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The Graduation Pledge: What If Every College Graduate Entered the World of Work With a Commitment to a Better World
As the Class of 2014 enters the workforce, they’re looking for more than a paycheck and the corner office. Social and environmental responsibility tops their professional wish list, as graduates at hundreds of campuses across the globe sign the Graduation Pledge Alliance (GPA) to explore job opportunities with that in mind. Housed at Bentley University since 2007, the pledge is currently part of the Bentley Service-Learning Center (BSLC).
“We’re excited and proud to host the GPA,” says BSLC Director Jonathan White. “The center is a national thought-leader in service-learning and civic engagement and Bentley is a national leader of civically engaged business schools. Housing the GPA and having our students involved in it is important to us, as GPA is a powerful tool for encouraging a new generation of graduates to work to transform their workplaces around social and environmental responsibility.”
A recent survey by Deloitte (The Millennial Survey 2014) found that “millennials believe the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance, with a focus on improving society among the most important things it should seek to achieve.
”Since 1987, the Graduation Pledge Alliance has advanced this kind of vision. Bill Benet, executive director for the Graduation Pledge Alliance, states that “Since its inception, hundreds of thousands of graduating students have signed the Graduation Pledge and entered their work lives with a commitment to make a change.”
The Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility 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.” Those who have signed it have engaged in initiatives such as developing recycling programs, establishing supply chains with environmentally friendly products, implementing social enterprise strategies to meet local community needs, and advancing workplace policies to support families.
The Graduation Pledge originated at Humboldt State College in California as a student led initiative and rapidly spread across the United States and the World. It encompasses hundreds of campuses, including schools in most states in the U.S. and international campuses as far as Pakistan and Taiwan.
“Working with the BSLC will allow us to develop and incorporate new transformative educational approaches to reach Pledge signers,” says Benet. “This will add to the ability of those students who sign the Graduation Pledge to continue to live out the pledge throughout their lives after college.”
“The pledge offers our students a powerful opportunity to work on an international campaign bridging academia and the business world with social responsibility, social entrepreneurship and global citizenship,” White adds. “Imagine the world that can be created if current college graduates move forward with their pledge, and become better stewards for our planet and deeper advocates for more humanistic business models and practices.”
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BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,200 full-time undergraduate, 82 part-time undergraduate, 1,000 graduate, and 24 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education.
In the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings of America’s Best Colleges 2017, Bentley University is ranked #3 among “Best Regional Universities - North.”