The University of Michigan’s school colors are, famously, Maize & Blue. As a November GreenSportsBlog profile by Elyssa Emrich attests, if hosting a Zero-Waste sports event is the metric, the M&B’s greening efforts have been modest compared to their rivals to the south, THE Ohio State University. But the Wolverines are moving in a decidedly greener direction.
Crisler Arena, Michigan’s basketball arena, was home court of the first college basketball team with five freshmen starters to make it to the Final Four–the legendary 1992 Fab Five (the 2014 Kentucky squad was the 2nd team with 5 frosh to make it).
Last weekend, Crisler was host to another, slightly less-ballyhooed, first: The first-ever Zero-Waste (diverting at least 90% of waste from landfill) NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships. All products sold at the arena were compostable and recyclable through Sodexo, concessionaire for U-M. Student volunteers sorted through the compostable, recyclable and non-recyclable materials.
The Gymnastics Championships are just the latest Zero-Waste event on the Michigan green scorecard, building upon Zero-Waste soccer and basketball games hosted by the Maize & Blue last season. And, in addition to the environment, the Michigan Men’s Gymnastics team was also a winner as it took home the NCAA Championship.
Members of the University of Michigan’s Men’s Gymnastics team celebrate winning the 2014 NCAA Championship on their home mat at Crisler Arena. The event was the first-ever Zero-Waste NCAA Gymnastics Championships. (Photo Credit: BND.com)
Now, if Michigan wants to move to the top of the Green Big 10 (and why wouldn’t it?!?!), hosting Zero-Waste basketball games and gymnastics meets at 12,000 seat Crisler Arena can only be the beginning. They need to go Zero-Waste at The Big House (aka Michigan Stadium), the 109,901 seat football stadium. Diversion rates from the 2012 football season were about 40% so, they have a long way to go (mainly, it seems, in the composting area). But, if Ohio State can go Zero-Waste at the tiny 102,000 seat Horseshoe, as they did 5 times in 2013, so too can Michigan. GSB will certainly be watching Michigan’s diversion rates at football games this fall.
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