Sports and Sustainability – Survey of D1 college athletic depts

From Inside Higher Ed. The full article can be found at, with an excerpt provided below. The below mentioned survey report is available here. 2009-Collegiate-Athletic-Department-Sustainability-Survey


July 30, 2009

College athletics departments already have a lot on their plates: they are responsible not only for the success of their teams, but also for urging their athletes to perform well in the classroom, too. A new study suggests that many should make room for one more priority: environmental sustainability.

Today, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) released a survey of 97 of the 119 institutions in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Along with a set of questions about what concrete environmental initiatives are already in place, the survey aims to determine just how important sustainability is to college athletics departments, relative to the commitments of the universities they are a part of.

For example, the study finds that even though nearly 72 percent of the athletics departments reported that sustainability initiatives were either a “high” or “very high” priority for their institutions as a whole, only 44 percent reported that it was a “high” or “very high” priority within their own departments.

Mark McSherry, a Harvard University graduate student who has worked for a number of environmentally minded companies, hopes to conduct this survey annually to track any trends in the field. The year’s survey, however, primarily serves as a foil to a similar survey he conducted last year to gauge the sustainability practices of of 79 professional sports teams.

Almost three-fourths of all the professional sports teams McSherry surveyed reported that they were either developing or “actively planning to develop a strategic sustainability plan,” while only a quarter of the college athletics departments reported that they were doing the same.  (The article continues at