green cap with environmental yellow and green cord

The UNT Environmental Volunteerism Graduation Cord (EVGC) recognizes students for their outstanding contribution to environmental sustainability through community volunteerism. With this unique, hand-dyed graduation cord, the We Mean Green Fund recognizes the volunteer efforts of students who promote environmental stewardship. 


There are two options to choose from to earn this graduation cord: the General Track and LLELA Track.


To earn the EVGC through the General Track, students are required to complete and report at least 75 hours of environmentally-focused volunteer efforts during their time as a student at UNT. Please review the full list of requirements associated with earning this graduation cord below before you report your volunteer efforts on the corresponding EVGC General Track – Self-Tracking Form.

The General Track allows you to report volunteer efforts from any event or cause that focuses on environmental stewardship. The We Mean Green Fund does not host regular volunteer efforts; to sign-up for environmentally-focused volunteer efforts, please reach out to organizations that host opportunities you are interested in. Check the volunteer opportunities list below for ideas. 


The LLELA (Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area) Track immerses volunteers in hands-on techniques used in ecological restoration. Through this track, students will gain knowledge and an appreciation for what it takes to put nature back to the way it should be. Students must complete at least 75 volunteer hours at LLELA to earn the EVGC.

Students who complete the LLELA Track may be eligible for the LLELA Restoration Intern Program. Students interested in the internship or volunteering at LLELA must email Richard Freiheit ( Please review the full list of requirements associated with this graduation cord below before you report your volunteer efforts at LLELA on the corresponding EVGC LLELA Track – Self-Tracking Form.

LLELA Address: 201 E. Jones St., Lewisville, TX 75057

If you are unable to complete all 75 volunteer hours at LLELA but still wish to complete your remaining hours elsewhere to earn the EVGC, you can still apply for the cord through the General Track. Fill out the EVGC General Track – Self-Tracking Form if you are unable to complete all 75 volunteer hours at LLELA, but have a combined amount of 75 hours from various environmentally-focused volunteer efforts.

If you plan to apply to the LLELA Restoration Intern Program, it is advised to complete the 75 volunteer hours earlier in your degree plan to participate in the intern program while still a UNT student.

EVGC Volunteer Requirements for General Track and LLELA Track

  • All volunteer efforts must be environmentally focused
  • Reported volunteer efforts must not be considered as class requirements, course credit, employment, nor court-ordered community service
  • Monetary compensation must not be accepted for volunteer efforts
  • Hours must be completed during your time as a student at UNT

EVGC Instructions

1. Register through this online webform to inform us which track you are planning to take and when you plan to graduate. 

EVGC Registration Form

2. Download the Self-Tracking Form that matches the track that you are on (General Track or LLELA Track). 

EVGC General Track - Self-Tracking Form        EVGC LLELA Track - Self-Tracking Form

3. Volunteer for environmentally-focused events/causes.

  • If completing the General Track, volunteer efforts can be at any environmentally-focused events/causes.
  • If completing the LLELA Track, all-volunteer efforts must be completed at LLELA (Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area).

4. Type your volunteer efforts onto the corresponding Self-Tracking Form that matches the track you are on. (Download these from step 2 above.)

5. Email the finalized Self-Tracking Form with at least 75 qualifying volunteer hours to to file for completion by the deadline before your graduation date. Submit the self-tracking form during your graduation semester by one of the following deadlines: 

  • Deadline for fall graduation – November 15th
  • Deadline for spring graduation – April 15th

6. Fill out the completion survey you receive via email after filing for completion (required for cord pickup). 

7. Schedule a time to collect your cord.

8. Receive your cord!

9. If you complete the LLELA Track and wish to apply for the LLELA Restoration Intern Program, you must reach out to Richard Freiheit  ( for further instructions.

Looking for Volunteer Opportunities?

Below are just a few options for you to get involved on campus, in Denton, and surrounding cities. You may seek out additional opportunities related to environmental stewardship to fulfill the cord requirements. 

Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) – Fort Worth, TX
           The BRIT aims to provide meaningful experiences founded in education and community that engage and inspire people to appreciate plants and sustain our planet. The BRIT holds events to educate children as well as adults and includes opportunities to preserve botanical specimens in their extensive herbarium and to maintain their multiple gardens and greenhouses.

UNT Community Garden – UNT Main Campus
           Regardless of gardening experience, the UNT Community Garden is a great place for beginner and master gardeners! Located behind Legends Hall, the garden hosts workdays throughout the year for maintenance activities such as pulling weeds and planting new flower beds. All supplies are provided and workdays are free and open to the UNT community.

Shiloh Field – Denton, TX
           Started in 2011, Shiloh Field has quickly become the largest community garden in the United States. Shiloh Field has grown of 240,000 pounds of produce in its ten years of operation. Volunteer and help them to feed our community - and the communities of so many others!

City of Denton Volunteers – Denton, TX
           The city of Denton offers several opportunities for volunteers to get involved including an annual Stream Clean event and events through the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center.

Keep Denton Beautiful – Denton, TX
           Keep Denton Beautiful's events focus on engaging the Denton community in creating a clean and beautiful city. KDB offers opportunities like annual tree plantings, litter cleanups, and educational programs for children and adults.

Adopt-a-Block – Denton, TX
           The Center for Leadership and Service at UNT offers the Adopt-a-Block program which gives students, faculty, and staff the chance to participate in taking care of our campus. An organization or department can adopt a block on campus to keep clean for a whole year.

Pollinative Prairie – Denton, TX
           In 2016, UNT’s students, staff, and faculty-initiated this project through the UNT We Mean Green Fund to promote conservation and sustainable urban landscaping of native habitats to benefit declining pollinator populations like the monarch butterfly and American bumblebee. The prairie is always looking for help to maintain the 4-acre plot of native flowers and grasses.

Live Green – Plano, TX
           Live Green aims to help volunteers get involved in the community through sustainability and environmental education. Volunteer programs include gardening in the Plano Community Garden and assisting in events like the Great American Cleanup and Texas Recycle Days.

Trinity River Audubon Center – Dallas, TX
           Located just ten miles south of downtown Dallas, the Great Trinity Forest is the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States and supports a diverse community of plants and animals. As a volunteer, you would have the opportunity to restore native habitats like wetlands and prairies and lead educational field trip programs for school groups in the DFW area!

Fort Worth Nature Center – Fort Worth, TX
           The mission of the Fort Worth Nature Center is to enroll and educate the community in the preservation and protection of natural areas. As a volunteer, you would have the opportunity to work in various areas such as a nature interpreter, canoe guide, restoration projects, and greenhouse maintenance.

Ray Roberts Lake State Park – Denton, TX
           Ray Roberts Lake State Park is located just ten miles north of Denton and is home to walking and horse riding trails as well as beach areas and picnic areas. Volunteer programs include general maintenance of trails, educational opportunities with visitors, and more! 

Texas Parks and Wildlife 
           Texas is home to over 90 state parks and all of them provide opportunities for volunteer involvement! With opportunities ranging from research to environmental education, you are sure to find a program that is right for you. 

Grow Southeast Fort Worth, TX
           Grow Southeast provides support and resources to launch new community-operated farms within Fort Worth. Volunteers will have the opportunity to help plant produce, build structures, and so much more!

Thanks to student volunteers at the UNT Natural Dye Garden and previous members of the UNT Fibers Collective, these graduation cords are specially customized each year. The cords are 100% natural cotton and hand-dyed by UNT students with natural dyes from the UNT Natural Dye Garden. The yellow base of the cords is created by immersing the cords in a dye bath of goldenrod, marigold, yarrow, or sunflower. Each growing season at the UNT Natural Dye Garden determines the available colors for the cord dyeing process. Follow the UNT Natural Dye Garden on Instagram @unt_naturaldyegarden

To learn more about the Environmental Volunteerism Graduation Cord, read the following article: "We Mean Green: UNT Students Graduate with Environmental Volunteerism Cord"

For questions about the Environmental Volunteerism Graduation Cord, email

For questions about the LLELA Restoration Intern Program or scheduling volunteer times at LLELA, contact Richard Freiheit (

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