Penn hosts Ivy Plus conference on sustainability

Julie McWilliams

University athletic programs, arenas and recreation centers have their own sets of challenges when it comes to going green. Just getting people to recycle their water and sports drink bottles is a mammoth task, not to mention the carbon footprint created by the diesel buses used to transport sports teams.

Sharing best practices and some old-fashioned brainstorming will be in play this week when Penn hosts its Ivy League peers and others at the Ivy Plus Sustainability Working Group Conference. Discussion is expected to focus on how to best bring university athletics and recreation into the sustainability fold, as well as how to use athletics to rally campus communities behind the green cause.

Sustainability coordinators and athletics program administrators from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities as well as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago and Duke, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins universities are scheduled to attend. Representatives from The Council of Ivy Group Presidents, the governing body of the Ivy League athletic conference, are also expected to participate.

After the conference participants arrive, Dan Garofalo, Penn sustainability coordinator, will lead the 15-plus guests on an eco-tour of the University campus before they gather at Kings Court English House for a dinner showcasing the sustainable dining choices that Bon Appetit, Penn’s food vendor, brings to the table. Food from eight local farms will be served.

After a day of discussions that will include energy and transportation issues, the group will have the opportunity to see some of Penn’s sustainable land management practices first hand. As they tour the 24-acre Penn Park site on the eastern edge of campus, Penn staff will explain the project’s innovative storm water management system and turf management initiative. At Franklin Field’s nearly completed Weiss Pavilion and Shoemaker Green, the adaptive reuse and LEED certification standards of the athletic facilities projects will be highlighted.

Originally published on April 6, 2010