Sorority Girls are Killing the Planet! ~ Frannie Oliver

Via on Sep 20, 2010

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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6 Responses to “Sorority Girls are Killing the Planet! ~ Frannie Oliver”

  1. Ted says:

    How about mesh bags? Like those 'stuff sacks' we use when we go hiking/floating/camping.

  2. AMO says:

    Hmmmm. I travel a lot and I use the plastic bags the airlines insist you have to keep my tiny bottles, which I refill when I need to.
    I have lived in Argentina for 2 years, traveling back and forth regularly, and to other places in the world as well, by air, by bus, by car, some trips lasting for months, and I haven't replaced my plastic bag in all that time. I think you're making a big deal out of nothing. I've had the same plastic ziplock baggie in my travel purse for well over 2 years and have covered almost 100K miles with it (I also don't drink bottled water unless it's absolutely life threatening to drink local water when I travel). I think a plastic bag can make it through rush week, and rush week being over doesn't mean the bag is automatically tossed, though it could be, some frugal planet loving sorority sisters may reuse them again and again for other things….

  3. elephant journal elephantjournal says:

    #
    Roger Wolsey curious. so what are some "other transparent" options?
    glass jars?

    #
    Rick Gilbert create a "purse check" at the residence. make the pledges pay a few bucks each–a cut goes to someone working the check, the rest goes to the sorority. you could expand it to have someone confiscate keys if a pledge is hammered, too. if the residence visits happen all week long, however, this might be impractical…

    #
    Valerie Soraci Mitchell Some many comments so little space….

    #
    Aminda R Courtwright Ⓥ mesh bags, reusable clear makeup bags…they sell them…and the check idea works

    #
    Kevin Liberty Hotaling I get the sentiment, however, I somehow feel that a ziploc each just isn't any of our business. I occasionally like to use ziploc bags too, but it's mostly because the government makes me every time I fly.

    #
    Valerie Soraci Mitchell
    I guess it's not any of our business when those bags end up in the ocean, poisoning the fish and destroying waterways and the ecology surrounding them. Birds don't have any rights, who the hell cares if they die from plastic bag consumption. Life isn't just about individual humans, we're all on this planet together and we're all connected. I still don't understand how living by the idea "mine first" works for long term survival.
    Aminda had the solution, they sell clear plastic bags that employers make their employees buy (for theft reasons) if they can afford to rush, they can afford a little reusable plastic bag.

    Big picture, Kevin, they all add up. And they all add up because WE put them there. A little responsibility in the cleaning up the mess, perchance?

    #
    James Tripp i don't use plastic bags, i use the skin of baby kittens and the zipper to the bag is made with the bones of puppies……we are all in this together, its the circle of life

    #
    Valerie Soraci Mitchell at least you're recycling…

    #
    elephantjournal.com
    Annie AMO, have you seen a college campus or neighborhood lately? There's very little "reuse" ethos. It's all broken bottles, red cups on lawns, everything's trashed at the end of every semester when folks moved…it's enough to make a boy or g…irl scout cry for shame!

    Still, amen, I'm with the spirit of what you're saying—I'm sure some sisters care and I think, if you read Frannie's piece, she offered the above optimistically, if in a fun way.

  4. George Bond says:

    Frannie, do you have a dog to throw the frisbee with? If off campus in a house with a yard, a kelpie or other herding dog is a great player with the flying toy! I had one for ten years that would wear out both my arms throwing and him retrieving. Not sure how old the post is, just discovered it and saw you were a frisbee thrower! :):)

  5. [...] no, not during my freshman year rush, then I was golden! No, it happened during my sophomore year when I was on the other side, judging [...]

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