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NRDC Releases Guide for Greening Collegiate Sports

Alice Henly

Posted June 26, 2014

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Today, at the 2014 College Sports Sustainability Summit, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released the NRDC Greening Advisor for Collegiate Sports, a free online guide to greening collegiate athletics and recreation.

This free tool aims to help any college or university interested in greening their sports facilities and operations. NRDC’s guide provides comprehensive information about implementing environmental initiatives at collegiate athletic and recreation departments. It offers the first-ever compilation of collegiate sports greening resources in one place and showcases a wide variety of success stories, including case studies profiled in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.

The NRDC Greening Advisor for Collegiate Sports includes sections on how to build a sports greening program, where to start, who to involve, funding, tracking progress, and outreach strategies. It also includes technical environmental guidance relating to sports operations infrastructure such as energy, water, waste, chemicals, buildings and travel.

NRDC Greening Advisor for Collegiate Sports


NRDC's guide is endorsed by the Association for the Advancement in Higher Education (AASHE), the Green Sports Alliance, NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, and the Stadium Managers Association.

“The NRDC Greening Advisor is an indispensable tool for campus recreation professionals and departments looking to become more energy-efficient, reduce waste, conserve resources, and apply other smart operations,” says Pam Watts, Executive Director of NIRSA.

NRDC published the first Greening Advisor in 2008, in partnership with Major League Baseball. The NRDC Greening Advisor was awarded the U.S. EPA's Environmental Merit Award in 2008 for being the most comprehensive greening resource ever compiled. There are now NRDC Greening Advisors for each of the major professional sports leagues

The Value of Collegiate Sports Greening

The launch of this collegiate edition of the award-winning NRDC Greening Advisor today marks the first-ever comprehensive greening tool for collegiate sports.

"The NRDC Greening Advisor for Collegiate Sports is another example of NRDC's invaluable environmental guidance, as founding technical advisor to the Green Sports Alliance, available to help all collegiate members expand their sports greening programs," says Martin Tull, Executive Director of the Green Sports Alliance. 

In addition, the guide provides tips for incorporating vendors into greening programs and ideas for student-led projects.

“We are very excited to expand our sports greening projects at Columbia with help from the NRDC Greening Advisor. It provides really valuable practical advice and compiles all collegiate sports greening information in one place,” says Emma Tuzinkiewicz, EcoLions founder and varsity athlete at Columbia University, class of 2015.

Many campuses rely on AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) to guide their greening efforts. Many of the topics covered in the Greening Advisor include a STARS section, which describes how each greening initiative can help improve an institution’s STARS rating.

The NRDC Greening Advisor for Collegiate Sports supports the growing movement of college athletics and recreation departments that are developing high-performance buildings and practices that help mitigate climate change, protect ecosystems, and conserve resources.  On many colleges and universities, sports are central to campus identity. Millions of students and sports fans live and breathe college sports. So when campus sports adopt greener practices, people notice.

Cover of NRDC Collegiate Game Changers Report“At the most fundamental level, we need a stable climate, clean air, and fresh water to enjoy the sports we love. Greening college sports also makes good business sense,” said Robin Harris, Executive Director of The Ivy League. “By engaging students in putting environmental solutions into action, collegiate sports has the potential to empower and inspire our future leaders to build a more sustainable society.”

Check out the NRDC Greening Advisor for Collegiate Sports guide at and download NRDC’s Collegiate Game Changers report

Learn more about the NRDC Sports Project at and @NRDCGreenSports

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

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