DENTON — University of North Texas seniors, passionate about making the world more sustainable through volunteerism, were presented with a Sustainability Graduation Cord during the We Mean Green Fund spring volunteer appreciation event. Students wore the cord during commencement to indicate their 50 or more hours of environmental stewardship.

“We hope that the cords brought a sense of We Mean Green pride for our dedicated volunteers,” said Duchess Humphrey, student sustainability/WMGF sustainability graduation cord facilitator. “The Sustainability Graduation Cord recognizes service that makes UNT and the Denton community more environmentally conscious and friendly. Environmental Sustainability at UNT is not just talk. We are committed to engaging our students, faculty and staff in continued action.”

The cords were created by students in the Fibers Collective and are 100 percent natural cotton, chosen and harvested specifically for the UNT Office of Student Sustainability. The yellow base of the cords is made from goldenrod, marigold, yarrow and sunflower and then dipped into a natural indigo to achieve a dark green that fades to blue.

“The natural dyes were made from flowers harvested from the UNT Natural Dye Garden located on Highland Street next to Bain Hall,” said Abby Sherrill, fibers program, art technician and adjunct instructor. “The garden began in 2013 with a student proposal to the We Mean Green Fund through the Office of Sustainability, and continues to serve as a platform for learning and experimenting with natural color in the UNT fibers program, part of the Department of Studio Art in the College of Visual Arts and Design. The garden has served as a gathering space for students to teach natural dye workshops with Big Thought Dallas, work collaboratively with the Denton County Master Gardeners Association and invite artists Tierra Firme to create site-specific installations in the space.”

Rachel McGee, vice president of the fibers collective and the project’s student leader said, “I enjoy dyeing with natural plant dyes because I feel it is important to remember where things come from, and to stay connected to our planet. Using natural plant dyes helps keep dangerous chemicals out of our water and the earth.”

The Sustainability Graduation Cord project is funded through the We Mean Green Fund that provides the opportunity for members of the UNT community to make a positive environmental impact on campus and in surrounding areas.