From fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to participating in the MU Homecoming blood drive, Tri Delta has helped serve its members, campus and community in a variety of ways throughout its 104 years of existence on campus. With the help of one Tri Delta member, their latest pillar of service now includes assisting in environmental sustainability.
In the fall of 2019, Celestene Sebag, Tri Delta member and biological engineering student at MU, took her passion of helping resolve current sustainability issues to her sisters to see how they felt about aiding in her efforts. Their response was everything Sebag had hoped it would be.
“At first I was nervous to ask about starting a Sustainability Committee, but I knew that it was something that needed to be done and that I could be the one to bring about change,” Sebag said. “Thankfully, Tri Delta has leadership that is so willing to change our organization for the better, and our president was so on board!”
First, Sebag and Tri Delta members worked together to create a sustainability committee to oversee such efforts. Currently there are four sustainability committee members, one member being Sebag, serving a little over 250 girls within the chapter’s house. As she explained, her goal was to bring about environmental awareness, while creating a community that is sustainable for future Tri Deltas and MU tigers alike.
“Aside from personal goals of helping the environment on an individual level, I have found that it is really important to educate others on how what they are currently doing or not doing will ultimately affect this planet we call home, in the future,” Sebag added.
One of the next changes that Sebag and the Sustainability Committee incorporated was recycling at the Tri Delta house. Sebag said that as the sustainability initiatives were introduced, everyone was really receptive. There was only one small obstacle that the group had to overcome and that occurred when first adding the recycling bins throughout the house.
“The first time we had to manually sort through the bins, it was very difficult – there were a lot of items that should not have been in the bins,” Sebag explained. “I know some people might not be used to recycling, or know exactly how to do it, so it took a few announcements and how-to’s, such as looking at the number in the triangle at the bottom of your plastic containers, and it has been going a lot smoother.”
When looking toward the future, recycling may only be the tip of the iceberg for Tri Delta’s sustainability committee. Moving forward, Sebag said she hopes to see a few more positive initiatives put into motion before passing her committee position onto someone else this May. As the senior explained, “it’s apparent that we (as a society) cannot keep doing things the way we are now” when considering the future of our communities.
“I spoke with our food service company in the past about a Greek town composting system with other houses utilizing the same company, because I know a large amount of the waste going into landfills is food waste,” Sebag said. “Another thing that would greatly reduce our emissions would be one Less-Meat/More-Green meal a week! Other than that, I think overall, chapter education and awareness about environmental and sustainability issues would be my ultimate goal.”
For MU Greek Life who may be just starting out on their sustainability-focused journey, too, Sebag explained that each group might be surprised by what they can financially and realistically achieve when working as a team.
“The little things you do to help the environment add up,” Sebag said. “It is okay to start small with your personal goals, because every bit you try to do matters. If your chapter doesn’t have a Sustainability Committee yet, you can be the change! Grab some of your friends to help. Work with the Sustainability Office. And take the time to do things that could ultimately help this planet we call home.”