Each fall and spring semester, the We Mean Green Fund recognizes graduating students who serve at least 75 hours of environmentally-focused volunteer service with a hand-dyed graduation cord designed and created by talented UNT students. The Environmental Volunteerism Graduation Cords are dyed using natural materials grown on UNT soil which means each cord is unique and reflective of what grows in the campus Natural Dye Garden, a sustainable learning lab funded by the We Mean Green Fund.  This semester nine students will walk the graduation stage wearing the Environmental Volunteerism Graduation Cord. These nine students collectively reported 744 service hours across 23 different locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area exemplifying what it truly looks like to Mean Green.

Students who register to receive the graduation cord can choose to log their service hours through the general environmental volunteer track or the LLELA track. The general track recognizes students for a wide variety of environmentally-focused volunteer service while the LLELA track is designed to recognize students who commit all 75 service hours of service at LLELA. Students who complete the  LLELA track may be eligible to apply for an internship at LLELA to continue their environmental stewardship. 

The UNT Natural Dye Garden grows natural sources of dye like marigolds and indigo to color the graduation cords shades of yellow and blue. Servando Rawson (top photo) who is the coordinator of the UNT Natural Dye Garden, and Abby Sherrill, the Textile Fabrication Lab Manager, hand-dye these cords with other students in the College of Visual Arts and Design to bring the graduation cords to life.

Sarah Z. (bottom photo) is an ecology major who will be graduating this December and volunteered at several places including the UNT Greenhouse under Dr. Jaime Baxter-Slye. Sarah says, “I believe that my environmental volunteerism has impacted the larger community because I know the plants that I nurtured will be used in labs which will help students further their education”. We could not be more proud of Sarah and all of our volunteers who pursued the Environmental Volunteerism Graduation Cord. Congratulations, graduates!

Interested in receiving an Environmental Volunteerism Graduation Cord? Check out our website here to learn how to register!

Want to volunteer with the UNT Natural Dye Garden? Follow them on Instagram @unt_naturaldyegarden for updates on volunteer opportunities!

Written by Delany Baum, graduate assistant for the We Mean Green Fund and environmental science Masters student.