Student groups raise green awareness on Earth Day

University environmental organizations are making it easier than ever to go green this Earth Day.

From water-drinking contests to “Wall-E” screenings on the Quad, organizations on campus are trying to spread the word about recycling, the use of green energy and conservation.

Keren Wasserman, sophomore in AHS, and Max Dayan, sophomore in LAS, of the “Think Green. Think Blue.” campaign say they are trying to raise awareness about other countries that are more environmentally conscious. Dayan said that Israel, for example, is going green with solar-powered water heaters and drip irrigation, which helps conserve water when growing crops.

“We have a good life here,” Dayan said. “We don’t think about water or how much gas we’re using. In Israel, they do have to worry about water and alternative energy sources.”

One part of “Think Green. Think Blue.” includes collecting old sorority and fraternity shirts, turning them inside out and printing messages on the inside to help spread the word about environmentalism.

The Greek Greenhouse competition also helped promote recycling by collecting shoes and other recyclables for two weeks, which ended Sunday.

Mara Eisenstein, 2008 University graduate and Greenhouse competition director, said the competition brought in 2,000 pounds of recycled material and 160 pounds of shoes, which will be donated to people in need. The winners were the Phi Mu sorority and the Delta Sigma Pi fraternity.

The Greek Greenhouse competition has also worked with the University Green Energy Team, which began at Western Illinois University, to collect cans to build solar energy heaters that are donated to families in need. David Kirmse the chapter president of the University Green Energy Team, said “Over the summer we’ll make a better prototype and start building them down here.” “It’s just getting off its feet but it’s still exploding and a lot of people are starting to get on board with us. Champaign does not have a recycling program (for students in Greek or apartment housing), and I’m offering a free one,” Kirmse said.

Suhail Barot, graduate student and chair of the Student Sustainability Committee, said he hopes Champaign’s current recycling program will change this year, but also said he applauds the efforts of students to improve awareness and increase environmental consciousness.

“We just need to take care of our Earth,” he said. “We’re putting it under a lot of stress and there’s only so far you can go around pushing things.”