NIRSA contributes to newly released National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) report, keying in on campus sustainability initiatives

New report takes a closer look at the collegiate world, focusing on sport as a vehicle for promoting sustainability.

As campuses welcome back students and gear-up for Fall term, campus recreation departments are keenly aware of the importance of not just what students learn, but how they learn it. As research continues to show that exercise boosts brain power, campus rec has an advantageous opportunity to impart lifelong lessons of sustainability and economic stewardship.

Knowing this, the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), looking to follow up their influential 2012 Game Changer report, which examined sustainability in professional sports, decided to turn its attention to the collegiate world. Their Collegiate Game Changers report, produced in collaboration with the Green Sports Alliance and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, focuses on sport as a vehicle for promoting sustainability.


The Collegiate Game Changers report will be released at the Green Sports Alliance Summit.

Collegiate Game Changers, which will be released at the Green Sports Alliance Summit, held August 26-28, contains contributions by NIRSA, such as our Commission for Sustainable Communities’ model and list of questions for collegiate recreation professionals about their sustainability habits and goals. The report also includes contributions from NIRSA members, who were among the highest responders to the NRDC’s May 2013 survey, which established the first-ever baseline of green initiatives associated with college and university sports programs, facilities and events.

The report features a multitude of case studies, drawn from greening initiatives on campuses across the United States. Each one then provides an in-depth discussion of the motivation behind the initiative, the process of getting it rolling, challenges that came up and strategies for dealing with them, and lessons learned—both along the way and in hindsight. It’s a don’t-miss resource full of fresh ideas on how to make a positive impact, empower students, and even cut costs.

Though the report’s focus is on sport, it also contains tools and resources for carbon footprint reduction during big events and other on-campus programming, as well as travel and other considerations directly applicable to sports clubs. The report will be made available to the public and will be completely free, allowing equitable access in order to help all campuses work to build healthier communities.

Sustainable enterprises such as recreational sports and higher education as a whole can only be attained through the combined efforts of all. As a member of that higher education community, campus recreation has an institutional, if not a social responsibility to be engaged in this endeavor.

And remember, whether you’re searching for insight on a difficult issue, looking for examples of what other campuses are doing, or just looking to have a discussion around topics in social, economic, or environmental sustainability, NIRSA’s Sustainability Community of Practice offers members an online forum and resource library to connect and converse 365 days a year.

For more information, please contact NIRSA Senior Director of Professional Development & Leadership, Mary Callender.