A blog to keep current on MPIRG'S fight for social and environmental justice.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Call to Fraternities -- Recycling those cups!

The students at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities have shown a growing interest in Greek Life. The Greek System is comprised of about 2,000 students. Fraternities alone have almost 1,200 active members. The numbers speak for themselves and the growing interest in Greek Life is noticeable.

In a system that includes this many students they undeniably play an important role in student society. Not only do they have the ability to influence campus culture but the environment as well. The Environment and Sustainability Task Force at the MPIRG Twin Cities Chapter has been working on a campaign to improve sustainable practices with Greek Life and the UMTC campus as a whole. 

The Fraternity Recycling campaign is working to develop an easy way to implement a recycling system into each house. Fraternity houses produce a large amount of recyclable goods each week and ensuring those goods are recycled will divert a huge amount of “waste” from landfills and incinerators. The task force is focusing on a grassroots approach and working to get each house to buy in to a recycling program.

Similar initiatives have sprung up on other universities across the country. For example, University of Michigan enacted “The Trust for Cups Campaign” and “Recyclemania” with great success. Besides Michigan, University of Virginia, Penn State, UC Berkeley and University of Texas have demonstrated efforts to turn the Greek Community into a green community. While a few of the initiatives were structured by outside organizations, some of them were started by members within the Greek Community.

According to statistics provided by “The Trust for Cups Campaign”, houses within the Inter Fraternal Council (IFC) consumed 40,000 single use cups weekly and 96% of their trash could have been recycled on any given weekend. These numbers are staggering and add up in a hurry!

One thing is clear; implementation of a Fraternity Recycling Program has huge potential for positive change for the campus and community at large. The campaign sees the Greek system a as leader on campus. As an influential entity, prioritizing sustainability will undoubtedly have a ripple effect within the student body.

     - Simge Okut
       Communication Intern

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