Arena event promotes sustainability initiatives
Saturday night’s game against George Washington University not only marked the Billikens men’s basketball team’s 19th consecutive win, but was also named SLU’s first ever “Green Game.”
Global Spectrum, the operators of Chaifetz Arena, Sodexo, the concessionaries for the arena, and SLU are all participating in the Recycling Refresh project at Chaifetz. Through this project, SLU is hoping to reach their goal of a 30 percent diversion rate, meaning that 30 percent of SLU’s waste will be diverted from landfills.
According to Sustainability Coordinator in the office of Facilities Services Amy Hargis, Chaifetz is a big waste production site. Hargis stated that in the past, patrons had not been able to recycle at Chaifetz and that all of the trash would go to landfills. She said that the goal of the Green Game was really to point out that it is now possible to recycle at the arena.
Some of the Green Game activities included a “Green Game Party Zone” where local businesses could showcase their products. Fans could visit vendor tables like Schlafly Beer and learn about the companies that are sustainable in making their products and resources.
Once the game began, there were “Green Ambassadors” wearing green t-shirts scattered throughout the arena in order to inform guests about the Recycling Refresh project. Their job was to point out the available recycling bins and they also collected recycling during halftime and TV timeouts.
“I felt patrons were engaging with the Green Ambassadors… We were asked on several occasions about the green shirts and fans were actively separating out their recyclables from non-recyclables,” said Hargis.
Both individual volunteers and student groups comprised the Green Ambassadors
According to Hargis, some of these differences between recyling and throwing things away are the affordability of recycling, the creation of more jobs that in turn boost the economy and the reduction of landfill sizes which helps the environment.
Another purpose of the Green Game was to inform students and patrons about SLU’s participation in Recyclemania. Recyclemania is an intercollegiate competition that takes place for eight weeks each spring around the United States and Canada. During the competition, the schools report the amount of recycling and trash they have collected each week. The schools are then ranked in various categories, such as which school had the highest poundage of recycled materials and the highest diversion rate.
SLU collected over 200,000 pounds of recycling and trash in last year’s competition.
“There will be more Green Games with recycling collection,” said Brandon Verhoff, the director of Sustainability and Benchmarking. “We will strive to continue the tradition on an annual basis in conjunction with the annual Recyclemania competition and greening the game category within Recyclemania.”
Verhoff hopes that they will be able to continually spread awareness about the Recycling Refresh project, even after Recyclemania is over.