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UA Makes Sustainability Competitive

By Victor Garcia

Ben Champion, director of the Office of Sustainability, sorts waste from the PAC-12 Zero Waste challenge during the homecoming football game on Oct. 29, 2016. The UA Office of Sustainability alongside student organizations help solve the problem of removing trash from campus and the football stadium every year.

Ben Champion, director of the Office of Sustainability, sorts waste from the PAC-12 Zero Waste challenge during the homecoming football game on Oct. 29, 2016. The UA Office of Sustainability alongside student organizations help solve the problem of removing trash from campus and the football stadium every year.

Homecoming is one of the biggest events of the school year at the University of Arizona, with the accompanying football game drawing thousands of fans. With each spectator, one can expect a couple of drinks and snacks during the game, and with that comes trash.

The UA Office of Sustainability and student organizations help solve the problem of removing trash from campus and the football stadium every year in the Green Sports Alliance Zero Waste Challenge.

Schools in the Pacific 12 Conference compete against each other to divert the most trash from their campus in a selected athletic event. This year’s event was UA’s Homecoming football game.

“At the end of the game, all the compost and recycling gets weighted, and that percentage is compared to the other universities,” said Celeste Colmenares, chair of Greening the Game. “We came out in third place in the Zero Waste competition, and we are trying to increase our diversion rate. Instead of focusing mainly on the stadium, this year we will be focusing on tailgating.”

Members of organizations like Greening the Game, Students for Sustainability and the Green Team volunteer to stay after the game to pick up whatever can be taken to a landfill, recycled or re-purposed.

“We are trying to get a lot of community involvement; we want to teach the community how to recycle,” Colmenares said. “This year we have an incentive: You get to win two football tickets for the next game if you bring a bag of recycling to our tent. ”

Greening the Game tents were stationed around the football stadium and were present during the tailgate as well.

Last year, UA came in third place with an impressive 70 percent of waste diverted for its Zero Waste Challenge. “We collected 2.97 tons of compost [last year]. In recycling we collected 2.31 tons, and what was sent to the landfill was 2.3 tons,” said Coordinator of Sustainability Programs Julia Rudnick.

According to Rudnick, clubs working in sustainability will not only participate in the Pac-12 competition, but have joined to compete at a national level.

“Game Day Recycling is a national recycling competition,” Rudnick said. “We will turn in our diversion numbers for this, too. Out of 79 schools, we came in 10th place in that one last year.”

Rebecca Newton, operations manager for Greening the Game, said now is the time to act.

“We live in a time where it is ‘do or die’ when it comes to the environment,” she said. “I love my experience with Greening the Game because, as a society, we choose to work together and support each other in trying to keep not only our campus but our planet clean.”

Read the full story here.

Kroger Field Awarded Prestigious LEED Silver Certification

Kentucky Football by Guy Ramsey

2017.10.19-NewsFeed-KU LEED Silver-IMAGE

Kroger Field, the home of the Kentucky football team, has been awarded LEED Silver certification for its environmental performance and sustainable design.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. Kroger Field is the first LEED-certified competition venue in the Southeastern Conference in any sport.

“In both the design and construction process, we were committed to transforming the long-time home of Kentucky football in a way that would be sustainable for years to come,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “We are proud Kroger Field has joined exclusive company in becoming LEED-certified for exactly that reason and thankful for the work of our partners in the renovation.”

The University of Kentucky embarked on the ambitious renovation and expansion of Kroger Field – then known as Commonwealth Stadium – in 2013. UK worked with RossTarrant Architects and associate architect HNTB to create a new design for the facility that would completely transform the fan experience on game day.

The stadium reopened in 2015 after the completion of the $126 million renovation. As a result, today’s Kentucky football fans enjoy widened concourses, new restrooms, and a stadium packed with premium amenities including suites, clubs, loge seating, and private lounges. What isn’t as obvious to the average visitor is just how environmentally sustainable the new Kroger Field was designed to be.

“We knew from the beginning that sustainability was critical to the success of this project,” said Kevin Locke of RossTarrant Architects. “Achieving LEED Silver is a real testament to the university’s commitment to the environment. Knowing how well this stadium performs makes the experience they have created for Wildcat fans even more special.”

Kroger Field achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. Sixty-seven percent of the old stadium was reused to create the new Kroger Field, minimizing construction waste and the need for the manufacturing and transportation of new materials. Low-flow water fixtures are saving approximately 204,000 gallons of water annually. Meanwhile, the stadium uses a third less energy than the typical stadium. The result is a savings of 694 metric tons less of greenhouse gasses every year—equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 75 homes.

“Kroger Field’s LEED Silver certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “LEED was created to make the world a better place and revolutionize the built environment by providing everyone with a healthy, green and high performing buildings. Kroger Field serves as a prime example of how the work of innovative building projects can use local solutions to make a global impact on the environment.”

Read the full story here.

Tailgaters Asked To Work On Sustainability Effort, Not Leave Waste Behind


Photo By: David Abruzzese

Photo By: David Abruzzese

Penn State is working to eliminate the amount of litter that is left behind at tailgates and help tailgaters better utilize the sorted bags for recycling and trash during the next few weeks of the season.

“We’ve come to enlist the help of all Penn State students, fans, and alumni on how to properly dispose of your trash and how to properly recycle at Penn State games,” said Amy Schirf, education coordinator for the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority.

Schirf said the lots are no worse than they have been in past years, but that the athletics department, OPP, the Sustainability Institute, and the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority (all of which are partnering for this effort) are more aware that a stronger push for keeping the lots clean and efficient is needed.

“What’s brought it to light is, after the first game I went to the recycling building and helped the guys sort. I saw the contents of these bags and, to me, it was probably one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen,” Schirf said.

For sorting trash at tailgates, fans are asked to use the bags found on white A-frame stands throughout the tailgate lots — with the blue bags for plastic bottles, glass bottles, and metal cans, while the clear bags are for all other waste. Tailgate Ambassadors will also be available throughout the lots to distribute bags and offer help on how to sort waste and recyclables.

Once your bags are sorted, the bags can be left there and staffers will come pick them up after the tailgate.

Aside from sorting and clearing out waste, fans are asked to not leave behind different items such as grills, tents, stumps, and coolers when they leave the tailgate lots.

“The lots looked better after the Indiana game than it did in the last 12 years. So it’s working,” Schirf said about the initiative. “We just want to tell people to keep it up. Don’t litter at your tailgates. Put all your trash in the clear bags, your recycling in the blue. Securely tie them up and leave them there.”

View the story here.