This year, Sigma Kappa Sorority and Theta Chi Fraternity proved that it’s easy—and fun—to be green.Purdue Student Government and United States Green Building Council Student Group collaborated to organize Greeks Get Green.These two houses reduced their energy usage the most over the month-long Greeks Get Green competition and will receive a professional photographer for the event of their choice.
Greeks Get Green, first established in 2012, is an energy saving competition that lasted from February 17 to March 10 this year. Houses were encouraged to turn off the lights, unplug devices and conserve energy. To measure these energy savings, each house had to submit readings from their electric meter twice a week.
This year’s Greeks Get Green included several additional events to make the competition even more exciting. Individuals who sent a “sustainable selfie” to @GreeksGetGreen received a free t-shirt. Pictures featured students turning off the lights and using reusable water bottles, among other activities.
A sheet sign contest was also held. Sigma Kappa Sorority won with Farmhouse Fraternity coming in second and Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity in third. So, what is the story behind the success of the winning houses?
The Odyssey sat down with representatives from Sigma Kappa and Theta Chi to hear what they had to say about their experience.
What did your house do to change your energy use during the competition? Sigma Kappa: Our house focused on individual change, from turning off the lights and television to unplugging hair styling tools when we weren’t using them. Although all of the rooms have automatic lights, we often forget to turn off our personal lamps. Theta Chi: We made sure to turn off appliances, and replaced our regular light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones.
Did you learn anything surprising about your energy use? Sigma Kappa: The competition just forced us to examine where we are wasting energy, and it’s surprising when you really think about it. We didn’t realize what kind of an impact something simply being plugged in could have! Theta Chi: Looking at our house budget, more than one-third of our utility bill goes toward electricity. We knew that if we could reduce our electricity consumption, it would save us money on our housing.
Do you think these habits will extend past the competition? Sigma Kappa: We think so. We are more aware and cautious of our energy use, and will definitely think twice now. Theta Chi: Yes, people are much more aware of their energy usage. In the long term we will definitely keep with the energy-efficient light bulbs—we don’t have to replace them as often, they save money, and they emit more light.
How did members of your house work together and encourage one another during the competition? Sigma Kappa: During house meetings, we would talk about how we were doing in the competition. Once we won the sheet sign competition, it was a little more motivation. We figured we were headed in the right direction, and if we won one thing we might be able to win even more. Theta Chi: One of our brothers is very interested the environment, and he really championed our effort in Greeks Get Green. He brought the competition to everyone’s attention and thought it would be a great opportunity to share his passion and have us win something.
Finally, what was your favorite part about Greeks Get Green? Sigma Kappa: The selfie Olympics were a fun way to start the competition—it was funny to see what people came up with. Winning the sheet sign was also a highlight for us. Theta Chi: The sheet sign. Our pledges wanted to make the sheet sign, and it was a great way to get them involved. Additionally, becoming more aware of the energy we waste was important for us.
With another year of Greeks Get Green complete, we are looking forward to the 2015 competition! Special thanks to Katie Emerson (President, Sigma Kappa), Adrienne Holland (Greeks Get Green representative, Sigma Kappa), George Rambos (President, Theta Chi), Sam Sakevicius (PR Chairman, Sigma Kappa), and Allison Turner (Director of Sustainability, Purdue Student Government) for sharing their insights.