Alice Henly, Research Fellow, New York
Over the past few years sports greening has taken the U.S. by storm. All major professional leagues have joined forces with NRDC to make commitments to environmental stewardship, and have already achieved impressive environmental accomplishments to boot.
But this summer the Ivy League is making a landmark greening commitment as the first collegiate athletics conference to team up with NRDC, the principal environmental advisor to all U.S. professional sports leagues, in the name of environmental protection.
The League is working with the NRDC to reduce the environmental impacts of its championship events and provide greening resources to all Ivy athletic departments, with the goal of minimizing the environmental footprint of their operations and supply chains.
To kick off this partnership and the greening of all its championships, the Ivy League integrated ecologically intelligent practices into the planning and production of the inaugural Ivy League Women’s Rowing Championship, taking place on Sunday, May 13th at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, N.J.
The paper products and other supplies bought and services procured for the championship regatta were selected with sensitivity toward reducing the threats we face from species extinction, deforestation, climate change, toxic waste, and hazardous chemicals in our water and food.
Recycling, using products made with recycled materials and reducing the use of disposable products protects habitat, and saves energy, water, and resources such as forests, fossil fuels, and metals. Incorporating these green steps in to a large championship event helps reduce the harmful impacts associated with the extraction and processing of these resources, including oil spills, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.
Some of the green initiatives incorporated into the Ivy League Women’s Rowing Championship regatta include:
- All event programs printed on 50 percent postconsumer recycled paper. (The Ivy League has established this as the new standard of postconsumer recycled content for all future Ivy League Championship event programs.)
- Recycling bins for plastic, aluminum, glass and paper placed throughout the racecourse venue with signs (like the example included below).
- Outreach to all parent coordinators, team captains and coaches ahead of the event to engage them in environmental protection by encouraging them to use environmentally-friendly travel, reusable products when catering for the event, and to recycle throughout the championship, among other green activities.
- Carpooling to the event by all Ivy League and event staff.
- A Green Team made up of student and community volunteers collecting recyclables and educating fans about environmental protection throughout the event.
- Wallet guide giveaways with green tips and other environmental education materials featured in the merchandise and race result areas.
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