Guest Writer: Kelsey Kelly, Alpha Omega Epsilon Professional Engineering Sorority Member

College towns are teeming with really cool, tasty, and unique local businesses. And we, as students and Fraternity and Sorority Life Members, LOVE these establishments.

Maybe at your university it’s a superb Greek and Lebanese lunch joint right across from campus. Or a fair trade coffee spot, with a to-die-for pastry selection. A hole in the wall clothing boutique that your sorority sisters just cannot stop buying adorable accessories from. Or maybe it’s the hot spot club where every organization on campus wants to host their next event.

Whatever your organization’s favorite businesses are, as members of fraternity and sorority life we have some unique vested interests in the strength and sustainability of small local businesses. So why should we be leading the way in their sustainability efforts?

1. These are establishments we frequent; we want them to last.

nicecream factory

Too often small businesses do not have the resources necessary to have a formal energy assessment performed. This means that these businesses may not know how much money they could be saving on their utility bills just by making small changes in their lighting, or by adding low flow water fixtures.

We don’t want to come back for an alumni weekend five years after graduation and see that our favorite spots have gone out of business, or that they’ve gotten far more expensive than they use to be, do we? So how do we combat this?

By assisting small businesses perform free energy assessments, we can help them keep utility bills and product prices low, while motivating them to adopt more sustainable business practices.

2. We are highly associative groups and take pride in our sense of community.

green impact campaign students

We love owning our membership in various communities: community within our organizations, our councils, across our campus Fraternity and Sorority Life community, and our larger school community.

So why stop there? We should be taking pride in supporting local and small businesses, building the communities that surround our universities.

3. We know how to build meaningful relationships.

green impact campaign students

We already have strong ties to these local businesses, we buy t-shirts from them, order catering, book event space, and stop by for a quick bite after our chapter meetings. Taking an interest in the well-being of these establishments can only strengthen our organizational relationships with them.

The relationships we have already cultivated with these small business owners, poises us in a prime place to offer quick 20-minute free energy assessments. Energy assessments could help lower small business utility bills and environmental footprints.

But many business owners may not trust outreach representatives from governments or corporations offering similar services. However, the rapport we have already built with business owners, affords us the opportunity to approach them in an organic way, highlighting how much we can about their business.

4. We tend to be entrepreneurs too.

green impact campaign business

There are plenty of fraternity and sorority men and women who go on to have their own businesses.

In the last few years, North Carolina State University alone, has had sorority women start businesses like Headbands of Hope and Frill, and while they were still in school no less! There are even fraternal organizations emerging that are dedicated to building future entrepreneurial leaders, such as Epsilon Nu Tau.

It just makes sense that we would want to support and encourage the sustainability of our fellow fraternity and sorority business men and women.

5. We pride ourselves on being leaders and service-oriented philanthropists.

green impact campaign ben chili bowl

Wanting to make the world a better place is a notion most fraternity and sorority organizations share. With fraternity and sorority life at nearly every university across the country, our participation in the small business sustainability movement has the potential to have a huge environmental impact, not only in our own college communities but across nation.

Small business are irrefutably integral pieces of our community economies and university cultures. If you would like to serve your community and further build your chapter’s relationship with small businesses in your community, visit our volunteer page and sign up your organization today. If you would like to know more about Green Impact Campaign’s small business sustainability movement, learn more here.

GIC provides students will the tools and resources necessary to perform free energy assessments for small businesses in their community. Helping to better serve our communities, and lend our knowledge to the places we love.


Kelsey Kelly is a Program Research and Development Intern for Green Impact Campaign. She received a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering and a Minor in Nonprofit Studies from North Carolina State University. While at NC State she served as a student worker for the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life, as well as Membership Educator, Vice President, and President of her sorority, Alpha Omega Epsilon.