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While some students celebrated the Red and the Blue this Saturday at Skimmer Fest, others chose to focus on the green.

The official Eco-Reps program kick-off took place on Saturday, and included a trip to the Schuylkill River to plant four trees, among other activities. Greek, Hillel, college house and athletics Eco-Reps were introduced to each other, their executive board and their board liaisons.

A three-year-old group consisting of Penn staff and students, Eco-Reps looks to promote environmental sustainability practices on campus.

“This year’s kick-off event was more about team building, and less ‘lecture-y,’” said Engineering junior Chris Chow, a student coordinator for Eco-Reps. “This is our fourth year, so I have really seen the program grow and become quite a serious activity.”

After expanding to Greek chapter houses and Hillel last year, the program furthered its reach earlier this semester by bringing Penn Athletics on board.

College junior Sam Shaw, who is on the Penn rowing team, applied to be an Eco-Rep this semester. Shaw said that while he has always been “environmentally inclined,” he decided to join the program because he believes athletes have a vested interest in their environment, citing the importance of the Schuylkill River to the rowing team.

“This program is about involving all communities at Penn,” Shaw said. “You can’t just target the people who are already thinking about sustainability.”

Shaw said he hopes to educate members on his team about the importance of being eco-friendly — from reducing the amount of waste paper used to using clean equipment to capturing storm water run-off.

For Engineering sophomore Colin Feo, who applied this semester from Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, being a Greek Eco-Rep will allow him to implement changes that affect him directly in his chapter house.

“Our house is pretty drafty,” he said. To solve this problem, Feo said he will try to minimize the space under the house’s doors, which allows cold air through. He hopes this will reduce the frequency with which the heater needs to be used.

Feo added that he hopes he can impact the larger Greek community by representing his own chapter house in a positive way.

Eco-Reps Program Director Julian Goresko believes the kick-off was a success, adding that he was pleased with this year’s turnout, despite the fact that many student athletes had other time commitments they had to rearrange.

“The beginning of the year is a really important time to set goals,” Goresko said. “For us to reach a large undergraduate body, it requires a big organization to provide the leadership and mentorship that people need.”

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