Greek Life goes green

CSU Greeks is trying to put a stop to a reputation of hosting parties by focusing on energy costs to support the environmental project, ClimateWise.

Director of Sustainability for the Associate Students of CSU, Andrew Oringer looked to build community involvement when bringing in Greek Life to ClimateWise.

“What’s different about about ClimateWise and the RecycleMania on campus is the actual living cost,” Oringer said. “People who live off campus have to turn off the lights … the goal now is to help bring back cheaper amenities to off-campus student.”

A free program dedicated to helping local businesses and the Fort Collins community, ClimateWise targets environmental assessments and creative solutions within life on and off campus.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by promoting waste, reduction, energy saving, alternative transportation, water conservation and practicing conservation, ClimateWise works now with 350 companies including two fraternities on campus.

ClimateWise was created in 2000 and has influenced the Fort Collins community and the importance of reducing energy usage.

Over the last 13 years, ClimateWise has gained support from New Belgium Brewing Company, Poudre School Districts, Colorado State and Odell Brewing Company have supported the ClimateWise project.

Pi Kappa Phi Sustainability Chair Andrew Fore helped initiate ClimateWise within Greek Life. Working with ASCSU, Pi Kappa Phi is planning five programs this semester one sustainability and includes fireplace, installation and piping, light turn off, cost of living and light monitoring during unwanted hours.

“Next semester we are creating new goals,” Fore said. “The smallest things make a difference huge difference.”

A long way from an annual payment of $46,000 per year for 40 men, Pi Kappa Phi looks to cut their living costs in half after one year in the program.

After six months of ClimateWise, Pi Kappa Phi has reached a silver partner. A silver partner is expected to put on programs within the organization and support reaching goal marks in sustainability.

Pi Kappa Phi has transformed their way of energy and water usage in just one semester, which is not to be expected to happen until one to two years in the ClimateWise program.

Sigma Phi Epsilon has reached the bronze level. The fraternity could not be reached for comment.

Pi Kappa Phi does not have a single recycling bin in the house during the start of the project in fall of 2012. After one year of work, CSU’s largest fraternity will be implementing a new bike rack in the fall and continue to lower the cost of living and improve the community CSU’s students call home.

“We used to have recycling outside of our house, but because of the apartment complexes near by, we were charged for materials that were not properly put into the recycling.” Fore said. “In the future we are looking to have our own recycling with a lock on it. This way we can monitor what is being put in it.”

Members are encouraged to longboard, bike, walk from the house to campus and carpool with one car filled with four brothers are most. Reducing their living expenses on the road, Pi Kappa Phi is also implementing recycling education and water

“It is a slow moving process,” Oringer said. “Through introductions and training, the prices can potentially be cut in half.”

Prospectively estimated to join Pi Kappa Phi and Sigma Phi Epsilon in the ClimateWise project is sorority Zeta Tau Alpha.

“We have the opportunity to show that working with ClimateWise can cut down costs,” Fore said. “We are so new to this that we are trying to be a leader on campus and work closely with the university and go green.”

If you would like more information, visit the Fort Collins ClimateWise website. http://www.fcgov.com/climatewise/

Collegian Writer Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at news@collegian.com.