More than ever, there appears to be a growing emphasis on taking care of the environment. People are getting involved and taking a stand to influence change in our society. To promote these efforts, it is important for us to recognize those within our communities who are working to make an impact on the current status of how we, as a community, can make our environmental efforts greater. Currently, at UT Austin, there is an organization working to do just that.
By Jennifer Meseck
Green Greeks is a student run organization sponsored by UT that is focused on creating and implementing sustainable practices within the greek community—such as recycling and composting. Currently, they are working on implementing a zero-waste initiative at Round Up (a weekend including crawfish boils, philanthropy events, and fraternity parties with guest performers), which will help to make sure that waste produced by the weekend will be either composted or recycled to the best of their abilities. Katia Eaton, one of the co-project leaders for Green Greeks—along with Blake Stephens, sat down with me to explain how they plan to implement this and their motivations for tackling such a big task.
She said, in general, a lot of waste is produced from parties, but that it can easily be resolved. By implementing sustainable practices during one of the biggest party weekends at UT, we can make a greater amount of change in one go around.
At the moment, their plan to enact the zero-waste initiative has been approved. They are currently in the process of adding composts to philanthropy events as well as discussing with fraternities what processes—such as recycling—they already have within their houses. This will allow Green Greeks to aide them by providing other components that are necessary to create a more environmentally conscious aspect to the events. Additionally, Katia stated that most of the work will happen the day after roundup since most people tend to drop their cups and trash on the ground. Green Greeks will go to the houses to ensure proper clean up ensues.
Now, you may be wondering what items pertaining to party culture can be recycled and composted. The answer is that almost everything can, according to Eaton. In regards to recycling, plastic cups, aluminum beer cans, and glass bottles can be recycled. This includes items with partial liquid remains still in them, so there is no need to worry about whether or not it is okay to recycle something with minimal liquid remnants on it; however, if it still has a decent amount of liquid in it, you should pour it out before recycling. As for composting, crawfish and paper plates—even those with food scraps on them—can be composted. This just about sums up items related to parties. By realizing this, it is easy to see how parties really can become zero-waste.
Green Greeks is aware that this may not entirely eliminate waste produced by parties. Since they know it’s not realistic to expect perfection the first time implementing the initiative. They are ultimately working to spark a change in order to make it easier to become zero-waste in the years to come.
Many people are unaware of how simple it is to decrease the amount of waste produced by parties. If we take the time to learn what we can do to create change, we can be more conscious of changing our bad habits, so we can better aide the planet we live on.
We must all work to find ways we can help our environment. Green Greeks is a great example of a group of people working together to help our community be more environmentally savvy. Ultimately, they are working to create a shift in the amount of waste produced by parties. They noticed something they could create a difference in and are making it happen. Overall, Green Greeks is transforming the reputation of party culture, and we all, as a community, should work to make change happen in other areas of our society too.