Staff members from the Yale Office of Sustainability and Yale Athletics attended the Green Sports Alliance Summit held at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, June 27–29. Participation in the conference follows the launch of the Yale Athletics Sustainability Action Plan in 2016, exemplifying a continued dedication to implementing sustainable athletic programming at Yale.
The conference aimed to mobilize action toward positive environmental and social change across communities inside and outside of sports venues. Participants included university staff and faculty, professional sports teams, non-profit organizations, and sports leagues, among other sports-affiliated groups.
Lindsay Crum, Metrics and Program Manager at the Office of Sustainability, moderated and spoke on a panel, which included Kevin Discepolo, Assistant Athletic Director of Facilities, Operations, and Events; a representative from the University of California, Davis; and a representative from the University of Denver. Panelists spoke about the intersection of sustainability and athletics in collegiate sports.
“The conference reinforced the fact that Yale is on the right track with sustainability and athletics, but also reminded us that there is still plenty more to do,” says Crum. “It was an energizing experience, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to sustain this energy as we pursue more projects from the Athletics Sustainability Action Plan.”
In March 2016, the Yale Athletics Sustainability Task Force launched a Sustainability Action Plan that outlined opportunities for energy efficiency, waste reduction, land use efficiencies, and increased communications around sustainability efforts. One of the goals is for Zero Waste Game Days, wherein no litter remains after a game, and everything that is discarded is placed in the appropriate bin.
This past year, Crum and Discepolo have promoted Zero Waste Game Days through a video PSA, a pilot recycling game, and waste audits. Bulldog Sustainability, a student team whose mission is to develop more environmentally athletic programs, is integral to the effort.
One of the conference workshops provided best practices for a successful fan engagement campaign, insight into understanding fan motivation, and strategies for behavior change across a fan-base. Crum intends to incorporate what she learned at the workshop to help achieve a Zero Waste Game Day.
Yale is committed to building a more sustainable world. By doing what we do best—integrating science, the humanities, and our community—Yale creates, tests and adopts innovative solutions to the environmental and social challenges we all face.