UGA sororities compete to green up their houses

March 20, 2012

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Katie Valentine

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Athens, Ga. - March 19 marked the kickoff of the University of Georgia's first Sorority Green Cup, a month-long competition at UGA designed to reduce energy, water and waste and to increase recycling among 12 Panhellenic sororities and their houses.

The competition is an outgrowth of UGA's annual Green Cup Challenge held among resident halls every fall.

Chiara Gustafson, a sophomore at UGA and an intern in the UGA Office of Sustainability, came up with the idea to host the competition after she started living in a sorority house. Gustafson, a member of Gamma Phi Beta, noticed that her house could do more to reduce waste and save water and energy. Her goal with the competition is to encourage sororities to be more sustainable throughout the year.

"We want to promote sustainability and education in the sorority houses and get them to continue to conserve," she said.

For the competition, each sorority has appointed one of its members as its green chair, and she will promote the project to her sorority and be in charge of sending water, energy and recycling information to the Office of Sustainability.

The Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office and Georgia Power representatives have trained each green chair on how to read water and energy meters. Each week, Athens Clarke County Recycling Division will weigh and log each sorority's recycling. Green chairs are responsible for sending the total weight of recyclables and total water and energy usage to the Office of Sustainability, who will in turn provide a weekly rankings update.

The sororities will also compete in two weeklong events. The first is a shoe collection for Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based charity that collects and distributes shoes to people in need in more than 127 countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal and the U.S. The second is a collection of gently used bras for local charitable organizations.

The competition will culminate April 22 with a "Trashion Fashion Show" sponsored by ATHICA, the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art. Sororities must use recycled or upcycled materials to design head-to-toe outfits. The Athens community is also invited to enter the competition.

To determine the winner of the Sorority Green Cup, the total energy and water usage from the month will be compared to each sorority's average consumption for the past three years. The sorority who shows the most improvement will win the competition.

For more information on the Sorority Green Cup and other initiatives of the UGA Office of Sustainability, see http://www.sustainability.uga.edu/.

 

Filed under: Environment, Conservation, Going Green, University News, Institutional Initiatives

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