Graduation is an important time in the lives of kids and certainly in the lives of parents. I once gave a speech to a graduating class where I urged the children not to get a job, I said, “Borrow money, get 10 credit cards, do whatever you want to do, but follow your passion.” The children were inspired; the parents were not so inspired – having paid for their education all those years and now it was probably going to take another loan to start a business that involved their passion. But that’s my 2 cents on graduation and sticking to what drives us.
I’ve noticed that a large number of kids around the world do not get to experience a green graduation. Ceremonies are held in auditoriums or rented tents. This year, the venue for our graduates was quite special. I’m very proud to say that between Elora, her team and the Green School team, we built a green graduation structure out of bamboo and klangsah (coconut fronds). The cost was a little more than a tent rental, but it was magnificent. It showed what people can do when they choose the right materials.
I’m so proud of my daughter Elora, who may not have graduated from architecture school, but has been featured in Architectural Digest (wait for the link from Elora). At 32 years old, she is becoming an icon for bamboo construction.
When we built the school out of bamboo we knew it was just the beginning of the bamboo revolution. We now have universities around the world wanting to come to Green School to study bamboo.
One of my goals for next year is to start Bamboo U (Bamboo University), so that people from all over the world – students, those on a gap year, professional architects, or all those in Asia, who have already expressed special interest in bamboo design – can visit Green School and Ibuku and learn about the most advanced bamboo technology on the planet that makes the most efficient use of the material as is. We don’t necessarily have the best machine to turn bamboo into plywood, but then again, if the gods had wanted bamboo plywood they would’ve made the plant 4 ft wide and 8 ft long.
Congratulations to all the Green School graduates. I hope you all follow your passions in life. And congratulations to my 18 year old daughter Carina who graduated from a school in New York and is heading onto Barnard College.