Last weekend the number one ranked Kansas University (KU) Jayhawks played the Wolverines from the University of Michigan (U of M) in Ann Arbor. Aside from being an intriguing match-up of two Division I basketball teams, ESPN, who aired the game, teamed up with Kansas University to present what they termed a “Green Game.”
Tidbits relating to energy efficiency and steps that consumers (or fans) could take to reduce their energy consumption were displayed throughout the broadcast. According to KU Athletics, ESPN
“produced two short features about go-green initiatives on the KU campus. . . . The first highlights the 15 elliptical machines in the David A. Ambler Student Recreation and Fitness Center that convert kinetic energy created by individual workouts and feed it back into the building’s electrical grid. The Center is one of the only student-fitness centers in the nation to house such machines. The second video features KU’s Biodiesel Initiative, which collects used cooking oil from campus dining halls and converts it into biodiesel fuel. This fall the converted fuel was used to power campus lawn mowers and help kids have fun in an eco-friendly way at KU home football games by powering generators in the HyVee Kids’ Fun Zone.”
The first highlight recalls a recent story we ran on 2nd Green Revolution about a project at Yale University where an electrical engineering professor and undergraduate student teamed up to convert energy from exercise machines into electricity.
Several steps were taken by the Allen Fieldhouse arena to reduce the waste produced by the game.
- Coca-Cola . . . provided 30 additional recycling bins in the Fieldhouse, and during the game green footprints on the floor will lead people to the bins.
- Centerplate, Kansas Athletics’ concessionaire, is now using biodegradable popcorn bags and recycling all used popcorn oil, and many of its paper products are now made from recycled materials. Oil used in cooking will be picked up by Darling Industries, which recycles 100 percent of the oil it collects.
Other highlights of the Green Game include:
- Kansas Athletics’ facilities crew has switched to eco-friendly cleaning products.
- Both basketball teams and the KU Spirit Squad warmed up in T-shirts made from 100 percent recycled material with a special Green Game logo on the back.
- ESPN highlighted the energy-efficient lighting used throughout Kansas Athletics’ renovated facilities.
- ESPN aired sports-related eco-friendly tips during the game.
- Tables were set up in the Fieldhouse to provide information on sustainability.
- Educational signage was placed in Fieldhouse restrooms.
- All bottles recycled were taken to the Wal-Mart Recycling Center post game
- The mascots collected bottles during time outs.
As for the game, unfortunately Michigan lost (my parents both attended U of M) to Kansas by a final score of 75-64.
- Eric Wilson
[image credit: KU Athletics]