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© 2018 Sport Ecology Group

Formation and function of a collegiate athletics sustainability committee (2018)

This study explores cross-sectoral social partnerships (CSSP) in the context of a Green Team at a university, 11 interviews were conducted over the course of two weeks in March 2016. Participants included five Athletics representatives, one student-athlete, and personnel from non-Athletics departments including a concessionaire, three members from the university Office of Sustainability, and an employee from the Waste Management department.

The encouragement from the university’s upper administration and specifically from the campus Office of Sustainability was viewed by Athletics and non-Athletics Green Team members as an impetus to the Green Team. In fact, the Green Team was commissioned by the Athletic Director because of a planned major renovation of the football stadium.

As members of the athletic department began to defer to outside experts, the need to include individuals outside of Athletics became clearer. This perspective allowed the expertise of new partnerships to inform the athletic department about how they could meet their sustainability goals, there spanning the boundaries of the athletic department and its support system. There were some growing pains in the forming of the group but ultimately shared goals advanced the work of the group.

Because CSSPs like the Green Team operate autonomously with an overarching goal (i.e., advancing sustainability initiatives at the university and within Athletics), it can bridge the academic–athletic ideological gap and orient all parties toward a pro-environmental mission.

CITE: McCullough, B. P., Kellison, T., & Wendling, E. (2018). Formation and function of a collegiate athletics sustainability committee. Journal of Amateur Sport, 4(1), 52–81.


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