5 Ways Bruin Grads Can Celebrate Commencement Sustainably

Pollution and litter may be the last thing crossing the minds of the Class of 2024 as they complete their final assignments and tests, ascend a stage to accept their diploma, and then turn their cap tassel to the right, but celebrating responsibly is still important. Commencement creates an opportunity to practice sustainable habits and take lessons learned from Earth Day in the spring to graduation season – and hopefully into your life after UCLA. Here are five practices to help offset the carbon footprint of commencement.

1. Digitize Invites
Instead of paper announcements, create a digital version, using Evite or Paperless Post, for example.

2. Green Your Graduation Commute
Ride to the event sustainably by carpooling with friends, family, other supporters, or fellow graduates. You could even take the trip by bus or bike to arrive environmentally in style.

3. Eco-Friendly Photo Alternatives
While glitter and confetti seem fun and remain a popular option to feature on your Instagram Grid and TikTok to commemorate graduation, opt for environmentally unharmful items. Keep capturing the festivities creatively and eco-friendly with bubbles, dried flowers, hole-punched leaves, birdseed, or alternative confetti made of biodegradable or compostable materials.

Balloons are also bad for the planet. Switch them out for fun props instead. Make a statement and preserve a memory with a crafty sign, letter board, chalkboard, or picture frame. Maybe even pose with a plush teddy bear or blue and gold pompoms!

4. Upcycle That Gown
Don’t let your graduation attire be a one-time-use outfit that collects dust in the closet. Either return that regalia or donate it to a secondhand or thrift store.

5. Party Responsibly
Celebratory dinner at home? For the meal, try less meat and more vegetarian or vegan options, locally sourced eats, use reusable or compostable dining ware and cutlery, and send guests home with leftovers in reusable containers. And go with DIY decorations.

Reduce waste, help the planet, and still celebrate, making commencement sustainable and memorable. Find more tips to make your celebration as close to zero waste as possible in this blog post. Congratulations, Class of 2024!