Alumni Association


Green Commencement/Reunion Weekend Initiatives

Oberlin College began its journey toward climate neutrality in 2007, by hosting its first eco-friendly Commencement/Reunion Weekend. The "green Commencement initiative" provided more than 5,000 alumni, family members and friends a variety of ways to reduce their carbon footprint during the four-day event.

Since then, we have increased the number of green initiatives and ways for those in attendance to reduce their environmental impact. We again encourage this year’s graduating class, family members, and alumni to learn more about how they can purchase carbon offsets, decrease their use of energy, and responsibly dispose of any waste generated during this weekend. We’ve provided ideas and ways for you to support sustainability at Oberlin.

As part of our ongoing effort to make Commencement/Reunion Weekend have as little impact on the planet as possible, the Green Commencement/Reunion Committee asked Campus Dining Services to eliminate single use water bottles wherever possible starting in 2009.

Again in 2019, we are asking all alumni, graduates, and their families to help us reduce the amount of plastic on campus by using a refillable water bottle. Water will be available in several locations throughout the weekend.

In an effort to reduce the amount of waste generated from the many Commencement/Reunion events, Campus Dining Services, managed by Bon Appétit Management Company, has replaced all plastic ware with bio-ware. With your help, we will be able to repurpose waste that would otherwise have been deposited into a landfill.

Approximately 20-35 percent of the food served by Campus Dining Services and Bon Appétit will be from local sources.

During two of the main events—the Friday night Champagne Social and the Family Social on Sunday—all of the biodegradable waste will be composted. Every plate, cup, utensil, and scrap of food will be compostable at these meals. Composting will also be available at other meal locations across campus.

The Class of 2007 was the first to adopt a Green Pledge: A Social and Environmental Responsibility Pledge and wore green ribbons during Commencement. The hope is for every future class to adopt the same pledge:

‘‘I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of my future career and lifestyle decisions. I will also try to improve these aspects of any organization for which I work.’’

Donations toward offsetting carbon emissions for travel to Commencement/Reunion Weekend will be accepted at the Green Education Booth located in the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies. When you offset your carbon through the POWER (Providing Oberlin With Efficiency Responsibly) Fund, you fight climate change, stimulate the local economy and lift people out of poverty.

POWER offsets carbon by making low-income housing as efficient as possible.

Want to park your car for the weekend and get around campus and town in true Oberlin style? Rent a bike from the Oberlin Bicycle Co-Operative, located in the basement at the rear of Keep Cottage.

You can rent bikes by the day or for the whole weekend. The Bike Co-Op accepts cash or checks. Bikes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Locks will not be provided, so please bring your own lock from home. 

If you have any questions about the co-op Bike Rental program, send an email to the Oberlin Bicycle Co-Operative .

All bikes must be returned to the Bike Co-Op during open hours before departing Oberlin. Please do not leave unlocked bikes outside the door.

Commencement programs, Commencement/Reunion Weekend program books, and other printed materials are printed on “Environment,” 100 percent, post-consumer paper.

Printed Reunion Directories Replaced with Online Connections

We invite you to connect online with other alumni via the Tappan Network. Refer to our list of social media venues for other ways to connect with classmates and keep up with alumni happenings: