Forty-one pounds of waste were picked up around West Campus by a dozen volunteers Sunday following the Texas football victory over USC.
The waste, split evenly between trash and recycling, was collected and disposed of by UT Green Greeks, a group of volunteers focused on sustainability in Greek life. Katia Eaton, a Green Greeks project leader and Alpha Chi Omega member, said she was proud of the result of the cleanup.
“It’s really exciting to pick up any amount of waste no matter the size,” sustainability studies and economics junior Eaton said. “It’s awesome that now there’s 41 less pounds of litter in West Campus.”
Advertising junior Nathaniel Stevens is another project leader of UT Green Greeks and a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Stevens said he joined the organization after seeing the impact of the Greek life system to West Campus.
“I saw a big problem in terms of how much waste we contribute to the community, so I just wanted to find a way to get involved and help out,” Stevens said.
Both Stevens and Eaton organize cleanups about twice per semester, with bags and gloves provided by Keep Austin Beautiful, a nonprofit which focuses on caring for the city’s environment. Stevens and Eaton said they choose to clean after notable events like Halloween or RoundUp because they know there is a lot of waste to be collected.
Eaton said she recognizes the challenge of engaging college students after events like the USC game Saturday because people who went out to party don’t necessarily want to wake up early to pick up trash the next morning.
“It’s the double-edged sword of doing this after such a big football game,” Eaton said. “There’s so much waste, which is awesome because that’s what we’re here to do, but also everyone had a really good time (Saturday) night.”
That did not stop Madison Bradley, an Alpha Chi Omega member, from contributing.
“A lot of waste is produced in West Campus with a lot of carelessness,” said Bradley, environmental studies and geographical sciences sophomore. “Zoning in on an area where it’s very significant and concentrated is very important.”
Eaton said there is much to be done to create sustainable Greek organizations, even with their work of organizing cleanups and educating people about environmentally friendly practices.
“There is a lot of work ahead of us, which is not overwhelming, but it is very inspiring to see how much we have to go,” Eaton said.