Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Natalie Walker
Submission Date Feb. 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Pennsylvania
IN-4: Green Athletics

Status Score Responsible Party
0.00 / 0.50 Madeline Schuh
Sustainability Analyst
Facilities and Real Estate Services
"---" 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 No
A stadium certified under a green building rating system No
A sustainable food and beverage purchasing program that includes athletic event vendors and concessions No
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:

Penn has several programs that support greening athletics programs. The Associate Director of Facilities for the Department of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics is a member of Penn’s Sustainability Coordinators Group, which works to align activities in Schools and Centers with Penn’s Climate Action Plan. Initiatives include: Annual sustainability-themed home basketball game during campus-wide campaigns; waste minimization efforts during Penn Relays (attended by over 120,000 spectators annually), donations of used athletics equipment to local schools and recreation leagues. A Penn Green Fund Grant has been used to install low-detergent ozone washers at the Pottruck Recreation Center, saving energy by reducing the use of hot water, and reducing the use of detergent. In addition, buses that transport athletes to away games are part of the Penn Transit fleet and have been converted to run on alternative fuels. Home games are accessible via walking and public transportation due to Penn's location and proximity to mass transit in the City of Philadelphia.

At least once a year, the Penn Men’s Basketball team sponsors a sustainability-themed game at the Palestra, Penn’s storied basketball arena. During half-time, a video describing Penn’s sustainability efforts is shown. During Penn Relays, the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States held annually at Penn’s Franklin Field, student Eco-Reps work to reduce the event's environmental footprint. Activities in recent years include waste minimization programs and efforts to reduce the use of bottled water. In past years, the Penn Sustainability Office has sponsored specific races to help raise awareness of Penn's efforts in this area.

Penn Park, the 24-acre athletic and recreation facility open to the public and the Penn community, contains two full-size soccer/rugby fields, which are the primary practice fields for several intercollegiate athletic teams, as well as for recreation and intramural team. Penn Park also contains open natural grass fields used for recreation and practice, in addition to the women’s softball field. All water used for irrigation in Penn Park is drawn from a 300,000 gallon cistern that captures rainwater, as described elsewhere in this report. In addition to the sustainability features of Penn Park's outdoor sports facilities, Hutchinson Gymnasium, originally built in 1928, was renovated in 2015 and certified LEED Gold.

As part of its standard practices (which are being formalized in Penn's forthcoming Ecological Stewardship Landscape Plan), Penn has minimized chemical fertilizer amendments and the use of pesticides and herbicides in Penn Park's and main campus lawns and gardens. Penn uses compost tea, made on campus, exclusively for lawn and field amendments. Pesticides are only used for spot treatments as required and on trees such as American Elm and Ash, that they are threatened by invasive pests. In 2013, a notable pilot used ladybugs to control aphid populations as opposed to harsh chemicals.

In addition, several Eco-Reps projects in the reporting period of this survey have worked on greening athletic programs and events as their year-long engagement project.

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.