This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of walking across the stage at ASU, for a second time, to receive my Master's in Library Science. While being finished with that phase in my life is nice, this post is not about the accolades for myself, but how to graduate and celebrate on a budget and stay eco-friendly.
First, I knew that I would never wear this regaila again, so I opted for the most eco-friendly and budget-friendly option I had... borrow the gown from a classmate who graduated with the same degree last semester. I picked up the gown after work one day, and she also loaned the cap, tassel, and hood, which saved me even more. ASU does use gowns that are compostable, but they do not rent regaila, so this was the most finaicially and environmentally responsible decision I made with regards to this formal part of graduation. In return, I'll bake her a batch of homemade cookies. Pretty sweet deal (no pun intended... well, maybe kinda :))!
For the dinner for family, we hosted it at our home and served salmon with a feta and sundried tomato relish, green salad with homemade croutons, and baked potatoes. Dessert was easy, since we ordered a raspberry lemon blast cake from our fav bakery, Stick Boy. The salmon we baked in parchment packets for easy cleanup, and the feta and sundried tomatoes came from Sam's. We added some chives fresh from the garden on top of each portion, and it was a huge hit. The salad we made with greens from a local vendor we found at the farmer's market, and added some grape tomatoes, feta, chives, and craisins. For croutons, I took a loaf of bread that I made a few days before (it was too dense to use as sandwich bread, after trying this new recipe), diced it in 1/2 inch pieces, toasted at 375 degrees for several minutes, drizzled with butter, garlic powder, and basil, and had fantastic yummy croutons. The baked potatoes were easy and we put the salmon in the oven for the last 15 minutes or so, and everything came out on time and wonderfully. So, to summarize... buy in bulk, buy fresh and organic if possible, and make the work easy by letting the local bakery do the dessert.
Dinner and dessert were served on our china, which Grandma greatly appreciated, and made the waste minimal. Since I had cousins around, the cleanup was a cinch. We used our standard stainless flatware so that went in the dishwasher, meaning we didn't have to wash each by hand. Again, saving green in both respects.
So, what about you... how do you entertain for a graduate? What do you do to make graduation and the celebration green? Here's to living and saving green... on the master's pay scale!