The University of Texas at Austin and Huston-Tillotson University are the inaugural winners of the College Sports Sustainability Makeover Contest. The winners were announced at the recent Green Sports Alliance Summit in Houston, TX.
The contest was designed to highlight college athletics’ powerful impact on community sustainability; to influence fans’ sustainability behaviors where they live, work, and play; and to boost college sports’ sustainability capacity. The winning campuses were chosen on the basis of need, suitability, leverage, and likelihood of success. Contest entries were received from 48 campuses in 24 states, including all campus types and athletics affiliations. The first of its kind contest ran from March to June 2016.
“The Makeover Contest was an overwhelming success as proven by the number of high quality submissions and the outstanding leadership of the two winning campuses,” said Scott Jenkins, Chair of the Green Sports Alliance Board of Directors. “College sports has distinguished itself as a sustainability leader capable of using its cultural and market influence to promote healthy, sustainable communities. We all win in that game.”
Contest sponsors GreenDrop Recycling Stations from Pacific Cascade Corporation, Eco-Products, EcoSafe Zero Waste, Max-R, and the University of Colorado Boulder Environmental Center provided prizes and support packages valued at over $50,000 for each winning campus. Contest partners included the Green Sports Alliance and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
The small-campus category winner, Huston-Tillotson University (HTU), a 141-year-old historically black institution located in Austin, TX, will receive 10 new custom recycling and composting stations from GreenDrop Recycling, a supply of compostable foodware and bags, and on-site sustainability assistance from University of Colorado Boulder (UC) technical experts.
HTU has a robust commitment to sustainability, exemplified by the HTU Center for Sustainability and Environmental Justice and HTU’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2048. Additionally, HTU has an active student-led group, “Green is the New Black,” which seeks to promote sustainability issues as they impact minority stakeholders, and engage its students in all aspects of sustainability across all of its academic and athletics activities.
“We were honored to be part of this College Sustainability Contest,” stated Lyle Peters, Director of Sales for the GreenDrop Stations at Pacific Cascade. “This program will reward those institutions that promote environmental responsibility and sustainability not only to their students, but influence all campus visitors, while helping to impact an entire community.”
The large-campus category, the University of Texas at Austin (UT) will receive 10 customized waste and recycling bins, a supply of compostable foodware, and on-site assessments from UC sports sustainability staff.
UT-Austin’s implementation of sustainability across many sports keyed its win by showing that even the biggest college athletics programs can implement comprehensive sustainability efforts.
UT-Austin aligns athletics’ sustainability goals and actions with those of the campus and the City of Austin. Together, this leadership model demonstrates how a very large, research-intensive university can integrate sustainability across all facets of campus life and leverage the power of college sports to expose many fans to the benefits of sustainability principles and practices.