Campus is home to five Greek councils, 90 fraternity and sorority chapters, and 49 chapter homes. While a chapter’s first priority for a house is providing a comfortable, welcoming living space for its members, this has become increasingly difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, several chapters are adding sustainability to their priority list.
iSEE designed the Certified Green Chapter Program (CGCP) to encourage Greek chapters to commit to sustainability. Simple, effective actions such as installing a bike rack for the chapter’s use or starting a Meatless Monday program can be adopted to reduce a house’s environmental footprint.
The CGCP was relaunched in 2020 with more actions that make it easier for chapters to become certified, such as referring another chapter to join the program or coming up with their own green initiatives.
Triangle Fraternity, located on Daniel Street, is the first chapter to reach silver certification. Silver certification is accomplished when a chapter commits to 10 or more sustainability actions.
“I wanted to get Triangle certified because I noticed that there was a lot of waste in the house without any form of recycling, and I wanted to change that. I then joined Green Greeks, … (where) I learned about the Green Chapter certification process and all of the different practices that could be implemented in the house,” said Andrew Biondi, Sustainability Ambassador for Triangle Fraternity.
The members of Triangle Fraternity were very creative when coming up with strategies to commit to some of the actions.
“I was able to get (recycling) buckets and stickers from the Champaign Public Works Department, so all of the bins are properly marked and easy to use,” Biondi said. “We also have people walk around the house and turn off all unnecessary lights at the end of the day.”
Even if members are learning and living remotely, there are ways to safely and effectively green-certify their chapter house! In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic, iSEE now conducts all communications with chapters via email, no longer requires chapter house visits, and recognizes certified chapters at virtual events.
“Throughout this process I have realized that all of the small things we can do to make our lives more sustainable add up to make a big impact. If everyone were to make minor changes to their lifestyles we would see a major shift towards a more sustainable future,” Biondi said.
No step is too small when it comes to living more sustainably. We all must work together to be more environmentally-conscious and sustainable as a campus and community. Visit our Certified Green Chapter Program page to learn more and get certified!
If you work in an office, host university-affiliated events (in-person or virtual), participate in campus Greek life, or belong to an RSO, you can take sustainable action to transform your environment and inspire those around you by attending iSEE’s Certified Greener Campus Workshop on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. For more information, visit the calendar event.
— Story by iSEE Communications Intern Samantha Roberson