Green Chapter News

Theta Chi working towards a Green Chapter

After their first semester in the Green Chapter program, UMD’s Theta Chi Fraternity has already made impressive strides towards becoming a more sustainable chapter.

In an effort to demonstrate Theta Chi’s sustainability commitment to the fraternity’s new members, the chapter incorporated a sustainability orientation in their new member education program. The orientation included a detailed explanation of Theta Chi’s expectations regarding sustainability, their involvement in the Green Chapter program and a discussion about opportunities to improve the chapter’s sustainability.

Theta Chi’s Sustainability Chair, David Greenfield, led the new member education and was excited by the outcomes. He reflects that they, “bounced lots of ideas off each other and have a good direction heading into next semester about individual and chapter goals.” As a result the chapter has already switched their cleaning products to more environmentally friendly products.

With these actions taken, Theta Chi is well on their way to becoming a Green Chapter. David is confident that the chapter will reach their sustainability goals and is excited by the transformation he is already seeing in his chapter. “We are all working together to improve our use of resources and better our community. People are beginning to see how recycling is easy and are doing it much more frequently. I see lights turned off more frequently. Little things that contribute to energy efficiency.”

Next semester Theta Chi plans to continue their progress towards Green Chapter certification by participating in Greek Life’s annual recycling dumpster painting competition and doing environmentally focused community service. They expect to become Green Chapter certified before the end of the spring semester.

Kappa Delta Sustainable Sister 

Photo of Amelia

Amelia Albrecht is a junior public policy major and rhetoric minor at the University of Maryland and the Sustainability Chair for her sorority, Kappa Delta.

Amelia  started this position in her sorority after taking the class, PLCY 301-Sustainability, her freshman year. During this class, she learned about the impact of our actions on the environment and wanted to make a difference.

As Sustainability Chair, Amelia informs the chapter about the importance of leading a sustainable lifestyle. At the beginning of the semester, she gave a presentation to the chapter featuring statistics about global climate change and gave tips on how students can be sustainable in college. She also constantly reminds members to take advantage of the recycling and compost bins located throughout the chapter house.

Lily Ebrahimi-Qajar, a junior in Kappa Delta said, “After seeing Amelia’s presentation on global climate change, I’ve consciously made an effort to be more sustainable. I’m always turning lights off around the chapter house.” Lily added, “Sometimes I even turn the running water off while girls are brushing their teeth.”

In order to incentivize sustainability throughout the chapter, Amelia started a program called “sustainable sister of the week.” Each week, she recognizes a member in the chapter who has made an active effort to better the environment. 

“It can be something as simple as recycling or turning off the lights when they leave a room,” she said.

The member that is recognized as “sustainable sister of the week” gets a point, which is used toward housing priority. “I think the program has made members more aware of the ways in which our actions affect the environment.” 

Allie Palazzolo, Communications Intern, Office of Sustainability

Meet Lee-Ellen, our Green Housing Coordinator

Believe it or not, sustainability and environmental stewardship are not concepts that I thought very much about growing up and weren’t ever ingrained into me by my parents or community. My passion for the environment is something that was sparked and fostered by my four undergraduate years at the University of Maryland.

When I began my first year as an unsuspecting freshman, I had no idea that a class about the Chesapeake Bay would lead me to declare a sustainability minor. I had no idea that minor would lead me to study sustainable development abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. I had no idea that I would graduate with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy at the end of those four years. In fact, if you told my high school self that I would become a composting vegetarian that carries a bamboo fork in her purse, she wouldn’t believe you.

Thankfully, this university’s commitment to sustainability enabled me to discover my passion. Teaching others the importance of sustainability and the power of our actions is something that I loved doing as an undergraduate student as part of the Office of Sustainability’s LEAF Outreach Team. As an outreach intern, I was able to connect with my fellow students and make environmental action more accessible, which was incredibly rewarding.

I am excited to be a part of continuing that commitment in my new role as the Green Housing Associate in the Office of Sustainability. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Resident Life and Fraternity and Sorority Life to introduce Terps on campus to sustainability through the Green Terp and Green Chapter programs. It is my genuine hope that with the help of these programs, Terps will leave UMD understanding that small actions taken every day have a monumental impact in making our campus and community more sustainable.

I look forward to continuing to apply my passion to encouraging sustainable living on campus and with any luck, the growing culture of sustainability at UMD will awaken the passion in others like me.

Lee-Ellen Myles, Green Housing Associate