Green Panther Challenge

Green Panther Challenge


WHAT is it?

The Green Panther Challenge is a program through the Office of Sustainability Integration (OSI) and Athletics that seeks to engage student athletes and their fans by challenging them to up their practice of sustainability in sports.

OSI and Athletics are working together each year by choosing a challenge theme for teams to work on throughout their season. This year, teams are challenged to reduce waste in increase proper recycling. They are doing this is two ways:

  1. Every team, under the leadership of their Green Liaison, brings color-coded bags for recycling and landfill waste, as well as a compost bucket on all bus/van trips.
  2. OSI and Athletics host department-wide events throughout the year that aim to engage fans in helping them learn how to properly sort their waste into recycling, landfill and compost. Green Liaisons and student athlete volunteers work together at Perfect Sort Gamedays to educate fans.

WHO does it?

Here’s the breakdown of who does what in the Green Panther Challenge:

  • Athletes work together as a team to address each year’s theme and participate in OSI/Athletics-sponsored events to engage the community
  • Green Liaisons are appointed team leaders and are responsible for relaying information between OSI and their teammates. Check out the Starting Checklist for Green Liaisons for more information.
  • Coaches help guide their teams in their efforts to address the yearly theme
  • Office of Sustainability Integration and Atheltics provide support and guidance for coaches, Green Liaisons and athletes.



Sorting rates are measured against a baseline taken earlier in the season on non-Perfect Sort Gamedays.


During the fall football season, a baseline rate of 15% correct sorting was established prior to the first Perfect Sort Gameday of the year, which took place at the Homecoming contest. With the help of student athlete volunteers, the sorting rate increased to 45% in just one game. The results of the ice hockey season are more dramatic: with a baseline of just 5% correct sorting, fans achieved a whopping 95% correct sort at the game a few weeks ago.


Using the baseline of 15% correct sorting from the 2015-2016 academic year for football, Green Liaisons and student athlete volunteers helped increase the sorting rate to 55% at our first Perfect Sort Gameday of 2016-2017! Volunteers braved cold temps and lots of rain and we really appreciate their dedication.

While sorting rates are the most measurable outcome of these events, there have been many positive qualitative outcomes as well. The most exciting of these outcomes is fan engagement and education. Student athletes have been doing a great job of sparking conversation and answering questions from members of the campus and wider town communities. The Green Panther Challenge has also encouraged student athletes and their coaches to engage with issues of sustainability and resource management in a meaningful way. The connections forged between the Office of Sustainability Integration, Athletics and Facilities, who provide a great deal of guidance, labor and support, will continue to be a fruitful relationship beyond the Green Panther Challenge.


Twelve students athletes from 5 different teams volunteered at the November 4th football game to help fans properly sort their waste. Students continued to engage fans in conversations not only about waste management, but about Middlebury's overarching ethos of sustainability as they answered questions and made their presence felt in their neon shirts!

We look forward to more Perfect Sort Gamedays during the ice hockey season--stay tuned for dates.


Starting Checklist for Green Liaisons