Greeks compete to be the most ‘green’ house

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By Jane Lee

Sororities and fraternities are participating in the Greeks Go Green project, a competition held by Illinois Enactus to encourage houses to be more eco-friendly.

Rebecca Zocher, co-project manager of the competition and sophomore in Business, said Greeks Go Green was created a few semesters ago by Enactus, an entrepreneurial organization working to make the world more sustainable. 

Zocher said Greeks Go Green promotes recycling while teaching Greek houses about different topics related to recycling, water conservation, energy, food waste, community improvement and everyday sustainability. 

Although the 15 participating Greek houses have recycling systems in place, Zocher said, the competition is increasing the amount of recycling collected by the houses.

Zocher said Enactus liked the idea of having their projects reach out to the Greek community because it’s an opportunity to impact a lot of people. Each Greek house signed a contract with Enactus to take part in the competition. 

“At first, we got the attention of a few fraternities and sororities, but eventually we had fraternities and sororities reaching out to us, instead of us reaching out to them,” said Miguel Gutierrez, junior in business and co-project manager. 

In addition to a variety of weekly competitions, Enactus created a curriculum to educate participants about going green.

Previously, Enactus members taught the curriculum to participants themselves, but decided to designate ‘green chairs’ in each house to increase involvement. Enactus created lesson plans for green chairs to teach their fellow sorority and fraternity members how to be environmentally friendly. Additionally, each green chair manages their house’s participation in the competition and promotes recycling to ensure the house becomes more sustainable and has the opportunity to win the competition. 

Gutierrez, also a fraternity member, said he knows there is excess waste being produced, but not being recycled.

“I saw it as an opportunity to take something that I would be passionate about and actually make a big change because I have inside knowledge to how the Greek system works,” Gutierrez said.

Zocher said within the first week of Greeks Go Green, 608 pounds of recycled materials were collected and the following week participating houses collected 600 more pounds. The house that collects the most recycled materials earns a maximum of 12 points and is able to earn additional points through mini competitions, such as poster-making for green awareness. At the end of the competition, a $700 cash prize will be awarded to the house with the most points.

Matthew Schierer, junior in LAS and green chair of Alpha Sigma Phi, said representatives of Enactus give the green chairs of each house the weekly curriculum a few days before the houses’ chapter meeting. 

“I think the competition has really been a catalyst for us getting the system in place. I think that’s really what the six weeks are about,” Schierer said. “In terms of long term, once we have the system in place after the competition is done, we are going to try and keep the system going and promote the culture of having a house that is environmentally sustainable.”

The last recycling collection is on April 17 and the winning house will be announced on April 22, Earth Day.

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