Green Cup encourages students to conserve

Emily Chin, Reporter

For the ninth year in a row, Green Cup is in full swing.

Northwestern Dining is currently in the middle of Green Cup, a campus-wide competition led by Students for Ecological and Environmental Development in partnership with the Office of Sustainability. Throughout the competition, students can earn points for their residences by saving energy and water and attending Green Cup events. The competition kicked off Monday with Weigh the Waste, an event in which students sorted food waste at the Allison and Sargent dining halls.  

NU Dining Marketing Manager Rachel Tilghman said after Weigh the Waste’s debut in 2010, she wanted to bring the activity back this year as part of their sustainability initiative.

“We want to reduce waste as much as we can,” Tilghman said. “We definitely want you to eat as much as you want, but we don’t want you to take more than you can eat.”

Green Cup hosted a debate about genetically modified organisms on Monday. Events will continue throughout the week, providing students the opportunity to earn points for their teams.

“It’s really exciting that we’re kicking off Green Cup with so many events,” said Allison Potteiger, Office of Sustainability communications coordinator.

There are four main categories for Green Cup teams: residential colleges with dining halls, residential colleges without dining halls, fraternities and sororities. This year, every residential college is participating, and most fraternities and sororities are participating, said Weinberg sophomore Sara Johns, SEED Green Cup chair.

The off-campus category is returning for the second year this year. The group is separate because it can’t participate in the energy and water consumption aspect of the competition but can earn points by going to events.

Potteiger said she’s glad they expanded Green Cup last year to include students living off campus but wishes there was a way to evaluate how much students are saving water off campus as well.

For students living on campus, weekly readings tell residents how much water and energy they are wasting, and based on these numbers, their teams can be awarded points.

Though the competition is a month long, there will be winners each week who will receive prizes such as reusable water bottles, Johns said. There will be one final winner for each category. The winners for fraternities and sororities will receive $500 for Dance Marathon or for other philanthropy events. They have not decided on a reward for the winners in residential colleges.

Another change is the shift from Winter Quarter to Fall Quarter. Until last year, Green Cup was held in February but was switched to fall so more people could participate.

“They moved it to the fall so when we get into school, the first thing that hits students is the focus on sustainability that will continue through the year,” Johns said.

Johns said she hopes people keep thinking about keeping the environment clean after Green Cup is over. SEED will be hosting a winter speaker and Philfest, an outdoor benefit concert, in the spring to keep students active with sustainability.

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