February 10, 2011

LEAF Rating System Rewards Greek Sustainability

Print More

Greeks Go Green will launch LEAF, a rating system that grades Cornell’s Greek chapters on their sustainability efforts, on Friday.

Kristen Vitro ’11, former president of GGG and primary author of the LEAF system, said that LEAF will allow GGG to further evaluate the sustainability of the Greek community.

“We have a lot of chapters doing some really great things, but until now we didn’t have a comprehensive way of evaluating them that was objective in nature,” Vitro said. She added that through this point rating system, chapters would be able to objectively compare their sustainability practices.

Through LEAF, chapters can receive up to 100 points for their sustainability practices.  LEAF awards points in categories such as water conservation, energy conservation and green purchasing. Every 20 points represents a leaf, making the highest achievement earning five leaves.

The LEAF system also recognizes environmental awareness education and sustainability-related service events, so chapters that do not have physical houses, such as those in the Multicultural Greek Letter Council, can still gain points through LEAF.

Mouleena Khan ’12, a current co-chair of GGG, emphasized the importance of incorporating sustainable practices and promoting environmental awareness in the Greek system.

“A large portion of Cornell’s population is involved in Greek life, so the benefits of getting the entire community to actively think about sustainability are twofold.” Khan said.

In order for chapters to participate in the LEAF system, they must submit electronically submit their intention to join. Participating chapters will have to report information about their practices to receive points.  Afterwards, a member of GGG will meet with the chapter representative and schedule a walkthrough to ensure that practices were accurately reported.

Since participation in the LEAF system is completely optional for chapters, there are no consequences for earning a low number of points. Vitro said, however, that through reporting the lower ratings, GGG and chapters will be better equipped to identify the areas that need more attention.

Dan Roth, Cornell Sustainability Coordinator, said that while the College Sustainability Report card, which gave Cornell an “A-” asseses the entire University, the LEAF system hones in on a highly influential entity on campus.

“Our office is dedicated to the integration of sustainability practices into our community, so when GGG expressed their interest in rejuvenation of Greek sustainability activity, we were really excited,” Roth said.

While the LEAF system is only available to IFC, Panhellenic and MGLC chapters, GGG seeks to spread sustainability awareness to the entire Cornell community through the reported efforts of chapters on campus.

Original Author: Hermela Nadew