Become a Green Chapter

  • Dumpster
  • Students holding sustainable bags
  • Dumpster
  • Students holding up award
  • Student holding up awards

Become a UMD Green Chapter

To become Green Chapter certified, fraternities and sororities must complete three steps:

1.      Your  chapter appoints/elects a Sustainability Chair

Your Sustainability Chair will serve as a key point of contact between your chapter and the Green Chapter program. The Sustainability Chair will be responsible for coordinating events within your community, keeping track of your progress through the Green Chapter steps, and completing your final Org-Sync application form. The Sustainability Chair will meet with Green Chapter staff to assist your in achieving Green Chapter status. 

‚Äč2.      At least 30% of our Chapter members are Green Terp certified

Green Terp supports and promotes students who take steps to reduce their environmental footprint. Students will receive a checklist of actions and must adopt 10 habits to become Green Terp certified.  Encourage your brothers and sisters to take individual action to reduce their carbon footprint by encouraging them to sign up for the Green Terp program.

3.      Complete three (3) Chapter-wide actions

These Chapter-wide actions are not only sustainable actions, but also support the six pillars of Greek Life and encourage campus and community development. This checklist is not an exhaustive list of the possible actions your Chapter could take so feel free to create your own sustainable actions if you feel inspired! Please choose three actions from the following list:

We include information about sustainability in our new member education process


  • Write a one-page information sheet on your Chapter’s sustainability policies and goals.
  • Ensure your Sustainability Chair provides an orientation to new members.
  • Plan a sustainability event during recruitment so that new members know about your priorities.

We include sustainability as an agenda item at each weekly Chapter meeting


  • What waste issues have you noticed inside the House?
  • What is our Chapter carbon footprint? What is one action we can take to lower it?
  • Discuss a strategy for running full loads of laundry.
  • Create a "shower playlist” that helps reduce showering time.
  • Purchase reusable dish cloths for the kitchen and bathroom instead of using paper towels.
  • Green your cleaning supplies.
  • Discuss and implement a green cleaning program for your Housekeeping staff. On campus houses can submit a project idea to the Sustainability Fund Mini-Grant program. You may get financial support for energy efficient appliances, a rain garden or rain barrel, solar panels to help reduce your energy bills, LED lightbulbs or motion sensor lighting, low-flow fixtures, or a greenhouse to start a vegetable garden.

We keep an inventory/maintain storage of reusable materials for events like Recruitment, Homecoming, Spring Fest or Ritual.


  • Instead of giving a prize to everyone, consider a raffle for a more substantial prize.
  • Can you rent equipment instead of purchasing it?  You can rent just about anything from a chocolate fountain to a tripod. Use your personal network, the web and your local business directory to do some research about what’s close to you.
  • Cloth tablecloths.  These can be washed and used next year.
  • Purchase a storage box/bin to holds your reusable items until the next event.    
  • Purchase one reusable item each year to minimize the impact on your budget.
  • Avoid helium-filled balloons that can escape and travel long distances.  They are the biggest balloon threat to wildlife.  Helium is a non-renewable resource and is in short supply.
  • Keep all your Halloween costume elements for other times when you’ll need to dress up and be in character.

We “power down” the entire House before breaks (winter break, spring break, Thanksgiving break)


  • Unplug all cords and chargers from wall outlets.
  • Empty mini-fridges and unplug them.
  • Ensure windows are tightly closed and blinds/curtains are drawn.

We host a sustainability-oriented community service project


  • Volunteer for environmental stewardship projects like tree planting, trail maintenance, storm drain tagging, trash mapping, stream clean-ups, etc.
  • Volunteer inside schools or educational centers to support environmental education or social justice causes.
  • Lobby or canvass for environmental legislation.
  • Make bird boxes or feeders from reclaimed wood and donate them to a local school or nature center.

We host a sustainability-oriented campus service project


We have made a cash or in-kind donation to a sustainability-oriented charity


  • The Food Recovery Network takes donations in the form of leftover foods.
  • Used furniture, appliances and building/landscaping materials can be dropped off at Community Forklift.
  • Greek Life Serves (GLS) is a student group connecting Greek members with homeless and at-risk communities in the Washington D.C. area to foster strong relationships and provide assistance.
  • A Wider Circle will take clothes, household items, bedding and towels.
  • Donate used sporting equipment to Leveling the Playing Field.
  • Other charities may include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Rock Creek Conservancy, Goodwill Industries, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Anacostia Watershed Society, etc.

We hold a sustainability program or workshop to promote membership development


  • Upcycling workshop
  • Earth Hour event or celebration
  • Take a tour of Terp Farm
  • Coordinate a BikeUMD group ride
  • Plastic bag mat weaving
  • Attend a pollinator garden workshop
  • Complete a house waste audit
  • Plan a car-free day/alternative transportation day

We include one sustainability article in our annual Chapter report


  • Waste, water, energy, transportation, food and dining, and cleaning products make good starting points to talk about sustainability issues.
  • What area of sustainability can your Chapter improve in and how?
  • Highlight something your Chapter has done to contribute to campus or community sustainability efforts.
  • Write a story about your experience in the Green Chapter program and what impact it had on you and your Chapter.

We highlight one of our members as “green Greek of the Month”


  • Do you notice a Chapter member who loves sustainability? Someone who encourages others to recycle, turns out the lights, unplug chargers, or walk to class?
  • Display their photo with space to write why they are a green Greek.
  • Create an incentive by offering a gift card to each month’s nominee.
  • Decorate that person’s bedroom door for recognition.

We have eliminated disposable cups, plates, and utensils for meals and events hosted inside our House


  • Try melamine or other reusable plastic dishes and utensils if you are concerned about breakage.
  • Plan an outing to a nearby pottery painting store and design your own ceramic plates.
  • Request compostable plates, flatware and cups from your caterer and collect them in a compost bin after the meal.

We participate in the Recycling Dumpster painting competition each year


  • Primed dumpsters are provided and Chapters paint sustainability and UMD themes on them using the required materials.
  • Normally the competition takes place each spring in April. 

We have established a Sustainability Committee within our Chapter


  • Establish a mission and outcomes/actions for the committee and create an annual mandate.
  • Appoint leadership positions within the committee.
  • Sustainability Committee Chair can attend Greek Student Sustainability Group meetings and offer to host one meeting in their house.