Hello CCCU Students!
I’m Alexis Galvan, a bilateral exchange student from Humboldt State University, a small university located in Northern California, nestled between some of the world’s tallest redwood trees, and wondrous beaches we refer to as The Lost Coast. It’s always been a goal of mine to travel back to the motherland of England, and explore the roots of America, and I’m delighted to spend this term at Christ Church, in the beautiful and historic city of Canterbury.
Since I’m only here for 3 months, I aspire to leave my mark and influence in the hearts and minds of students abroad. At my home institution, I am the Coordinator of a program called The Graduation Pledge Alliance. The Graduation Pledge Alliance is a symbolic pledge created by a group of students in 1987, it states:
“I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work.”
The idea of the pledge was brought up in a time where monetary acquirement was becoming the main focus of the professional world, with a growing disregard for the diminishment of Earth’s natural resources. These students recognized the danger of this idea seeping into the minds of impressionable college graduates, and sought to create a movement to remind them of values that should be kept in mind.
28 years later, the efforts of these students have not gone unnoticed. I am here today to spread this message of social and environmental responsibility. When you graduate from university, recognize that you now withhold a power in the world. You are, essentially the future; considering that you will be responsible for how the professional world is operating since you will be working in the midst of it all. The Graduation Pledge is not limited to majors geared towards environmental or social reform, rather it strives to appeal towards all academic majors. It is a call to action; a pursuit to activate environmental and social consciousness into our hearts and minds and being able to transfer that attitude into the workplace. It can start with something small, such as incorporating recycling in the office, or directing their energy towards improving human rights both in the workplace and towards clientele.
Since being founded, the Graduation Pledge Alliance has been adopted by 200 schools globally, in countries such as the United States, Canada, France, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan – with efforts being considered in the Philippines and India. Elite schools such as Stanford University and Harvard University stand whole-heartedly next to pledge. Every year thousands of graduates across the globe take part in this movement, simply by signing a pledge card that states the pledge and placing a green ribbon on their gown as a symbol of their commitment. Since it is a voluntary pledge, the university does not call to check up on you – it’s just an emblematic representation of your allegiance to the cause.
With population on the rise, environmental resources depleting at a constant, and corruption in the world, we as students must take matters into our own hands. We must not feel succumbed by society’s limitations. We must utilize our brain, speech, and actions and fight to create a more harmonious world, respectful of all life forms, biologically and anthropologically speaking.
Anything is this world is possible, we are living in a state of flux. Remember that you can make a difference, no matter what field you go into after leaving university. I hope this message reaches you in an inspiring and heart-warming manner. Thank you.
Graduation Pledge Coordinator 2013 – 2017
“Responsibility is the ability to respond. Inherently, to respond means to act, to create, to change. But responsibility also implies an awareness of the impacts of one’s actions, and it is this concept that is finally becoming part of the global community’s consciousness. The days of action without thought are obsolete in this increasingly closely knit world.” – 1997, Matt Nicodemus Graduation Pledge founder