Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.74
Liaison Moira Hafer
Submission Date June 28, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Stanford University
IN-4: Green Athletics

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution’s green athletics program include the following?:
Yes or No
Zero waste and/or carbon neutral athletic events Yes
A stadium certified under a green building rating system No
A sustainable food and beverage purchasing program that includes athletic event vendors and concessions Yes
A program to minimize the use of potable water and chemicals in turf maintenance and groundskeeping Yes
A program to support more sustainable transportation options for athletic events Yes
Community engagement efforts, e.g. to educate students and fans/supporters about the institution’s sustainability initiatives Yes
An athletic team certification program No

A brief description of the institution’s green athletics program, including the specific initiatives selected above:

The sustainability in Athletics working group was formed in 2012 and has steadily built the sustainability in Athletics program ever since. In 2013, Stanford University officially joined the Green Sports Alliance, formalizing its commitment to a sustainability in Athletics program. In summer 2014, Stanford was featured on the Green Sports Alliance's Stadium Tours circuit. The holistic Cardinal Green Athletics program now focuses on all aspects of sustainability, including energy and water efficiency and waste diversion and reduction programs. Key milestones of the program are featured on the Cardinal Green Athletics Fact Sheet attached to this credit and on the general Stanford Athletics website at the link below.

A good example of the Cardinal Green Athletics program's progress is in the area of Zero Waste, as showcased by expanded programming and communications for Game Day Challenges, as well as the use of these events to collect data to build the case for future efforts. Stanford has competed in the national football Game Day Challenge since 2014 and now selects designated games during both football season and basketball season (men's and women's). Beginning in 2015-16, Athletics worked to make both the basketball and football Game Day Challenges more visible to fans, adding marketing tactics such as social media engagement, emails to season ticket holders and students, placement of 25 A-frame signs around the venues with sustainability factoids, greening tailgates through the Cardinal Green Events program, training ushers, engaging student volunteers to help fans sort their waste, and showing custom sustainability videos during halftime. Through these initiatives, Stanford achieved a 31% diversion rate for the football Game Day Challenge in 2016 (up from 6% in 2015) and an all-time high 36% diversion rate at its 2017 Game Day Challenge men’s basketball game. Perhaps more tellingly, Stanford also doubled its season-wide diversion rate at Stanford Stadium (up from 12% to 24%), demonstrating that these renewed Zero Waste and fan engagement efforts are having a more long-term effect as well.

Additionally, below are brief descriptions of how the Cardinal Green Athletics program supports the other areas of sustainability referenced above:

Currently, 2/3 of the products offered by Stanford Concessions are compostable, and Stanford Concessions continually works to increase the number of compostable products it offers. For instance, in 2016-17, Stanford Concessions began procuring compostable mini cups, spoons, and branded cups, and transitioned to serving popcorn in compostable paper bags rather than plastic-coated popcorn containers that had to be landfilled. Finally, Concessions began donating leftover food after select games in 2016, donating a total of 72 lbs of food during the 2016 basketball season.

The Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation has reduced its potable water consumption by 37% since 2013, a large part of which has come from minimizing irrigation of turf areas, especially at Stanford's Golf Course. In fact, Stanford Golf Course itself has reduced water consumption by 39% since 2013 through methods such as reducing the irrigated acreage from 105 to 85 acres, installing weather-based irrigation, monitoring conditions and irrigation schedules twice per day, and upgrading to high efficiency sprinkler heads. Additionally, some turf areas have been converted to artificial turf, including the berms around Maples Pavilion, Stanford's basketball arena. Stanford Athletics also uses a custom compost mix on its fields rather than inorganic fertilizers and minimizes all other chemical use, using chemical sprays at most once per year.

Stanford Athletics encourages sustainable transportation to all of its events to reduce parking and traffic congestion in the area and minimize emissions from traveling to games. Stanford has worked with the local Caltrain to make a special stop on game days closer to Stanford's campus in order to encourage Caltrain ridership to games. Additionally, Stanford highlights all alternative transit options on its game day websitse, found at: http://www.gostanford.com/sports/2015/1/25/208602060.aspx#collapseSix.

Here is a sampling of the ways that the Cardinal Green Athletics program aims to engage fans, students, and other community members in its sustainability efforts:

1) Send pre-game emails to all season ticket holders, single game ticket holders, and students with blurbs about sustainability
2) Student volunteers are engaged to help with pre-game setup and outreach as well as tabling during games
3) Sustainability information and tips are included on the Cardinal Green Athletics website (www.gostanford.com/sustainability) and Sustainable Stanford website (http://sustainable.stanford.edu/cardinal-green/conservation-campaigns/winter-campaign-recyclemania/sustainability-game-day-challenge) and newsletters
4) Office of Sustainability sponsored an Outreach Night with the student group Students for a Sustainable Stanford on January 30, 2017 to make signs related to waste reduction and proper sorting to use at games
5) Tweets by @SustainStanford encourage people to come to the sustainability-themed games
6) Men’s basketball team posed with RecycleMania sign after practice in 2017 to help promote the RecycleMania campaign and encourage attendance at the upcoming sustainability-themed men's basketball game
7) Sustainable Stanford table placed at main entrance during sustainability-themed games to talk to fans about recycling and composting when they enter
8) 10 A-frame signs with sustainability factoids set up around the concourse for sustainability-themed games
9) Red coats (ushers) are provided with training and “pocket guides” of what items go in which bins to enable them to help fans with sorting throughout the season if needed.
10) Audience members selected to participate in sustainability trivia twice throughout each game
11) Sustainability factoids are shown on screen during timeouts and occasionally videos at halftime
12) On-court host occasionally wears Cardinal Green t-shirt.

Stanford's Cardinal Green Athletics has been showcased in the following articles:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.