Graduation ceremonies go carbon neutral, offset through local nonprofit

April 28, 2010

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — This year, all Gator graduates will be “green” graduates.

Inspired by the carbon neutral 2009-2010 Gator athletic season, the O’Connell Center and the University of Florida continue to make strides toward the university goal of carbon neutrality by offsetting the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the University Auditorium and the O’Connell Center’s utilities during commencement ceremonies this weekend.

“We are always looking for new ways to be sustainable, and we are thrilled to contribute to the universitywide goal of carbon neutrality during this premier event on campus,” said Lynda Reinhart, director of the O’Connell Center.

The offsets, purchased through the local nonprofit Neutral Gator and coordinated with assistance from UF’s Physical Plant, help reduce UF’s footprint while simultaneously contributing to a more energy-efficient Gainesville. Making large events such as commencement carbon neutral also helps educate the Gator Nation of UF’s dedication to sustainability and how many different facets of the university can participate.

Additionally, more than 350 graduating students signed the Green Graduation Pledge, committing to carry the values of sustainability with them as they move on from UF.

The Office of Sustainability and the Student Government agency, Gators Going Green, joined to promote the pledge, tabling at various events throughout the spring term and at cap and gown pickup, in addition to adding an online capability to sign the pledge. The website will allow graduates to connect and reflect on sustainability in a global context, as well as stay informed and involved with sustainable developments at UF. A reception was held at Boca Fiesta on April 22 to honor this year’s signatories, foster new relationships, and celebrate these students’ commitment to spread sustainable change.

For more information about the pledge, visit