Greeks plan to go green
Currently, there are only two recycling bins in all of Greek town.
Dec. 09, 2014
A new recycling program for Greek Town will be implemented next semester by the Missouri Students Association’s Campus and Community Relations Committee.
“You get caught up in everyday life and you forget about these things like recycling and stuff like that, that you had back home but now you don’t have here,” CCRC chairman Chad Phillips said.
Junior Ann Millington came up with the original idea for the Greek Town recycling initiative.
MSA senator Polly Haun said they plan to make this initiative more of a priority. She said she hopes this will be their big project next semester.
“Being a part of the Greek community, we can bring about change, and I think that this is a relatively easy way to do something, that can really impact our community,” Haun said.
This initiative was on the placed on the back burner during the fall semester because students were focused on city bus routes.
“We have a very broad goal as of now, which is basically to increase in any capacity possible recycling in Greek Town,” Phillips said. “I think that there is a lot of potential and a lot of ways to. I think we are missing out on huge opportunity to recycle and increase the recycling rate of that area in general.”
Currently, there are only two recycling bins in all of Greek Town. Those two bins are privately owned, so only specific houses use them. Phillips said this shows there is a lot of room for improvement.
“This is important because recycling is something that is relatively easy to do that makes a really big impact on the environment, especially in Columbia, since the landfill is filling up quickly and a lot of things that go into the landfill are recyclable,” Haun said.
Problems the initiative have encountered with the chapter houses include space and cost. Sororities and fraternities have a limited number of parking spots and budgetary limits, which could prevent them from taking on the initiative. Once budgets have already been set for the year, Haun said, it is difficult for them to make changes to it.
The plan is to have each house get a dumpster or a bin depending upon whatever their needs are. It costs about $15 a month for a roll cart that can hold up to 90 gallons of recyclable trash.
“I think everyone wants it,” Phillips said. “It is just convincing them that it’s worth those costs.”
Another problem that the initiative is facing is that Greek Town has been zoned commercially, therefore recycling is not built in to utility fees, compared to residential areas where it is already built into the cost one is paying.
Several houses have already expressed interest in participating in this initiative including Sigma Phi Epsilon, Theta Chi, Kappa Alpha Theta, Alpha Delta Pi and Delta Chi. With many houses on board, Phillips said he hopes the rest of the Greek community will also be receptive.
“Most chapters want to put a positive image of themselves out there, and I think that recycling and being green and being eco-friendly is something that is becoming more important so that really plays into that positive image,” Haun said.
In the past, multiple groups have tried to accomplish this. Phillips said he believes the initiative could not be implemented in past years because the right people were not being connected to the right dots.
He said the collaborative effort is what makes them different because in past years it has always been one group that has taken on.
“The first step we took was meeting with all these different parties that were involved. We tried to map out all of the people that were involved with us and include them all because that collaborative effort is so much more powerful than one group trying to do it.”
The senators have met with the MU Sustainability Office, Sustain Mizzou and Greeks Go Green, as well as the Panhellenic Association and the Interfraternity Council.
“I think that (on campus organizations) are important because a lot of them have a lot more knowledge about both recycling itself and the knowledge of how recycling within the city of Columbia works, like with pickup routes and cost,” Haun said.
The first meeting took place with the Sustainability Office. Through the meeting, they learned where other groups had failed and were able to devise a path that is different from past groups.
“It’s really something where you have to have the right connections and people in the same room, which is something we have really been successful with so far,” Phillips said.
In addition to on campus organizations, they have also met with the Columbia City Council. City of Columbia sustainability manager Barbara Buffaloe was one of the council members present at the meeting.
At the meeting, she said the students wanted to know how easy it would be to implement the initiative, what options are available and what would be the best way to advertise it.
“A lot of these people, they want recycling,” Phillips said. “They just don’t know how to go about getting it, and what it is going to cost them as a house, so we are trying to make the connections.”
Phillips said most students and groups his committee has talked to are on board with the proposal.
“Often, students in dorms and Greek houses are living on their own for the first time,” Buffaloe said. “We want them to be good stewards of the environment and to practice sustainable behaviors that will last throughout their life. If they get used to recycling now, they will continue to recycle when they leave college.”