More GSB News-Notes: Dutch Soccer Champs Go LED; Amherst College, Small School, Green Leader


The Green-Sports beat has become so busy, we need to do a 2nd News and Notes column this week just to keep up. We span the globe to tell the stories of the Greening of the very big–Dutch soccer power PSV Eindhoven–to the very small–the Amherst College Lord Jeffs.

PSV Eindhoven, along with Ajax and Feyenoord, form the “Big Three” of Dutch football, both on the pitch (they own 69 titles, combined, since 1928-29) and in terms of greening.
Amsteram ArenA, the 53,000 seat home of Ajax, embarked on a five-year sustainability initiative in 2010 that included the introduction of energy-efficient LED lights in the concourses. Rotterdam-based Feyenoord is building a new 70,000+ seat stadium, scheduled to open in 2017, that will also feature LEDs, along with other energy efficiency initiatives.
Where does that leave PSV Eindhoven, the reigning champion of the Eredivisie, the top level of Dutch football, and its 35,000 seat home, Philips Stadium?
As the first Dutch stadium with LED lights (fittingly, from Philips Lighting) that illuminate the pitch.
According to a story in the October 20 issue of LEDs Magazine by Mark Halper, the Philips ArenaVision LED lights at Philips Stadium are expected to save 30% in energy and 33% in maintenance costs compared to the previous high-intensity discharge (HID) lights.

Philips Arena, home of Dutch football power PSV Eindhoven, showing off its new, energy efficient LED lighting system. (Photo credit: LED Inside)

When LEDs first came into vogue, the light quality was less than stellar for sporting events, particularly for television viewing. This has changed dramatically over just the past 2 years, with the new state-of-the-art Philips LEDs representing a significant improvement compared to earlier versions and, for that matter, vs. the HIID’s. They provide better visibility for spectators and support superslow-motion replays and high-definition television.  And, in another nod to efficiency, these LED stadium lights offer stadium operators “instant on,” rather than having to warm up to full brightness.
As mentioned above, PSV Eindhoven, Ajax and Feyenoord make up the “Big 3” of Dutch football, Amherst College (enrollment: 1,792) in Amherst, MA is part of the “Little 3,” a group of small, highly competitive, both academically and athletically, New England liberal arts colleges–the other two are Williams College in Williamstown, MA and Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. The Amherst-Williams football game, “The Biggest Little Game in America”, dating back to 1884, is the most played matchup in Division III.

A packed and jammed Pratt Field at Amherst College for the 2014 edition of Amherst-Williams, “Biggest Little Game in America”. Amherst, whose student athletes are beginning a Green-Sports initiative, won 17-9. (Photo credit: GameDayOnCampus.com)

Given the school’s outstanding, forward-thinking pedigree (alums include President Calvin Coolidge, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and, yes, pro football players–most famously Washington Redskins/Dallas Cowboys TE Jean Fuget from the 1970s) and its bucolic, picture-postcard campus, no one would be surprised that Amherst would look to green its athletic programs. And, truth be told, many schools from the biggest (#1 ranked Ohio State is the most high-profile example, with their Zero-Waste, 106,000-fan football games) to the smallest (Amherst’s Pratt Field holds 1,250) are greening their games to some extent.
What makes Amherst different is that its recent arrival at the intersection of Green and Sports is being led by students. Not the Athletic Department. Not the Department of Environmental Sustainability. Not Facilities Management.
Jingwen Zhang detailed, in a story in Tuesday’s The Amherst Studenthow the student-run Green Athletics committee first met on Sept. 23 to propose initiatives to make the Athletic Department “more environmentally friendly by making changes in areas ranging from facilities to varsity team equipment.”
The committee was started by senior Suhasini Ghosh, a varsity tennis player and Environmental Studies major. She caught the Green-Sports bug, per Zhang’s story, in a class in which students were challenged to “think of an idea for environmental change that could be implemented on campus or in a community meaningful to the students.” Ghosh came up with recycling tennis balls. When she discovered that they’re not recyclable (as a mediocre-if-passionate tennis player, I can tell you, this is a big problem), she found a company that would repurpose them.
From there, according to Zhang’s story, Ghosh enlisted Laura Draucker, Director of the Office of Environmental Sustainability, Don Faulstick, Director of Athletics and coach Jackie Bagwell. All were enthusiastic about greening Amherst tennis (receptacles for used tennis balls were set up this season) and, from there, the formation of the Green Athletics committee was a natural next step.
And there is no shortage of potential projects–from more efficient lighting in the gym to a used shoe donation program to energy efficient exercise equipment to…the mind boggles. And, given the creativity and ingenuity of the Amherst student body, GSB expects those projects to yield great results.

Please comment below!
Email us: lew@greensportsblog.com
Tweet us: @greensportsblog


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  1. […] the great #greensports work being done at schools large (Ohio State and Ole Miss) and small (Amherst and its embryonic, student-athlete inspired greening program) in our pages in […]

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