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DIII SAAC works to make sports sustainable

By Braly Keller

Braly Keller

One of the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s primary goals this year is to help athletics departments and student-athletes focus on sustainability. In July, we identified it as one of our target areas, and nearly a dozen members of the committee are working to craft a document that, we hope, will encourage our peers to make environmentally friendly choices.   

It’s a hot-button topic. People are starting to realize the impact of something as simple as throwing a paper cup in the trash. They might feel that pressure: “I’m contributing to this. This is a problem, and I’m not helping.” It’s something we need to take seriously.

We recently identified four areas on which student-athletes and schools can focus: water-based waste, repurposing equipment and clothing, outdoor cleanups and transportation cleanliness.

In terms of reusing old equipment and clothes, we’re focusing on donating used or extra goods. Regarding water-based waste, we have discussed schools providing reusable straws and water bottles. For transportation cleanliness, a lot of schools across the country have implemented a no-idling bus policy to help cut pollution and waste. All are very practical — and simple — ways to protect our environment.

Athletics departments can save quite a bit of money by implementing sustainable practices like these, and we plan to provide data that demonstrates that fact. The numbers are really going to catch people’s attention. You’ve got to recycle and cut back on your water usage — people hear it, but they don’t necessarily process the weight it carries. Being able to tie in both the financial and environmental impacts will be key. We also want to offer a list of student-athlete best practices.

We hope to have this key document ready to circulate to campuses by winter. It could go a long way toward helping the environment while benefiting athletics departments’ bottom lines.

Braly Keller is a senior football player, swimmer and mathematics major at Nebraska Wesleyan. He also is a member of the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

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