Quinnipiac Grads Go Green

Quinnipiac students wear caps and gowns made of recycled bottles

Quinnipiac Grads Go Green
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Quinnipiac Grads Go Green

About 1,400 students will receive their degrees this Sunday at Quinnipiac University’s commencement ceremony. They’ll be wearing the traditional-looking cap and gown. But as WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports, these gowns are made from recycled bottles. 

When the Virginia-based cap and gown manufacturer Oak Hall approached Quinnipiac with its new “green weaver” regalia, the school’s Maria Bimonte called in some students to weigh in on the decision. She asked them to guess which was the new fabric and which was the traditional cap and gown. “All of them guessed wrong,” Bimonte laughed.

“All of them thought that the gown that was coarser in texture, that was a little bit more wrinkled, a little bit more shiny, all of them thought ‘gee this must be the gown that’s recycled because its not as nice as the other gown.’ “

The breathable fabric is woven from plastic pellets made from recycled water and soda bottles. It takes about 23 of the old bottles to make one gown. And the mortar board contains recycled cardboard. Bimonte says each gown costs about 7% more than the traditional ones. But the graduates have the option of leaving the gowns at Quinnipiac so they may be used again by future students.

For WNPR, I’m Nancy Cohen.