Funding > Donors/Alumni

Donations from alumni and other members of the campus community are often a primary source of funding for major capital projects on campus. Alumni funding is particularly common as a funding source for major renovations or new construction of athletics facilities.

Many campuses have found sports greening programs enhance alumni and community connections, helping to broaden appeals to alumni  for donations. Work with athletics and campus development staff to integrate messaging about sports greening work into donor packets, especially for athletics alumni.  

The following campus testimonials provide a few examples of how sports greening can help enhance alumni and community connections.


“Bulldog Sustainability” started in 2008 when the athletics department and Office of Sustainability hired four students to devise a plan for integrating sustainability into Yale University sports operations. An anonymous donor with a strong interest in environmental programs provided the primary funding for the research team and program implementation. This donation helped establish a partnership between the athletics department and the Office of Sustainability just a few years after the Office of Sustainability was established. To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.

A greening project can provide students with a stronger and lasting connection to University of North Texas. “With a program as simple as tree planting around our softball field, we can give our student-athletes a sense of ownership, pride, and responsibility,” explains Athletics Director Rick Villarreal. “From the perspective of the athletics department, that’s a great way to make sure students invest in and will stay part of the Mean Green community, to ensure they feel connected to the university years after graduating. That alumni connection is vital, and sports greening efforts help strengthen it.” To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.

The University of Florida’s James W. Heavener Football Complex took U.S. sports venue construction to a new level by pioneering LEED Platinum certification for a sports complex. And it was supported completely with funding from private donors. “This is the first athletic facility project in our history that, from the planning stage, was to be funded 100 percent privately,” says Phil Pharr, senior director of development for Gator Boosters, Inc. “In about a year and a half, we had 16 donors step up and commit the entire $28.3 million. Not many schools in the country have the fan base that could pull that off.” The football complex demonstrates the commitment of students, faculty, administration, and staff from many departments at UF to preserving the environment, says Bahar Armaghani, assistant director of the university’s Facilities, Planning, and Construction Division, which houses UF’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. “Green buildings are investments for the well-being of people and the environment. Since we spend over 90 percent of our time indoors, we need to provide a healthy indoor environment for people. It’s a great achievement for the Gators.” To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.

Williams College Athletics is pursuing LEED green building certifications, on-site solar, and improved waste diversion. “We will begin construction on a new football facility, which is targeted to be LEED Gold-certified,” Stephanie Boyd says, director of the college’s Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives. “We are exploring thermal solar or solar electric systems, or both, for the top of the gym and pool, and we are looking into a new dehumidification system for the pool.” Boyd explains that athletics projects are ideal for sustainability work because they engage both the student body and alumni supporters. To learn more, read the full feature in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.