By effectively communicating information about your sports greening initiatives, you can involve students, fans, staff and the broader campus community and encourage them to participate in these initiatives in sports facilities and adopt greener lifestyles.
Consider issuing a press release, using online outreach, installing facility signage, and publicizing your efforts through game day announcements to inspire others to follow your lead. Effective outreach will improve the success of facility-wide programs like recycling, which rely on the participation of all users, including staff, students and fans.
Creating a clear branding and strategic communications plan for your sports greening program can help foster a culture of sustainability throughout your sports departments and across campus. You can create a separate brand for your greening initiative, or tie your greening efforts to your existing brand (e.g. general athletics brand logo or athletics mascots logo).
Consistent branding and outreach that effectively communicates the program’s mission and publicizes successes can help attract program funding from sponsors or donors. A clear brand can also attract attention from potential program partners on and off campus by more powerfully communicating the range of initiatives in your program.
Recommendations for sports greening outreach strategy
Clearly communicate the program’s mission, tying all outreach back to the program’s purpose. Specify each outreach objective, such as changing the campus community’s perception of greening, encouraging more sustainable behavior, and building a greener culture and greener campus policies.
Establish a consistent name and logo for all outreach about program initiatives. This branding builds awareness of program successes and encourages the community to get involved by becoming part of the sports greening team. Consistent messaging and imagery should help remind people of the program goal every time they see it associated with efforts. Capitalize on the brand power of the athletics logo by incorporating it into the sports greening program logo.
Adapt materials for each audience: students, staff, fans, alumni, sponsors, and campus partners. Consider their knowledge to date, unique interests, and opportunities for involvement.
Keep outreach positive, encouraging, active, and forward-looking. This optimistic approach is effective in building an engaged following that is excited about getting involved. Avoid negative messages that might deter fans from long-term commitment. (Say “Do this!” instead of “Don’t do this.”)
Portray the program as a long-term commitment. If possible, indicate that sustainability is integrated into the sports department and campus-wide mission statements and is part of your school’s identity. Avoid terms like “campaign” or other words that indicate temporary initiatives.
Integrate messages into all existing sports facilities, operations, and outreach. Place signs at decision points around sports facilities (e.g. recycling bins, paper towel dispensers, light switches, and sinks) to remind users of the greener choices they can make. Incorporate green messaging into game announcements, programs, online articles, and social media to fully integrate greening into the athletics brand.
Repeat your message at every recycling bin, water fountain, and locker room light switch to remind students, fans and other visitors to take greener action at each opportunity, until simple green actions become habit.
Keep outreach humorous as well as succinct and informative. Humor can help attract student attention and reinforce the fun atmosphere at sports events.
CAMPUS LOGO EXAMPLES
Yale University, “Bulldog Sustainability” program logo:
University of Colorado Boulder, “Ralphie’s Green Stampede” program logo:
The Ohio State University, “Zero Waste at Ohio Stadium” program logo:
University of Washington, “Go Purple. Be Gold & Green” program logo:
University of Florida, “Neutral Gator” program logo:
Columbia University, “EcoLions” program logo:
Bowdoin College, “Green Athletics” program logo:
The Ivy League, “Ivy Green Initiative” program logo:
North Carolina State University, “WE Recycle” program logo:
Penn State University, “Penn State Recycles” program logo:
American University, “The American Dream is Green” program logo:
University of New Hampshire, “Go Green With The Wildcats” program logo:
Duke University, “Bleed Blue. Live Green.” program logo: