By: Daniel Edelson, Sustainability & the Greek Community Intern
The IU Office of Sustainability (IUOS) defines sustainability as, “thriving within our means to achieve balance among environmental health, economic prosperity, and social equity”. In a new initiative from the university, the IUOS is trying to bring this type of sustainable thinking to IU’s fraternity and sorority life. As a microcosm of greater society, the Greek community yields a great deal of opportunity to reduce waste and institute more sustainable practices. Therefore, the IUOS is developing a Greek sustainability program, which will be led by a network of Chapter Sustainably Chairs (CSC). With each chapter’s participation and support the program will help the IUOS further pursue its 2020 Vision– 20 goals they aspire to achieve by 2020.
In a coalition between the IUOS, the Office of Student Life and Learning, the PanHellenic Association, and the Interfraternity Council; the program encourages the appointment of a Chapter Sustainability Chair (CSC) through IU’s Greek life. The CSC position provides a new and exciting leadership opportunity for chapter members and allows for further development of new and existing sustainability-related initiatives. Support from IUOS’s sustainability advisors and experts ensure that the chairs are provided with the appropriate university guidance and resources.
The IUOS is developing a resource guide of potential initiatives demonstrated in other chapters on campus. Recommendations range from building energy efficiency retrofits to kitchen services and transportation improvements. The CSC’s are to collaborate with advisors to assess the feasibility initiatives, communicate with chapter members to determine sustainability priorities for the year, and work within the chapter to examine what initiatives are most suitable. With a network of active and passionate sustainability chairs, the Greek community can reduce its environmental footprint and lead the campus in instilling a culture of sustainable awareness.