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September 21, 2010

Sorority Girls are Killing the Planet! ~ Frannie Oliver

C’mon girls, protect Mother Earth!

Every year, just around the beginning of fall, the small city/big town of Boulder, Colorado experiences a phenomenon like nothing else.

Thousands of would-be sorority girls flock to the University Hill for what is known in the Greek system as Rush Week. During Rush Week, girls visit all the houses trying to determine which house they like best…as the houses try to weed the enormous group of girls down to the few they will give bids to. Not everyone gets a bid, and the houses fill up quickly.

One way to spot a rush girl, besides the short dress and “dancer”-esque heels, is to look for a plastic bag in place of a purse or bag. Why? At some point, somewhere, sororities decided that with so many people parading through their houses, the potential for somebody to steal something was too high. They mandated that any girls rushing couldn’t bring a bag or a purse where they could potentially stash something from the house—instead, every girl carries a clear, plastic bag with things like her phone, makeup, wallet, and other purse items.

If each girl has a plastic bag, which most likely won’t last through the entire week, the amount of wasted plastic bags ends up numbering in the thousands for CU Boulder’s sororities alone. The number increases to the millions if you include sororities from across the country.

These plastic bags end up littering the landscape, hurting and killing animals, and wasting petroleum, all the while taking around 1,000s of years to degrade.

While the fear of material items being stolen from a house is a perfectly understandable one, I’d love to see my fellow students come up with a better, more environmentally-responsible way for all those rush girls to transparently carry their things. The amount of wasted plastic bags annually from Rush Week alone says something sad about the limited vision and compassion of these future leaders in the Greek system; while sororities take part in many forms of philanthropy, it’d be great to see them walk their talk through and through.

Frannie Oliver is a student at the University of Colorado and plays for the women’s ultimate frisbee team Kali. She is constantly learning from her experience at Elephant, about everything from WordPress and yoga to “sustainable” sushi.

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