Alabama ATOs spearhead green movement among Greeks

Mar 9, 2010

Through the Greeks for Green campaign, part of the SGA Greener Way for UA program, fraternities and sororities on campus are taking steps to help the environment.

Greeks for Green started Feb. 9 with a recycling contest for the house that can recycle the most waste. The winner of the competition will be announced at the end of Green Week on April 23. Also announced that day will be the house deemed “most green.”

The campaign information says that for a house to go green, they must have a recycling program, use no Styrofoam, use compact fluorescent light bulbs, have green disposable kitchenware, increase use of reusable dishes and have an environmental chairman or chairwoman.

Kelly Fields, SGA department of environmental concerns greek liaison said, so far the UA Recycling Logistics and Support Services has collected 70 bags of recycling for the competition in the past two weeks.

The winner of the contests will receive $1,000 donated to the fraternity or sorority’s philanthropy. The second place winner will be given a $500 donation for the house’s philanthropy. The prize money was collected through the sale of Greeks for Green t-shirts.

Greeks for Green began this year when Kelly Fields, Justinn Trott and Mason Overstreet, all members of the SGA department of environmental concerns, organized a proposal to implement activities in the university’s Greek organizations to reduce environmental impact.

After getting the support of SGA President Steven Oliver, the four presented the initiative to the Pan-Hellenic Committee, Inter Fraternal Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council. The representatives from each council appointed an environmental chairman for his house to enforce green practices.

“Not a lot of other greek systems have green projects,” Fields said. “Hopefully we’re starting a trend in greek systems to be more environmentally friendly.”

Justinn Trott, SGA director of environmental concerns, said that in her two years in the SGA she’s always thought it was important for greeks to get involved in Greener Way for UA, but never had the time to organize a project.

“They represent so much of our campus, and have such a great organized system that they would have a great affect,” Trott said.

“Ever since I was a freshmen it’s been a dream of mine to get the greek system to go green, and this year, working with SGA and Kelly, that finally came true,” said Mason Overstreet, SGA department of environmental concerns liaison.

Overstreet, a senior majoring in environmental studies conservation and policy, said after his fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega, went completely green by the fall of his sophomore year, he received calls from other houses wanting to be more environmentally friendly.

Both Trott and Overstreet said there was a need and interest for the greek system to get involved with A Greener Way for UA, but no official measures were taken until this year when Kelly Fields jump started the Greeks for Green campaign.

“This project is very exciting, and Kelly has done a wonderful job organizing it,” Overstreet said.

“I think people are more aware of their impact on the environment. It’s the small things like turning off a light when you leave a room. Any way you can reduce or reuse will help,” Fields said.


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