Our Take On The Green Sports Alliance Network Meeting From AASHE
October 14, 2016
With over 450 sessions, the AASHE Conference & Expo was a huge success! We were grateful to have met so many inspiring professionals working to make the world a better place. One of the presentations that stood out the most to us was the Green Sports Alliance Network Meeting.
The Green Sports Alliance, from their website, is an environmental nonprofit started six years ago that leverages “the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play.” Colleges and universities all around the globe have begun to embrace the fact that support for sustainability is growing. What better way to reach an audience than through sports? The group is now on track to have over 400 member organizations by the end of 2016.
The alliance has a mix of teams, professional and collegiate as well as venues and leagues to include all aspects of sustainability surrounding sports and athletics. The alliance has garnered so much influence that on October 6th it held the inaugural Green Sports Day with support from The White House.
So how do schools get started? How do you as a sustainability coordinator get engaged with athletics? How do you introduce this program at your school? We picked up some tips at the networking event.
It’s About Community
Understanding and choosing your language is an important part of engaging any type of audience. Aligning the community goals with athletics goals will help further advance a sustainability program. Remember, growing this sense of community is critical to growing the initiatives.
Getting started is the most important aspect and from there taking one step at a time can grow your program into something great. Start with just one aspect in your sports program before moving on to the next initiative.
Use Sports and Sponsorships
Having a sustainability sponsor is a great way to get the community involved as well as raising funding for your initiatives. This can include having a sustainability game day sponsor or selling signage or media at the event.
It Takes Time
It can take years for a school to move the conversation beyond your starting initiative. With some persistence and effort, it is possible to achieve your sustainability athletics goals while helping further your campus-wide sustainability goals.
Every school can start somewhere. The Green Sports Alliance has great resources to help anything athletics organization move in a sustainable direction. The documents include everything from helping sports facilities reduce the health and environmental threats associated with cleaning to case studies of greening successes from across the world of intercollegiate athletics and recreation.
Thanks for a great AASHE Conference!