For some members of UT’s Greek life, Round Up weekend is an opportunity to drink, party and rep their chapters in the most colorful way possible. But, after the glitter settles, the waste from the weekend remains.
Round Up is an annual social and philanthropic event hosted in March by UT’s Interfraternity Council. This year, Green Greeks, an organization focused on creating more sustainable Greek life practices, aims to make Round Up more environmentally friendly through their goal of having a zero-waste weekend.
“So many items at parties, such as beer cans, White Claw cans and water bottles do not need to be going straight to landfills. They need to be properly sorted,” said Katia Eaton, project leader of Green Greeks. “To go zero-waste is a very do able thing. The only issue is proper sorting.”
The organization is collaborating with fraternities to help them sort waste left over from Round Up events. Green Greeks will provide a list of common items used at parties to each chapter, and fraternities can respond with what items they will be using and will be instructed on how to sort the items afterward.
IFC board member Cole Kofnovec said he views this initiative as an opportunity for IFC to create change during Round Up beyond the money raised for charity.
“With Round Up being such a big event for students, IFC sees this weekend as a great opportunity to reduce as much landfill waste as possible,” said Kofnovec, a finance junior.
It is undetermined how many fraternities Green Greeks will be working with so far, but all sororities participating in Round Up have agreed to reduce their waste this year, said Eaton, an economics and sustainable studies junior.
Green Greeks is also working to ensure all fraternities have a recycling hauler at their Round Up event. Since this precaution is already mandated by the City of Austin, lacking a recycling hauler at such a large event could result in a fine, Eaton said.
Ali Rolnick, Delta Gamma sorority member, said she is looking forward to Round Up and is eager to see Green Greeks’ initiatives take place.
“Properly sorting food and waste are small steps that lead to big change,” said Rolnick, a mathematics freshman. “I hope that through Round Up, people can learn that (sustainability) isn’t as hard as it seems.”
Although this is Green Greeks’ first year collaborating with Round Up, Eaton said the organization hopes to leave an impact for years to come.
“Greek life has a huge representation on campus, and their practices can influence other sectors of UT life,” Eaton said. “As a group of organized people, it is super important to be sustainable.”