Welcome. We are flattered to be the site of this important forum. And we are honored to have the National Resources Defense Council here taking a strong and continued interest in our sustainability efforts. We look forward to our continued partnership with NRDC.
The NRDC is one of the nation's most powerful environmental groups, marking its 43rd year this year. The University of Colorado has also been dedicated to the environment for 43 years. Our student-led Environmental Center was founded on the first Earth Day in 1970.
We gather today at the invitation of Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national community of business leaders that works with NRDC and champions economically sound approaches to environmental issues. We thank Environmental Entrepreneurs and NRDC for organizing this event.
CU national leader in sustainability
Let me begin by saying, I'm very proud that CU is a national leader in sustainability.
- Home of collegiate recycling (1976)
- First student-led renewable-energy purchase (2000)
- First campus to attain STARS Gold overall campus sustainability award (2010)
- As I mentioned, we boast the nation's oldest, largest, and some say, most accomplished Environmental Center—founded in 1970
- Named the SierraClub's No. 1 greenest campus in the nation (2009)
- Original signatory to the (university) Presidents' Climate Commitment, a carbon neutrality commitment
- Numerous LEED Gold and LEED Platinum buildings
- Pesticide-free landscaping
- Just last week, we announced the installation of a new array of solar panels that doubles solar power production on campus to 1,000 kilowatt-hours of energy, enough to power about 200 average-sized houses.
- We are heavily invested in renewable and sustainable energy research—solar, wind, bio-refining and biofuels, and have a great partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
CU a leader in athletics, sports and recreation sustainability
Athletics, sports and recreation on our campus also have stepped up to lead CU in sustainability. Five years ago, we became the first major-college athletics program to convert the stadium, basketball arena and all events to zero waste. And now five years later, it is gratifying to still see dozens of students turn out to volunteer on game days as staffers for our zero waste stations. Obviously, this has helped the campus fully embrace this practice. The campus is now converting dozens of buildings to zero-waste in pursuit of a 2020 total zero goal.
In the three years, since the Environmental Protection Agency rolled out a national zero-waste competition for college football stadiums, CU has won the National Game Day Zero-Waste Championship among NCAA Division I schools both times it has entered.
Athletics' new basketball practice facility was awarded a LEED Platinum rating, consistent with all new buildings and renovation on campus. And the Coors Events Center arena has extensive solar photovoltaic panels on its roof.
The new Student Recreation Center, now under construction, will go beyond LEED Platinum to near net-zero energy—despite that it has a hockey rink and a swimming pool.
CU Sports and Recreation is designing their program around the principle that "Sustainability Promotes Heath and Wellness," thus engaging even more of the campus community in the culture of sustainability we have at CU.
Athletics is part of CU's campus-wide "fair-food" policy as we source more local and natural foods from vendors with responsible labor and management policies. This is a national model, now being emulated by many other campuses.
Athletics, Sports and Recreation is showcasing success of non-toxic turf management on all fields—and campuswide. We are one of only a few campuses in the nation to implement a state-of-the-art compost-tea irrigation and organic fertilizer management system. By all accounts, the campus has never looked better.
Our Athletics, Facilities Management, and Environmental Center personnel work with counterparts on numerous other campuses, give presentations at conferences, host campus tours, and publish articles that transfer our collective knowledge to help our colleagues implement many of these sustainability systems.
Overall, having Athletics' and Recreation's leadership in this area moves sustainability into a highly visible mainstream on campus and in the community because, like the arts, sports reach all segments of society.
Like professional sports teams that have embraced sustainability, CU has found that sustainability in sports helps connect CU to its fans, supporters, alumni, students, faculty and staff because we all share in sustainability's common values of environmental protection, fiscal prudence, and social equity. For instance, our fans—and visiting fans—comment favorably about the zero- waste systems they see at our sporting events.
Sustainability is also a strong attractant for students. Large numbers of students engage in various sustainability-related activities, events, jobs and internships while they complete their degrees.
Likewise, national studies and surveys of our incoming freshman indicate upwards of 40 percent included CU's sustainability reputation as a consideration of where they chose to attend college.
Many of these students move on to important sustainability-related jobs and careers, such as one of our alums that is a co-founder of Growhaus—a community greenhouse that produces food year-round for under-resourced neighborhoods in Denver-metro's Commerce City-Globeville area.
Others are pursuing sustainability in sports such as ESPN's sustainability director Fabian DeGarbo—who is here today. Indeed, ESPN has employed many students from the CU Environmental Center to help with the sustainability systems at the X-Games here in Colorado, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.
The bottom line is this: sustainability in sports is good for the campus, good for the community, and it is the right thing to do for the world.
Thank you. It's our honor and pleasure to host you today.