Campus Christmas should be green

By Evan Bruno

Christmas is just two months away and the time is rapidly approaching for campus fraternities to begin their holiday preparations. As is tradition at the U of I, frats will soon be competing to see which house can muster up the best, or should I say, the biggest Christmas light display. In the spirit of the holidays, I have no interest in being a party-pooper, but I think it’s time for campus fraternities to consider bowing out of this tradition.

Barack Obama, the man who most U of I students want as their next president, has said in several speeches that every American must do his or her part to conserve energy, specifically mentioning that we need to get better about turning out the lights. Since we know that lighting accounts for a significant chunk of home energy use, this suggestion shouldn’t seem profound to anyone. With darkness falling during the mid-afternoon in late December, most fraternity Christmas lights will be turned on for sixteen hours a day or more. And with more fraternities in Champaign-Urbana than in any other place on Earth, that’s gonna add up to a lot of juice.

It should be obvious by now that in order to avoid an energy and environmental crisis, personal sacrifice is simply the name of the game. True, Christmas lights are pretty and sparkly, and yes, being able to cover a house with them proves that you can use a ladder without falling off. But as the world becomes less and less impressed with over-the-top, unneeded energy consumption, maybe it’s time that U of I’s fraternities rethink the value of this tradition. I don’t think any riots will break out if we just settle for wreaths and plastic reindeer this Christmas.