J500 Media and the Environment

Suburb to sorority. by denah
February 25, 2008, 2:53 pm
Filed under: Waste + Recycling | Tags: , , , , ,

I grew up with a freakishly clean, recycle-maniac of a father in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I consciously was aware of the numbers at the bottom of my yogurt containers at a very young age. Recycling has always been something I was an advocate of. I had to be, or else my dad would make me go through the garbage and pick out what I forgot to put into the recycling bin. Now, I am ‘sort of’ on my own. Instead of taking the apartment route after living in Naismith Hall freshman year, I decided to take the sorority route. There are many perks of joining a sorority. One of the primary ones is living in the chapter’s house. Currently, I live in a house with 35 other girls and a house mother. Not my ideal living situation, either.

Let’s just say… sorority girls + lack of recycling + waste consumption = a large carbon footprint.

Since I live in a communal household, I throw my garbage away wherever I see a trash can (bathroom, hallway, foyer, dining area, etc.) My own personal trash (consisting of food wrappers, used paper, water bottles, dryer sheets, etc.—some things I definitely should recyle) can has been collecting garbage for about 3 weeks now. It is still not completely full. It weighs about 5 pounds. On the other hand, garbage cans everywhere in the house are just piling up. Sorority sisters (myself included) are putting their papers, plastics, etc. into the garbage seemingly non-chalant. There are moments I realize…wow, we really should have a recycling program (other than just stuffing cans into a cardboard box that never gets dropped off anywhere in order to be recycled).


*My own little garbage can in my room.


* The paper towels stacking up in the bathroom. This is less than 24 hours worth of thrown away towels.

I’m putting my psychology major cap on and am thinking about it like this: my sorority sisters (generally) are not consciously aware of their carbon footprints as they place their garbage into the garbage can. Many people out there are intimidated and threatened by the large influence humans have on the planet. Or maybe they just don’t know how to recycle or be “waste smart”. Maybe they are just not educated about their impact.

Even if there was a recycling program at the sorority house…would that even make a difference? Would my sisters even consider these recycling bins before placing their recycleable trash into the garbage? All I can say is this: I’m glad I’m being educated about my carbon footprint. I’m thankful for my freakishly clean, recycle-maniac of a father who told me it was important to recycle because we were saving the world.


*the pitiful “recycling program” we have.

-Dena Hart


2 Comments so far
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I was in the same boat as you were when I was an undergraduate at Baker University last year. My fraternity (Sigma Phi Epsilon) was kind of dirty almost all of the time, so I always would just pick trash up and throw it away without giving a second thought to recycling it. With there being so much trash at all times, it was just so much easier to take it to the dumpster in our back yard rather than sorting it, etc., etc.

It’s difficult to recycle when living in a Greek house.

I’m now the chapter counselor for SigEp, and we’re always looking for ways of improving our image. So I’m trying to implement a somewhat-Green atmosphere at the house. Most of the guys don’t really care about the environment, but it will get them good press, hence making us look better. And that’s what they care about. We just started talking about this, so it might not happen. But maybe you could suggest a similar thing to your sisters.

J.J. De Simone

Comment by jjdesimone

Good press, good karma, whatever it takes, I say!

Comment by j500

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