Published: Dec. 20, 2017

On Dec. 13, the CU Environmental Center hosted a Climate & Sports Student Summit on the CU Boulder campus. Climate & Sports Student Summits (CSSS) is a national nonprofit whose mission is to “create spaces where youth can be inspired by professional athletes, the sports culture and each other to become sustainable change agents in their communities.” 

Over 80 local elementary, middle and high school students from Boulder Valley School District and St. Vrain School District experienced an action-packed day of education and inspiration at the CU Recreation Center, a LEED Platinum-certified building and one of CU’s greenest facilities.

Boulder-based professional climber, adventure athlete and National Geographic explorer Matt Segal shared stories of his climate and science adventures with students. Youth climate organizers such as Ruby Rorty, a high school student and founder of the Santa Cruz Environmental Alliance, shared their paths to climate action with their peers. 

“It’s so magical to see the energy and excitement the students take from seeing the amazing things that young people like themselves have been able to accomplish. The athletes get so much out of seeing the students’ enthusiasm, and the students are so inspired to see that their role models care so much about climate change,” said Linda Gancitano, summit organizer and former USA women’s soccer team member. 

As part of the Green Sports Alliance Summit last summer, CSSS created similar summits for K-12 students in Miami, Florida, with the Miami Heat and in Sacramento, California, with the Sacramento Kings. 

During the Boulder summit, students saw sustainable building features of the LEED-certified Dal Ward Athletic Center, competed in a recycling relay, participated a giant game of “broom ball,” played an energy trivia game and other activities to learn how they can take action toward a sustainable climate.

“We are honored to host these great kids, their dedicated teachers, and an amazing team of school teachers, athletes and sustainability professionals from all over the U.S.,” said Dave Newport, CU Environmental Center director. “The CU Recreation Center recognized the poignancy of the opportunity and opened their doors to help make a big Buff impression on these students and send them forward to make the world a better place.”

Climate & Sports Student Summits chose CU Boulder for this summit for its leadership in collegiate sports sustainability with programs like Ralphie’s Green Stampede, which moves Folsom Field and Coors Event Center toward zero waste with every game, and Water for the West, which encourages Buffs fans to think about their water consumption. 

For more information about sports sustainability at CU Boulder, visit the Environmental Center online. For more details on Climate & Sports Student Summits, visit the website.