It’s Been Here How Long?

Clearing up Confusion About the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility


Brooke DiCicco

Seniors Lexi Werner and Claire Ashley man the graduation pledge-signing station at the grad fair on Tuesday.

Sienna Sullivan, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – 2022 marks 20 years since the inaugural Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility at Bridgewater College, and despite its long legacy at BC, some students are just learning about the pledge. 

“Until we got Robbie’s email about it last week, I’d never heard of the pledge,” said senior Lexi Lease.

Founded in 1987, the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility emplores all signers to “explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job [they] consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which [they] work.”

“It’s not something that requires students to do anything in particular,” said Chaplin Robbie Miller about waiting to advertise the pledge until students’ senior year. “It’s really a simple yet brilliant idea to invite graduating seniors who are about to go out into the world, to go out into that world with a commitment and a consciousness to social and environmental responsibility.”

According to the email from senior class officers and Miller, “taking the graduation pledge is entirely voluntary,” though its non-compulsory nature was lost on some students with its affiliation with this year’s grad fair. 

“Honestly I signed it to get my ‘passport’ stamped at the grad fair,” said senior Colton Allison. “Nothing against the pledge, I’m sure it means well, but I thought it was optional and the fair made it feel required.” 

Though the process of signing proved confusing for some, other students embraced the chance to sign the pledge. 

“I signed the pledge because I think it is important to promote equality within the workplace, revise specific protocols within the occupational setting and discuss potential changes with the supervisor,” said Senior Class Secretary Alexia Werner. 

“As an environmental science major wanting to go into conservation science work, I feel it’s important that I consider how potential employers’ business practices impact the environment, and to make sure that anywhere I’d want to pursue a career is reasonably invested in sustainability,” said senior Jacob Bentley.

Signing seniors receive a graduation pledge certificate as well as a green ribbon to wear at commencement and according to Miller’s projections, attendees will see a lot of green at this year’s ceremony.  

“Looking at the pile of signings thus far, it’s certainly going to be an excess of 200 students signing the pledge this year,” said Miller. 

Seniors still interested in signing the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility should email [email protected] by April 1.