after they leave Northwestern College, doing all that they can to sustain our environment well into their futures.”