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Northwestern College Features Eco-Friendly Caps & Gowns!

Graduates of Northwestern College wore eco-friendly caps and gowns at this year’s commencement ceremony! Each graduate’s regalia was made from 23 recycled water bottles, with the College’s “green” efforts in total removing 7,000 water bottles from our nation’s landfills!

Graduates of Northwestern College wore eco-friendly caps and gowns at this year’s commencement ceremony! Each graduate’s regalia was made from 23 recycled water bottles, with the College’s “green” efforts in total removing 7,000 water bottles from our nation’s landfills!

[Bridgeview/Chicago-Jefferson Park/Naperville/Rosemont, IL] Northwestern College President Lawrence Schumacher announced that this year’s graduates wore eco-friendly caps and gowns made from plastic bottles in support of the College’s efforts toward sustainability and its mission to go green! In total, 303 graduates utilized the ecologically friendly regalia when they marked their collegial success by walking across the stage of the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place in Chicago. The gowns look and feel the same as traditionally made caps and gowns, yet they’re softer to the touch and more breathable than traditional polyester fabric.

This was the first year that Northwestern College utilized Oak Hall Cap & Gown’s GreenWeaverTM line of regalia. The yarn for the gowns is produced using 100% post-consumer plastic bottles, with each gown being made from on average 23 plastic bottles. Millions of plastic bottles go into landfills daily, remaining there for generations, thus, by taking those bottles and instead reengineering them into a usable product, space is freed up in landfills, thereby reducing our carbon footprint. Consequently, Northwestern College’s use of “green’ gowns helped to remove nearly 7,000 water bottles from landfills. Furthermore, the eco-friendly regalia is turned in after the ceremony and is later recycled into new fabric.

In addition to the removal of the plastic bottles from landfills, the GreenWeaverTM methodology reduces CO2 gas emissions by 54.6% in the process of manufacturing fabric from plastic verses virgin polyester, and petroleum usage is reduced by over 52% by utilizing thermal recycled energy. The gowns cost nearly the same amount as traditionally made caps and gowns purchased in prior years, making the decision to “go green” a no-brainer for Northwestern College.

According to Oak Hall, the process of making the eco-friendly fabric for the gowns begins first by taking recycled plastic bottles and processing them to remove impurities such as labels and caps. The bottles are eventually melted down and subsequently solidified into uniform pellets called “chips”. These chips are melted again and extruded into continuous filaments of yarn, which is woven, dyed and then finished.

“This is just another step towards our commitment towards sustainability,” commented President Schumacher. “Northwestern College is trying to do all that it can to both reduce its own carbon footprint as well as instill ecological compassion into our student body. It is our hope that our students will carry on this commitment after they leave Northwestern College, doing all that they can to sustain our environment.”

About Northwestern College:
Northwestern College (NC) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, www.ncahlc.org. The college offers focused career-oriented associate degree and certificate programs with flexible schedules and a supportive faculty. Day, evening, weekend, online classes and online programs are available with campuses in Chicago, Bridgeview, and Naperville. More information can be found at www.northwesterncollege.edu or by calling toll-free (888) 205-2283.

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