Greening Athletics

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photo credit Trent Campbell

Greening Athletics

September 28, 2009

At the recent Greening of the Campus Conference, Middlebury Student and Hockey player Ashley Bairos ’10 teamed up with Nordic Ski Coach Andrew Gardner and Director of the Sustainability Integration Office Jack Byrne, to host a panel discussion on ‘greening’ college athletics. “Our panel offered many new ideas and sparked conversation about something new in the realm of sustainability,” said Bairos.

While Middlebury is known for its environmental ethic, historically athletics has not been part of this movement. This has changed within the last few years as the lacrosse team offset its carbon emissions for the season, the Nordic ski team switched to biodiesel, and now a ‘Green Team’ with student-athlete representatives from each sports team works on sustainability issues.

Presenting on the panel gave Bairos a chance to see how sustainability and athletics really can integrate. “This panel is where my two realms converge. It was exciting to see them come together because they never had before.” For Bairos the opportunity to attend the conference in Indianapolis was also an exciting opportunity to connect and brainstorm with others interested in similar issues, and not be overwhelmed by the daunting problem of climate change. “It was a really cool experience. I’m glad I went. Now that I’m back on campus I have all these ideas I want to get done.”

Also at the Greening of the Campus Conference, Jack Byrne, Director of the Middlebury’s Sustainability Integration Office, along with the Director of Sustainability at Furman University conducted a workshop for colleges preparing Climate Action Plans. These plans are required by the Presidents Climate Commitment (PCC) to outline carbon emission reduction goals and steps to achieve redutions. Middlebury became a signatory of the PCC in 2007.