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Attaining a more eco-friendly lifestyle is becoming a new priority for Greek organizations across WKU’s campus. The Greeks Go Green initiative, an environmental competition, which kicked off Sept. 20, is pushing all Greek organizations to hold themselves accountable for protecting the Earth.

Claire Kaelin, founder of the competition and member of Delta Zeta, said she had the idea after studying abroad in France last semester. While living in the country, she found herself immersed in a culture where the lifestyle was more eco-conscious than how people lived in America.

Seeing how the communities and businesses came together in concern for the environment sparked Kaelin’s idea after her return to the states.

“Looking back at social media from America, I was aware of how big a disparity there was.’’ Kaelin said. “The amount of environmental concern in America was noticeably less than that in France.”

After this realization, she created the Greeks Go Green Initiative and made it her Honors Capstone Project.

Kaelin recruited other passionate students and began working in June. Their passion and enthusiasm for the cause guided them to mobilizing the Greek communities.

For the competition, WKU’s food recovery network will be lending a hand in helping decide which chapter house is the most sustainable.

The contest operates on a point system. Greek houses will submit evidence of eco-friendly actions to receive a varying amount of points.

For example, if a chapter house saves on a water or electric bill from the past month, they’ll receive 50 points.

Virtually any sustainable action or result can earn points. Greeks Go Green’s main goal for setting up the competition is to show Greek organizations how easy it is to not contaminate nature.

The winners of the competition will be announced during Greek Week and will receive up to $300 toward their philanthropy.

The Greeks Go Green’s vision is to change the culture around sustainability and get the general population interested in the protection of the environment. Kaelin said she is really excited to have this new incentive on campus for sororities and fraternities to develop green habits.

WKU freshman and environmentalist, Rachelle Cordova, said that she thinks the Greek organizations are making the right decision in enacting the program.

“It’s important to recycle and reduce things because it’s not going to look good in 20 years if we don’t,” Cordva said. “I don’t want that.”

Kaelin said she hopes to generate concrete evidence that Greek communities are recycling and reducing the detrimental effects that things like plastic and gasoline have on the environment.

“I want every Greek organization to be involved and submit, even if it’s just one time that they do something,” Kaelin said. “The communities have a chance to make a better reputation for themselves and to use their ability to enact widespread change.”

The Food Recovery Network is also helping Greeks Go Green place food pantries in the Greek housing divisions. They can opt in to have a pantry on their property, and the network will build it for them.

In addition to the competition, Greeks Go Green plans to raise awareness for the cause by tabling, selling metal straws and more. During the spring semester, an entire week will be dedicated to Greeks Go Green and sustainability.

Interested students can follow the Greeks Go Green Instagram and Twitter pages and send emails to wkugreeksgogreen@gmail.com

Reporter Matthew Williams can be reached at 270-745-6291 and matthew.williams@topper.wku.edu.