Joining Green Sports Alliance advances sustainability efforts

Monday, August 15, 2016

UNC Charlotte has joined the Green Sports Alliance, an organization that leverages sports to promote healthy and sustainable communities.

“Sports are engrained in the fabric of many of our lives, and using this existing passion to create positive change in our communities will only serve to strengthen our students, University and surrounding population,” said UNC Charlotte sustainability coordinator Tyler Sytsma.

According to its website, the Green Sports Alliance achieves its success by “inspiring sports leagues, teams, venues, their partners and millions of fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, species preservation, safer chemicals and other environmentally preferable practices.”

UNC Charlotte has focused on developing facilities and practices that meet the needs of the next generation of students and educators while limiting the impact on the resources vital to the communal health of the region.

Charlotte 49ers fans began embracing the opportunity to develop a more responsible, socially conscious campus community. The Rose Football Center incorporates Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) elements in its design, and a zero-waste initiative is underway with plans for expansion. During home football games at Richardson Stadium, fans contribute to the University’s commitment to reduce waste via increased recycling and composting and reduced energy and water consumption.

Mike Lizotte, University sustainability officer, stated that through its association with the alliance, “the University will learn about the methods that professional and collegiate teams, leagues and venues are using to increase fan engagement.”

He added, “Fans, by definition, are people who care deeply; the Green Sports Alliance is proving that adding sustainability to traditional sports culture is interesting to current fans and a way to draw new fans.” 

The University looks to expand its zero-waste initiative across more campus sports venues, such as Halton Arena.

The Green Sports Alliance includes 376 organizations, 177, teams, 184 venues and 15 sports leagues. Other local members include Davidson College and the Charlotte Hornets/Time Warner Cable Arena.