The University of Pittsburgh Department of Athletics has become an official member of Green Sports Alliance (GSA), as announced by Director of Athletics Heather Lyke.
“We’re proud to be joining a group with such an admirable mission and spread awareness of sustainability and green efforts,” Lyke said. “At Pitt, Athletics is part of a greater community and teaching our student-athletes and staff about their responsibility to our environment is important. Working with the Green Sports Alliance to adopt and exercise sustainable practices benefits everyone and we welcome this opportunity to better our community.”
The GSA is an “environmentally-focused trade organization that convenes stakeholders from around the sporting world to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play.” Members include nearly 600 organizations, spanning professional sports leagues, sports governing bodies, colleges, teams, venues and fans representing 15 leagues in 14 countries.
A goal of the alliance is to inspire change while “embracing renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, safer chemicals and other environmentally preferable practices.” Bob Nutting, primary owner and chairman of the board of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is a member of the organization’s board of directors.
In addition to joining the GSA, Pitt’s green efforts include forming an internal committee for sustainability, which includes Department of Athletics staff members as well as student-athlete representatives. The committee meets monthly to discuss ways to improve sustainable practices in athletic facilities, ranging from game day procedures, to composting and everyday recycling around the department. The group aligns its goals with the greater sustainability plan for the University of Pittsburgh, which is organized into themes of stewardship, exploration, community and culture.
Another of the Panthers’ sustainability initiatives is RecyleMania Game Day Challenge, set for the men’s basketball game against Virginia Tech at Petersen Events Center Saturday at 4:30 p.m. In addition to facing off on the court against the Hokies, the Panthers will compete against schools across the nation to gather and tally the weight of recycled materials at the game. Volunteers from Pitt’s Student Office of Sustainability will help collect and weigh the output.
Fans are encouraged to place empty food containers, cups and bottles in the blue recycling bins located around the concourse areas or by giving them to one of the student team members on their way out of the game.
The Panthers will also welcome Pitt’s Food Recovery Heroes to Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech. Along with Pitt Dining and 412 Food Rescue, the Food Recovery Heroes will recover surplus food from concession stands for distribution to those in need in the Pittsburgh community.