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Alice Henly’s Blog

"The Next Play" National College Sustainability in Sports Initiative

Alice Henly

Posted November 20, 2013

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Today, Davidson College launched a national initiative, entitled The Next Play, which aims to use the wide-reaching influence of sports to inspire progress around sustainability. The Next Play initiative is comprised of two flagship events at the national scale: a sustainability in sports venture pitch tournament and a virtual discussion on sustainability and sports that Davidson College will facilitate in the five months leading up to the tournament.

“Our overall goal with The Next Play sustainability in sports initiative is to encourage conversation and innovation around sustainability through the lens of sport,” says Jeff Mittelstadt, Davidson College’s Director of Sustainability. 

“We want students to understand that the triple bottom line of social equity, environmental integrity and financial profitability is applicable—and immensely important—to any industry,” continues Mittelstadt. “Sports are an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that idea because almost everybody likes some form of sport.”

The venture pitch tournament looks to capitalize on the excitement around March Madness© by targeting Division I colleges and universities with men’s or women’s basketball teams selected to compete in their respective NCAA basketball tournaments. 

The schools with basketball teams invited to “The Dance” will then be invited by Davidson College to send teams of undergraduate and graduate students to Davidson’s campus where they will present their business plans on how to make sports a more sustainable industry and on how to use sports ventures to drive sustainability. The event is scheduled to take place on April 10-12, 2014.

For the colleges and universities that aren’t invited to Davidson’s campus in April, The Next Play will still engage the institutions through a virtual discussion on sports and sustainability through the initiative website and social media channels.

In addition to these national initiatives measures, The Next Play will feature a number of on-campus initiatives, such as a Student-Athlete Sustainability Coalition, two zero waste athletic events and a speakers series.

Davidson College has partnered with the NRDC Sports Project and the Green Sports Alliance to promote The Next Play initiative.  “The Alliance and the NRDC have been successfully working for several years on getting the sports industry to embrace environmental sustainability, so we are very excited to work with them to continue that mission by asking students and businesses to embrace the triple bottom line,” says Mittelstadt.

Learn more about the NRDC Sports Project at and @NRDCGreenSports. Download NRDC’s Collegiate Game Changers report for more information on the burgeoning college sports greening movement.

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