Editorial: Green Cup can be more inclusive

uch as SEED, Facilities, Student Affairs and ISEN may try, for many Northwestern students Green Cup has had very little impact. Greek Green Cup has been more successful in using competition to modify consumption habits. Sororities and fraternities compete against one another in a March Madness-esque playoff system which pits houses against each other, first in pools and then in head-to-head competition. Winners get money towards their philanthropy as well as bragging rights.

The system of direct contest has fostered a sense of competitiveness; houses do everything from making customized Green Cup shirts to limiting shower times. This level of involvement is noticeably higher than in most dormitories. At the very least, some Greeks may get in the habit of turning off their lights when they leave the room.

Unfortunately, the majority of students don’t live in sororities or fraternities and remain uninvolved with Green Cup. Green Cup should work to include the entire NU community in the competition and thus increase both involvement and enthusiasm. Most students who live in dorms have no real incentive to compete. The prospect of bragging rights is weakened by the fact that dorms do not feel the same kind of competitive spirit Greek life does. The small monetary rewards are not well-publicized and it’s doubtful that a student would be willing to change their everyday behavior for the possibility of splitting $1,000 among dozens of students. While some dorms encourage their residents with signs and other helpful reminders, other reminders beyond listserv announcements and floor meetings are rare.

The roughly 30 percent of students who live off campus are entirely left out of the competition. Let’s include them. A reduction in gas, electricity and water could be incentivized; off-campus students could bring in their utility bills, and the house or apartment showing the greatest percentage decrease winning the payment of that month’s bill or another form of compensation. Greek houses have proved Green Cup’s potential. If handled correctly the competition could be an effective and uniting experience for the entire NU community.