Greeks Go Green working with TSC to improve fraternity, sorority sustainability
Greek houses look to increase recycling
Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 08:03
The Interfraternity Council’s (IFC) Greeks Go Green initiative, which launched last semester, will join with the Tufts Sustainability Collective (TSC) to continue to work on improving fraternities’ and sororities’ environmental impact on campus.
The project is being spearheaded by Vice President of Philanthropy for Alpha Tao Omega (ATO) Victoria Powell and Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Philanthropy Co-Chair Joshua Malkin. Multiple Eco-Representatives from the Tufts Office of Sustainability will work with each fraternity’s green representative to promote sustainable behavior, such as recycling, energy saving and composting.
“We wanted to get recycling started in the fraternities and get them to improve their overall environmental impact,” Powell said. “We have been meeting with Eco-Reps and brainstorming ways for all Greek institutions on campus to improve their impact on the environment overall.”
“We are looking at increasing recycling, saving energy, weatherizing the houses and composting to improve the environmental impact of Greek life here at Tufts,” TSC Co-Director Katherine Segal said.
While project leaders are currently working with all of TSC, the Sustainable Action Squad — a branch of the collective — may take the lead with involvement on the project, according to Segal.
“Members of TSC will hopefully volunteer to work with green chairs from each fraternity and sorority to make sure each Greek house on campus is working to improve recycling habits, start composting and doing anything else that may aid in making Tufts a greener place,” Segal said.
In addition to promoting general recycling and other environmental improvements, the project will also allow the Greek community to create a reputation of being greener, according to Malkin.
“We are trying also to improve on the Greek communities’ reputation because the houses on campus could be doing so much more to be greener on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
“Our main concern is it is becoming a far more pressing issue for the houses and Tufts campus in general to be greener. We thought that this would be a good way to get everyone involved because the fraternities do have a large impact on the social life here at Tufts,” Powell said. “If fraternities can set the example, the rest of Tufts may follow.”
Another major motivation for launching the project was that in the past fraternities were not recycling and a large amount of waste products were going through the houses, Powell said.
“Some of the fraternities have taken some green initiative on their own to improve their carbon footprints,” Powell said. “Theta Delta Chi  has created a position called the Green Chair, which entails monitoring their impact, for example.”
The campaign mainly involves coordinating with the Eco-Representatives and working on logistics, Powell added.
However, the coordinators of the Greeks Go Green project are deciding how to set up the program most effectively and what the Eco-Reps can do with fraternities next semester to improve their environmental impact on campus, Powell said.
There are a significant number of students involved with Greek life, and organizing the projects has not been an easy process, Powell said.
“It has been difficult reaching out to and organizing the large number of people involved in Greek life here at Tufts,” Powell said. “However, everyone I have been working with has been very helpful and we are certainly making progress.”
According to Powell and Malkin, the process is quickly evolving, but right now it is in its ground phases as logistics between fraternities and the TSC are worked out.
“So far it has been a relationship between the green chairs of fraternities and the Eco-Representatives and the two of them determining what they can do,” Powell said.
Project coordinators are also considering special events to motivate sororities and fraternities to increase their sustainability, according to Malkin.
“We have considered having a recycling contest in which all fraternities and sororities would recycle all possible materials they could and whoever recycled the most within the realm of a larger recycling contest initiative would win a prize,” Malkin said.
“We will be meeting again this week to hammer out details of what will become this contest and getting a green representative in every house, which then will coordinate with TSC,” he added. “In the next few weeks we will start promoting and running the official campaign for the Greeks Go Green project.”
Segal added that she hopes the initiative will increase sustainability beyond sororities and fraternities.
“Next semester we hope that this will be a campus wide initiative and go beyond just Greek life on campus,” Segal said.