Green Greeks strive to promote sustainability in Greek life, other social organizations

Jessica Garcia, Life & Arts Reporter

Neon wristbands, crushed-up cans and water bottles litter West Campus days after a weekend of parties. Campus Environmental Center’s Green Greeks offers a solution to reduce the waste by encouraging Greeks to “go green.”

Since forming in 2013, Green Greeks strives to promote sustainability among Greek life members on campus. The organization hosts service and social opportunities such as West-Campus clean-ups, nature walks to Pease Park and “Bring a cup, get a cup,” where students receive free coffee if they bring a reusable cup.

Green Greeks also hosts a clean-up event along with a series of environmental initiatives during and after every year’s Roundup — a weekend-long music festival hosted by Greek life at UT. When Roundup returned this year after a three-year hiatus, so did Green Greeks, eager to clean up West Campus in its aftermath. Sarah Gianotti, co-project lead and environmental science senior, said Green Greeks hopes to increase student awareness of environmental issues and ways to help the planet by hosting these events.

“Our goal is to foster a community between the different Greek organizations that focuses on sustainability and how to make everything we do more environmentally conscious,” Gianotti said.

Currently, Gianotti said Green Greeks looks to attract more student participation in sustainability efforts through open membership to UT organizations outside of Greek life. This semester, the organization focused on implementing delegate positions, where a person can relay information from Green Greeks to their sororities and fraternities.

Brianna Duran, the staff advisor for student-led programming in the Office of Sustainability, said the delegate position broadens the number of opportunities for students to get involved along with the other volunteer options provided by the Campus Environmental Center.

“The Campus Environmental Center gives students (the opportunity to) make a positive impact and do sustainability work, (providing) a way to take action,” Duran said.

Kathryn Clark, the chapter delegate for Alpha Delta Pi, said she joined Green Greeks this semester to continue her involvement with the Campus Environmental Center.

“I’ve been extremely passionate about sustainability and making the world a greener (and) better place in any way I can,” said Clark, a theater and dance and communication and leadership sophomore.

In March, when Green Greeks helped clean up after Roundup, Gianotti said they provided recycling and composting supplies to sororities and fraternities to use at their events and hosted a clean-up after Roundup.

“We are role models for other students,” Gianotti said. “If we can make sustainable changes such as implementing recycling at the events, that’ll spread throughout the entire University.”

Clark said she likes being a part of a group of people that hold themselves accountable and recognize the significance impact of their actions on the environment.

“That’s what sustainability is,” Clark said. “If you’re going to make a mess, clean it up in a way that is beneficial for not only you, but for the next person that gets to be a part of Greek life.”