Facebook Twitter

Greeks green NU

January 2014 | by sustainNU

Greeks greening NUWinter quarter brings new classes, new weather, and for some, membership in a fraternity or sorority. While the focus may seem to be on recruitment, bids, and pledging; you should be aware NU’s Greek Life is not only a great way to make friends and give back to the community, but also support NU’s efforts in becoming a leader in sustainability.

This year, potential new members of the Panhellenic Association (Sororities) were required to take a quiz to prioritize their values in relation to the values of each sorority. A new option was a “commitment to the environment.” The next generation of Greek students care about the environment and it’s starting to show in their actions on campus and in the community. Here are just a few examples of the environmentally friendly practices the students in Greek life are instituting in their houses:

The reigning Green Cup Fraternity champion for the last two years, Alpha Epsilon Pi works hard to reduce its energy and water usage throughout the year, as well as reduce the amount of waste they put into the landfill. This fall they began composting salad scraps after their meals with a small-scale tumbling composter. Alpha Epsilon Pi as well as Phi Kappa Psi participate in a TerraCycling program by sending their Solo Cups to the TerraCycle headquarters in New Jersey to be made into recycled dog bowls. Phi Kappa Psi’s Eco Rep, Stephen Ross, states, “For every Solo cup that is recycled, TerraCycle gives two cents to a charity of our choice. Participation in this program has removed a large contributor to our waste stream and reduced our landfill presence.”

Phi Psi has also increased the amount of recycling bins around their house and purchased smaller kitchen plates to encourage its members to take less food and therefore reduce food waste. Currently, they are working on an initiative to install motion-sensor lights in low traffic areas to save energy in their house.

Sororities are also involved in green initiatives. Delta Gamma participates in a nationwide shirt swap, where sisters from different chapters from all over the country recycle their shirts by trading them with other sisters in other chapters via Facebook. One DG’s trash is another DG’s new t-shirt!

Zeta Tau Alpha has organized a system to carpool home and back to NU during breaks. They also host study sessions and movie nights in the common areas instead of staying in their individual rooms; which decreases the number of lights on in the house. Zeta also made a conscious effort to recycle all cups used during recruitment. The Gamma Phi Beta bathrooms have made the switch from paper towels to reusable towels to cut down on their waste.

Being a member of Greek life requires not only responsibility to brothers or sisters, but also to the planet!