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UVA Fans Score Big with ACC’s First ‘Zero Waste’ Basketball Game

By Matt Kelly

With the aid of student volunteers, UVA basketball fans diverted more than 90 percent of their game-day waste from the landfill. (Photo by Matt Riley, UVA Athletics)

With the aid of student volunteers, UVA basketball fans diverted more than 90 percent of their game-day waste from the landfill. (Photo by Matt Riley, UVA Athletics)

The University of Virginia has become the first Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball team to achieve “zero waste” during this year’s Game Day Challenge. Fans participated in the event during a designated game ­– the Cavaliers’ 53-43 victory over the University of North Carolina on Feb. 27.

Zero Waste International Alliance defines “zero waste” as diverting at least 90 percent of waste from the landfill. With the help of 75 student volunteers, UVA Athletics, ARAMARK and the Office for Sustainability, fans at the sold-out game at the John Paul Jones Arena recycled and composted 94 percent of all waste generated at the arena that night.

The nationwide Game Day Challenge contest promotes waste diversion at college basketball games. UVA fans have long been placing paper, bottles and cans into recycling bins at John Paul Jones Arena, and a new bin was added for food waste and compostable items on Feb. 27. Fans kept 4,454 pounds of waste material from the landfill during the game, recycling and composting 0.48 pounds per person, putting leftover food and service utensils in one bin and plastic cups, bottles and cans in another.

Student volunteers staffed each waste station to sort materials and educate fans on composting and recycling. After the game, volunteers helped clean the stands, segregating compostables and recyclables to ensure the maximum diversion. The materials were then further culled by UVA Recycling.

Approximately 45 percent of the waste was composted and 49 percent recycled.

“This is our sixth year of working collaboratively to reduce landfill waste at athletic events and we’re thrilled to have developed a strategy that gets such high diversion rates that help UVA meet its waste reduction goals as outlined in the UVA Sustainability Plan,” said Nina Morris, sustainability outreach and engagement manager at the Office for Sustainability.

Read the full story here.

Announcing the Results of the 3rd Annual Pac-12 Zero Waste Bowl

pac-12 logos

In partnership with the Green Sports Alliance, 100% of Pac-12 universities participated in the third annual Pac-12 Zero Waste Bowl. The goal of the event was to see which university could divert the most waste from the landfill at a selected men’s or women’s home game during the Fall 2016 football season, as well as which school used the most innovative methods to expand the reach and impact of the competition.

The Pac-12 Road Zero Waste Bowl provides a friendly and spirited platform for Pac-12 universities to engage on best practices in athletic event waste diversion and to learn how each campus strives toward zero waste goals. In addition to overall waste diversion rate, the universities are scored on innovation, partnership and participation, and fan engagement. Also for the first time, special awards were given for Fan Engagement, Athlete/Player Engagement, and the Most Improved School (from the previous competition).

Results for the Pac-12 Zero Waste Bowl were determined by a panel of four independent judges. We congratulate all the Pac-12 campuses for their dedicated efforts and participation!  The Green Sports Alliance is proud to support this unique activation highlighting the sustainability leadership of the Pac-12.

Fall 2016 Pac-12 Zero Waste Bowl Challenge Final Results:

  • 1st Place: University of Southern California
    • Achieved a diversion rate of 94%
  • 2nd Place: Arizona State University
    • Achieved a diversion rate of 93%
  • 3rd Place: University of Colorado, Boulder
    • Achieved a diversion rate of 87%

An honorable mention goes out to two additional schools, who achieved diversion rates of 75% (University of Washington) and 70% (University of Arizona)

Fall 2016 Pac-12 Zero Waste Bowl Challenge Special Awards:

  • Fan Engagement Award: Stanford University
  • Athlete/Player Engagement: Oregon State University
  • Most Improved: University of Southern California


About the Pac-12 Conference
The Conference has a tradition as the “Conference of Champions,” leading the nation in NCAA Championships in 48 of the last 54 years, with 476 NCAA team titles overall. The Conference comprises 12 leading U.S. universities: The University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Washington and Washington State University. For more information on the Conference’s programs, member institutions, and Commissioner Larry Scott, go to www.pac-12.com/conference.

About the Green Sports Alliance
The Green Sports Alliance leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where people live and play. The Alliance inspires sports leagues, teams, venues, their partners and millions of fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, safer chemicals and other environmentally preferable practices. Alliance members represent nearly 400 sports teams and venues from 15 sports leagues in 14 countries.

Since launching nationally in March of 2011, the Alliance has grown from 6 teams from 6 leagues to nearly 400 sports teams and venues from 20 different sports leagues and 14 countries. Currently, 30 NCAA affiliated universities are members of the Alliance.

Visit  www.greensportsalliance.org to learn more. Interested in membership? Email the Alliance Membership Manager Rahul Devaskar at rahul@greensportsalliance.org.

A 17-Year-Old Football Player Just Made History—And He’s Pretty Chill About It

Good Sports
By Jeremy Repanich

My-King Johnson/Instagram

My-King Johnson/Instagram

When the Arizona Wildcats take the field on September 2 for their season opener against the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks, My-King Johnson will make history. The highly touted 6-foot-4-inch, 225-pound Wildcat defensive end will become the first openly gay scholarship player in big-time college football history.

And he’s pretty chill about it.

It can put a target on my back,” Johnson told the Arizona Daily Star. “But whatever.”

Johnson, who was named one of the best defensive players in Arizona his senior year, is so comfortable with being out, because it’s not anything new to the 17-year-old. He’s been openly gay since he was 12, and he didn’t want to hide that fact from teammates. “I’m a very honest person,” he said. “I just don’t see how I could be living an honest, truthful life and have that in the background.”

And his friends and teammates have supported him along the way. “I love how open he is,” Alfonso Arispe told the Daily Star. “He doesn’t care because he’s focused on what he’s doing, and he’s focused on himself. Clearly, it shouldn’t affect anyone else, but no matter what, he doesn’t care about that. It doesn’t bother him one bit.”

There’s hopes he can excel enough to make his way to the NFL, because while great strides have been made in advocacy for LGBTQ athletes, there hasn’t been an openly gay athlete in one of America’s four major sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL) since Jason Collins played for the Brooklyn Nets in 2014 after coming out in a cover story for Sports Illustrated.

Read the full story here.