The Environmental Center’s Greek Sustainability Project is making its way into 12 CU fraternity and sorority houses.
The city of Boulder and CUSG came together to fund the Greek Sustainability project in an effort to expand green living into more Greek houses. Their efforts have successfully increased their participation from nine houses last semester to 12 this semester.
This year, Greek Sustainability welcomed back Alpha Phi, Delta Delta Delta, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Sigma Pi. Other houses from the Greek community joined the participants, including Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Gamma, Pi Phi, Theta Xi, Kappa Sigma and Alpha Tau Delta.
Graham Pittman, a junior international affairs major, is the Greek sustainability coordinator and in charge of the environmental center’s efforts to make Greek houses more eco-friendly.
Pittman said a member from each house becomes the representative sustainability chair and absorbs the responsibilities to ensure sustainable practices in their house. Pittman meets with the chairs, explains their responsibilities and sets up an energy audit for the house.
The program’s goal was to have at least five sustainability chairs and 10 energy evaluations, both of which have already been achieved this year.
“My personal goal is I want to see involvements from every house on campus,” Pittman said. “It’s a struggle but achievable.”
Greek Sustainability utilizes many pre-existing programs and implements them into each Greek house. These programs include green labs, $core and energy evaluations and practices offered by the city of Boulder.
“We try to focus on $core evaluations,” Pittman said.
$core, a program through the Environmental Center, stands for Student and Community Outreach on Renter Efficiency. This program helps student renters save money by installing energy saving devices.
“We send a team in the house and look at things like lights, energy, shower heads faucets, etc.,” Pittman said. “We give them recommendations and what they can do to fix things on their own and sustainable practices they can incorporate into their lifestyles.”
Sigma Epsilon President Matthew Nabhan, a junior double majoring in environmental studies and operation management, explained the changes around the house, which include the exclusive use of compact fluorescent bulbs, high efficiency faucets and shower heads in the chapter’s bathrooms.
Sig Ep has also reduced waste by weatherizing the property and actively recycling, thanks to the efforts of the Greek Sustainability program.
“We saw significant cost savings on our utility bill after the first month,” Nabhan said. “Reception of the program has been terrific by the chapter members.”
In the sorority Gamma Phi Beta, members are required to live in the sorority house at least one year. With the decrease in the energy and water bill every month made by Pittman and his team, the cost of living for each resident becomes less expensive.
Gamma Phi Beta’s new member educator, 20–year-old-marketing major Erin Diner, said she believes that with this potential decrease in expenses, Gamma Phi Beta has more potential to improve as a whole.
“It could either help bring down costs of living in or it could help put the extra money saved towards something for Gamma Phi, like go toward our philanthropies or to help renovate the house every few years,” Diner said.
Improving the image of the Greek community is among the goals of the Greek Sustainability Project. Pittman, an active member of the fraternity Sigma Epsilon, said there has been a negative image of not caring and being wasteful.
Pittman said that through this program and with the assistance of the sustainability chairs, Greeks can disprove their image by making an effort to improve their communities.
All of the Greek houses are encouraged to participate in Greek Sustainability and better the CU-Boulder community together.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Catherine Marylander at Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org