Starting next fall, the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco will offer the first-ever MBA-level sustainability program focused exclusively on the sports industry. Aside from the technical knowledge the 2-course program will impart, I think the fact of the Sports & Sustainability Certificate (S&SC) Program’s very existence demonstrates the growing importance of the Green + Sports intersection. GSB spoke with the very busy Dr. Allen Hershkowitz (Senior Scientist at NRDC, founder of NRDC Sports Greening Project and the Director of the S&SC program) to find out more.
Green Sports Blog: How did the S&SC program come to be?
Allen Hershkowitz: The work my colleagues at NRDC and I are doing to develop greening programs at all the professional leagues and teams has gotten a lot of notice–and positive results. As a result, I am often asked to speak around the nation, indeed around the world, on the ecological, market and cultural value of greening professional sports. Recently I was approached by the President of the Presidio, William Shutkin, who is a former NRDC staffer, and I was asked if I would develop a course focused on greening venue operations and sporting events. I had been thinking that such a course was needed to support the one-on-one approach I currently take helping team and venues. I suggested we develop a Certificate acccredidation course for sports greening and the Presidio agreed.
GSB: What problem(s)/lack(s) will S&SC fill?
AH: There is enormous value in this Certificate program. We will draw on the enormous expertise of many venue operators and league officials with whom I have been working for years. The courses will:
- Train sports venue operators from all over the world about how to manage their facilities in an ecologically superior way.
- Help harmonize the procurement requests to the marketplace about environmentally oriented products, and in so doing help the marketplace respond more efficiently.
- Embed environmental stewardship into all venues operations, which is a big deal.
GSB: If I understand this correctly, S&SC at launch will be made of up of 2 courses that can be taken as part of a Presidio MBA or separately. If one takes the 2 courses do you get a certificate even without an MBA? To take the courses separately, do you need to already have an MBA?
AH: You do not need an MBA to take the two courses (Sports & Sustainability + Principles of Sustainability Management). It might be that you only have to take the Sports and Sustainability class to get the Certificate, but we will be recommending the second class, Principles of Sustainability Managaement, to encourage a deeper understanding of the issue.
GSB: Is the Principles of Sustainability class a more general, sustainability-oriented course, rather than sports focused?
AH: Yes, it is not focused on sports but rather on the broader issues of understanding and implementing more sustainable practices.
GSB: S&SC will be a hybrid online/in-residence program. How will that work?
AH: The class is only five days long, spread out over five months, one day a month. Each day will be a seven hour class. There will also be a 2 hour on-line session each month, and we are working on rasing funds to broadcast the course as an on-line course too, for which there seems to be great demand.
GSB: I would imagine that would be the case for folks not in the Bay Area! Who will be some of the instructors/lecturers?
AH: They will be the most experienced and respected “venues greeners” in the business, including Scott Jenkins from the Seattle Mariners, Joe Abernathy from the St. Louis Cardinals, Justin Zeulner of the Portland Trail Blazers, Mike Lynch from NASCAR, operations officials from all the leagues, executives from concessionaire Aramark, e-waste recyclers, paper industry firms, cleaning products experts, and many others. Everyone I’ve talked to, from the instructors to prospective students, from other team/league executives to Presidio administrators, is excited about this program.
GSB: Add GSB to the list of those excited about the Sports & Sustainability Certificate program! We will follow up as the S&SC gets closer to launch.