UofL's Super Bowl Green Team

The UofL Super Bowl green team! Standing, l to r, Bruce Dougherty, Bryan Hirt, Ciro Minopoli, Steven Whiting. Seated, l to r, Caroline Comey, Masden Griffiths, Eiman Zuberi, Pauline Ottaviano.

A dozen UofL Sport Administration students and three professors are headed north for the Feb. 4 match up between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Most of them will be working as NFL/PepsiCo Zero Waste Super Bowl green ambassadors.

“I am super pumped,” said Bruce Dougherty, who will graduate in May with his master’s degree in SPAD. “When Dr. (Megan) Shreffler emailed us about possibly going to the Super Bowl, I had to read the email like three times because I didn’t think it was real.”

Shreffler, an assistant professor in the department of health and sport sciences, said she wanted to see if there was any chance her students could be a part of the Super Bowl and in December contacted a colleague at the University of Minnesota, where Shreffler received her PhD in kinesiology in 2013. There were opportunities available, but she was just days from the application deadline for the PepsiCo gig.

Shreffler spent the next few days frantically emailing students, compiling applications and figuring out transportation and housing. “The whole week was a whirlwind,” she said.

In the end, she pulled together a group of three professors (including herself), eight master’s degree students, three undergraduate students and a doctoral student for the Super Bowl trip, a first for the SPAD program.

“Within the SPAD program, we really try to show students what class concepts look like in real-life settings,” Shreffler said, and the Super Bowl is about as real-life as you get for major sporting events.

Megan Shreffler

The Super Bowl trip will give students a view from the “event manager perspective, everything that goes into an event and working a game day, but will also provide a glimpse into corporate social responsibility as students will serve as green ambassadors,” she said.

PepsiCo will have the team working a 12-hour shift encouraging fans to separate trash from items that can be recycled or composted. Team members will also act as “goodwill ambassadors” for fans throughout the day by helping them take selfies, guiding them around the stadium or helping them seek medical or security assistance. They will also get paid an hourly wage.

“We will get to learn more about recycling and green initiatives with sport,” Dougherty said. “I think that’s really important. In the future, green initiatives in facilities and operations are going to be really big.”

According to a news release, partners the NFL, PepsiCo, Aramark, U.S. Bank Stadium and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority have a goal to recover more than 90 percent of stadium waste at Super Bowl LII. That’s more than 40 tons of waste, and it includes recycling bottles and cans, composting food waste and service ware and repurposing items like discarded handbags, signage and construction materials through local community organizations.

Shreffler said she hopes to be able to take SPAD students to more major sporting events in the future.

Source: UofL Sport Administration team headed to the Super Bowl (UofL News, Jan. 25, 2018)

Post-Game Note:

The 2018 Super Bowl debuted a collaborative effort called Rush2Recycle that targeted zero waste at US Bank Stadium in Minnesota. NFL, PepsiCo, Aramark, US Bank Stadium, and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority hoped to recover at least 90% of the waste generated on gameday.

Now the results are in, and the program successfully recovered 91% of all the trash. Nearly 63 tons of the 69 tons of gameday waste were recovered through recycling or donation for reuse (62%) and composting (29%), according to the NFL.

In order to reach the 91% recovery rate, the partners took these steps before the Super Bowl:

  • US Bank Stadium food and beverage partner Aramark replaced most of its food vessels, service products and utensils inventory for fans with compostable alternatives
  • US Bank Stadium worked with Recycle Across America to design illustrated signs for new three-bin waste stations to show fans how to sort items at the stadium
  • Recycling and compost bins were changed to become larger and more accessible to fans
  • Trash bins were shrunk in size, encouraging fans to consider using alternative containers
  • A LEED-certification-level waste audit last October identified materials for recovery in the stadium’s waste stream
  • A zero-waste trial run took place at a December 2017 Minnesota Vikings home game

Steps taken after the Super Bowl included:

  • The SMG team sorted all fan-generated waste into the right waste compactors
  • The waste hauling partners collected and provided weight-tickets at each destination, including the recycling facility, the composting facility, and the waste-to-energy facility
  • The waste data was reviewed by SMG and combined with the reuse and donation data collected by the NFL from their community partners

“Most stadiums won’t try and do this when they’re first built,” Bradley Vogel, the US Bank Stadium’s sustainability coordinator, told CNN earlier this month. “They just want to get the operations down… they want to make sure they get the food out before they worry about what happens on the back end.” He added that Pepsi’s involvement in the program and Aramark’s investment in compostable cups and food items were key to putting the zero-waste plan in place.

Michael Vekich, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which owns US Bank Stadium, echoed that in a statement today. “We couldn’t have gotten here without the commitment of our stadium partners,” he said. “We look forward to sharing our experiences with other facilities who are interested in this important sustainability program.”

Read the original article on the Environmental Leader website.