This year’s Green Sports Alliance (GSA) Summit is just around the corner and we could not be more excited for this year’s event. The annual gathering, which is taking place in Chicago from June 29-July 1 this year, brings more than 800 industry stakeholders together to share ideas, spark conversations, and promote sustainable business practices within the sports industry. Since 2012, we’ve partnered with the GSA to provide conference bags made from repurposed materials for their attendees, and we love having the opportunity to connect with members of the sports community to talk fan engagement and sustainability.

Whether this is your first time hearing of the GSA Summit or you’re a veteran attendee, here are five reasons why we are excited to be attending this year’s event:

1. The Chicago Green Sports Green Apple Day of Service

GSA String Backpack 2015 Toyota Park

This year, the GSA partnered with Connor Sports and several Chicago-based organizations to provide gym and playground makeovers across the Chicago community and beyond. The Chicago Green Sports Green Apple Day of Service will kick off at the Major Adams Center on Saturday, June 27, where the group will be sprucing up the gymnasium walls and refurbishing the basketball court flooring. On Sunday, June 28, you can find the group at Robert Healy Elementary doing an overhaul of their playground.

We are especially excited about these events because we had the opportunity to design and create backpacks to give away to the kids who attend the Green Apple Day of Service. What a great way to kick off the summit!

2. The Keynote Speakers

This year’s summit features two can’t-miss speakers: Andrew Ference of the Edmonton Oilers and Beth Stevens from The Walt Disney Company. We can’t wait to hear how Ference is sharing his passion for sustainability with his fellow NHL-ers and learn more about the Carbon Neutral Challenge he established with the NHL Players Association. And Stevens? We’re chomping at the bit to hear how she’s helping The Walt Disney Company champion conservation efforts across the organization.

3. The Windy City

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Did we mention that this year’s GSA Summit is in one of the best cities in the country? Really, it doesn’t get much better than summertime in Chicago. We can’t wait to use our time between sessions at McCormick Place to stroll up Lakeshore Drive and through Millennium Park.

4. The Tours

(Courtesy of Wrong Side of the Pond)

There is no shortage of tours available during the GSA Summit next week. Attendees lucky enough to secure a spot will get to visit Soldier Field and U.S. Cellular Field to check out their operations and sustainable business practices.

If you’re attending next week and missed the memo about tours, fear not! There is still room for you on the tours of DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Allstate Arena, or Toyota Park.

5. The Giveaways

GSA Totes 2015

We may be biased, but we can’t wait to attend the conference and share our repurposed conference bags with all of the attendees this year. We created 800 conference bags for attendees from this year’s materials sponsors, including: Allstate Arena, Toyota Park, DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago and material from last years Summit.

Since 2013, the GSA has diverted over 20,000 square feet of material from landfills by creating conference bags made of repurposed vinyl, mesh, and fabric banners. Even more surprising is that collectively, members of the GSA have diverted nearly 50,000 square feet of material from landfills for the Summit and team projects. That is over an acre’s worth of material!

GSA Kids Backpacks

If you are attending the GSA summit next week, we would love to meet you! We will be camped out at booth 63 and hope you’ll stop by to say hello.

Image: Flickr/Green Sports Alliance

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