Our Mission

At Mean Green Gowns for Grads, our mission is to support the academic accomplishments of our low-income and first-generation University of North Texas students by providing them with a free rental of graduation caps and gowns. WeImage of student in cap and Gown understand that graduation is a significant milestone in our students' lives, and we want to ensure that financial constraints do not hinder their ability to participate in this important celebration.            

The Mean Green Gowns for Grads program began with a generous donation of approximately one hundred gowns and has steadily expanded over time. We are grateful to Erin and Kyle Hogue, UNT alumni, for their gracious donation, which allowed us to establish a dedicated area for the gowns.

Funding plays a vital role in sustaining our program and ensuring its success. The We Mean Green Fund (WMGF) has played a crucial role in supporting our initiative. In 2021, they generously granted us $11,000, empowering us to successfully launch and maintain our project. Building on this support, we were grateful to receive an additional $8,000 from the WMGF in 2022. This funding has been instrumental in allowing us to expand our efforts, procure extra regalia, and facilitate professional wet cleaning—a sustainable, carbon-neutral alternative to conventional dry-cleaning methods.

Traditional graduation gowns are generally made of polyester, a petroleum-based fabric that does not biodegrade. These keepsake gowns are typically only worn once and then thrown away. Constructed with the same chemical compound used to make plastic water bottles, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the polyester gowns will not fully decompose once in those landfills. Research shows that it takes 450 years for plastic bottles to break down in landfills (LeBlanc, 2019).

At Mean Green Gowns for Grads, we are proud to promote environmental responsibility and social consciousness through our program. By offering free graduation caps and gowns to our students, we not only celebrate their academic achievements but also contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable future.

Graduates who participate in the program can temporarily borrow academic regalia free of cost from the Diamond Eagles Student Resource Center, increasing participation in graduation ceremonies while also reducing waste through the reuse of caps and gowns. Furthermore, graduates who do not participate in the program can donate their used gowns after their graduation ceremony, contributing to the reuse effort and ensuring no one is left behind.

We accept donations of gently used UNT caps and gowns, including the green ones that the university adopted in 2015, as well as gowns from the masters and doctoral programs. Together, we can ensure that every student can walk across the stage and celebrate their hard-earned academic success.

LeBlanc, R. (2019, October 29). The decomposition of waste in landfills. The Balance Small Business.https://www.liveabout.com/how-long-does-it-take-garbage-to-decompose-2878033