Students > Student-Led Projects Ideas

One of the important ways students can advance sports greening on your campus is through leading new projects, often in conjunction with academic interests, and sometimes for academic credit. Work with facility managers and other athletics or recreation staff to launch or expand your varsity or club team’s greening work and incorporate students into your greening initiative.

Students can conduct valuable projects that help make the case for and facilitate infrastructure upgrades across sports facilities. Below are some project ideas–ranging from internal procurement research and preliminary walkthrough audits to assembling green sports signage and managing donation drives–that could be led by students. These research tasks are often relatively easy to conduct and can help build interest in broader infrastructure and operational greening.

The student project ideas listed below are also integrated throughout the environmental impact sections in the lower menu bar of this guide (starting with “Energy”).

Waste/Recycling Infrastructure Facilities Audit:

Complete a walkthrough waste infrastructure audit of all sports facilities to identify and map current waste receptacles, including trash, recycling and composting bins (don’t forget locker rooms). Record the size, type, signage, and location for each receptacle. Identify where receptacles are co-located or placed separately. Flag where inconsistent signage, coloring or shape may confuse users. Make recommendations for standardizing all receptacles and signage, adding additional receptacles and/or moving receptacles and upgrading or adding signage to improve ease of use.

Water Bottle Refill Station Facilities Audit:

Complete a walkthrough audit of water bottle refill stations (including drinking fountains) throughout all sports facilities. Identify and map current stations. Check each to confirm all are working. Flag any faulty refill stations. Identify floors or entire facilities without refill stations and suggest locations for new stations. Consider writing up a business plan to encourage installing additional stations.

Environmental Education Campaign:

Create signs for all sports facilities to educate fans and athletes about easy things they can do to reduce energy, recycle, etc. Post more detailed posters in high-traffic areas such as locker rooms, gyms, and elevators. Partner with the sports marketing manager(s) to design a sports greening program brand with a name and logo to help publicize your sports greening accomplishments and encourage people to get involved.

Recycling and Greener Tailgating:

Create a recycling green team of student volunteers to collect recyclables during games and tailgates. Also consider handing out bags to tailgaters for collecting recyclables, then picking up the bags later or designating drop-off stations nearby.

Paper Audit:

Identify an campus-wide paper purchasing policies or recommendations. Complete a basic paper audit for all sports offices. Identify current sources and volume of all paper products used at the athletics and recreation offices. Identify any environmentally preferable features of current paper products. Determine whether all paper products meet campus requirements. Identify opportunities for improvement to sports department sourcing (and campus-wide sourcing). Consider writing up a business plan to encourage alternative paper sourcing options and possible vendors.

Paper Efficiency Plan:

Complete a basic paper audit for all sports offices focusing on types and volume of all paper products used in athletics and recreation offices. Identify all printers with the default setting set to double-sided printing and any that aren’t (flag any that can’t print double-sided). Identify opportunities to switch operations to electronic systems and minimize printing needs (such as electronic student profiles, forms and filing systems). Identify opportunities for improvement to sports department sourcing (and campus-wide sourcing). Consider writing up a business plan to encourage alternative paper sourcing options and possible vendors.

Material Reuse Audit & Plan:

Identify any campus-wide reusable product purchasing policies or recommendations. Complete a walkthrough audit of all sports facilities to identify products that could be made with reusable materials. Some examples include banners, posters/signs, serviceware, water bottles, and hand towels in locker rooms. Identify any existing reusable products and flag opportunities for switching additional items to reusable materials. Consider writing up a business plan that identifies material alternatives (such as the ones listed on this page) and possible local vendors to help provide practical procurement alternatives and help encourage these product switches.

Food Donation Program:

Instead of throwing away unused food, establish a donation program following athletic events to send untouched leftover food to a nearby food bank or another place of need. Contact your local food bank, visit Feeding America for information about food banks near you, or visit Rock and Wrap It Up! for information on its college donation program.

Sports Gear Recycling Drive or Donation Program:

Start a recycling drive encouraging students to donate, exchange, or sell used sports gear. Consider arranging campus-wide sports gear donation events (including clothes, shoes, and equipment) to benefit local schools or places of need. Ask the athletic equipment manager(s) to contribute any unused or outdated team gear. There are also several programs—such as Reuse-a-Shoe and Shoebox Recycling—that can provide collection bins for used shoes to install in sports facilities.

Lighting Facilities Audit:

Complete a walkthrough audit of lighting types, sensors and uses throughout all sports facilities. Identify and map current all lighting with automatic sensors. If possible, also map all installed CFL and LED lighting. Check each to confirm all sensors and lights are working. Flag any faulty lighting or sensors. Identify floors or entire facilities without sensors and suggest locations for installing sensors. Consider writing up a business plan to encourage installing additional lighting sensors. Also record automated interior or exterior lighting that is on an inappropriate times. Write up a suggested revised lighting schedule to improve the lighting efficiency across necessary sports facilities.

Tailgating Composting Program:

Create a green team of student volunteers to set up stations to collect food waste from tailgates. Consider also handing out bags for tailgaters to use to collect their own compost, then picking them up later or designating drop-off stations nearby. Partner with the campus waste department to arrange to haul bags of food waste to on-campus or off-campus compost centers.

E-Waste Drive:

Host a used electronics recycling event at a major sports event. Arrange to have a local e-Stewards–certified recycler to help collect and haul the waste. Publicize the event well in advance, with outreach to all teams, dorms, and campus departments. Circulate notices with information about the kinds of electronic waste that will be accepted, and post signage at the event with pictures of acceptable items.

Cleaning Products Audit:

Identify any campus-wide environmental purchasing policies or recommendations related to cleaning products. Complete a preliminary analysis of current procurement for cleaning products across all sports facilities. Identify any environmentally preferable features of current cleaning products (such as Green Seal). Flag opportunities for switching additional items to environmentally intelligent products. Consider writing up a business plan that identifies product alternatives and possible local vendors to help encourage these procurement switches.

Low-VOC, Ozone Friendly Product Audit:

Identify any campus-wide low-VOC, ozone friendly or other environmental purchasing policies or recommendations related to building materials. Complete a preliminary analysis of current procurement for building materials across all sports facilities. The types of materials to consider include paints, carpets, adhesives, sealants, cleaning products, and aerosol sprays. Identify any low-VOC or ozone friendly features of current building materials and products. Flag opportunities for switching additional items to low-VOC and ozone friendly materials. Consider writing up a business plan that identifies material alternatives and possible local vendors to provide procurement alternatives and help encourage these product switches.

Water Facilities Audit:

Complete a preliminary walkthrough audit to identify opportunities for installing water-efficient appliances, low flow fixtures, waterless urinals and aerators on faucets throughout your sports facilities. Identify floors or entire facilities without any water-efficient fixtures and suggest locations for installing these. Consider writing up a business plan to encourage installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances.