Today, some students are demanding more options when it comes to graduation gowns. This has caused a graduation gown controversy among parents, faculty, and students. Those who value tradition against those who value personal preferences.
In this handy guide, we’ve shared some strategies for how you can best decide on graduation gown colors for your school.
First, we recommend reaching out to your students with an online or in-person survey. Ask students to anonymously share how they feel about traditional graduation colors. Additionally, ask whether they would prefer that everyone wears the same color, or that each person chooses the color that suits them. This will help inform your administration’s policy on gendered graduation gowns, so that you minimize the chance for controversy on campus. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with students speaking their minds. However, you want graduation to be as smooth and pleasant an experience as possible.
If you decide to take the one-color approach, be prepared for some pushback from students. For example, if you typically have red gowns for men and white gowns for women, but you switch to all-red gowns, you might incite some anger from female students.
However, if you manage to find consensus on the one-color approach, you’ll save some money when ordering gowns.
For most schools, the best solution is to offer the traditional boy/girl colors, but to let students decide which color they prefer. Eliminating colors will cause a graduation gown controversy, and adding colors will muddle the historical color scheme. If you want to find a happy medium, let the students choose.
Finally, if you’re having trouble reaching a compromise with your students. Consider offering a single two-toned gown for the entire student body. This allows students to wear both school colors without worrying about their gender connotation.
At GraduationSource, we love high-quality gowns that bring students together to celebrate their achievements. Visit our blog to learn more about university history and graduation traditions.