Top 5 Takeaways: Green Sports Alliance Summit 2017

relan booth at green sports alliance summit 2017

Another year has passed and I can't believe we are home already from the Green Sports Alliance Summit (GSA). Every year I tell myself that it can't possibly get any better, but the following year the GSA seems to find a way!

Della and I attended many educational workshops and activities but we wanted to share our highlights and our biggest takeaways.


Green Sports Alliance Summit 2017

The Green Sports Alliance (GSA) leverages the cultural and market influence of sports and their fans to promote healthy, sustainable communities where people live and play. Made up of 386 members, 181 teams, 190 venues, and 15 leagues, the GSA provides a platform about better practices and solutions to environmental challenges.

The Green Sports Alliance Summit 2017 was held June 26-29 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA. "PLAY GREENER™ : Engaging Fans, Athletes & Communities" was the theme for this year’s summit which encouraged GSA members and partners to generate positive environmental and social impact throughout their fan-base and surrounding communities.

Green Apple Day of Service

Sticking with the theme of the summit, we kicked off the conference at the Green Apple Day of Service which helps make green schools a reality for children everywhere.

We rebuilt planter boxes, added compost, planted plants, and landscaped the grounds at H.W. Harkness Elementary in Sacramento, CA.

Pac-12 Sustainability Conference

Prior to the start of the GSA Summit, we attended the first ever Pac 12 Sustainability Conference. Pac-12 is the first collegiate sports conference to convene a high level symposium focused entirely on integrating sustainability into college athletics and across college campuses.

Speaking was Bill Walton (@BillWalton), Former UCLA student-athlete, NBA player, and ESPN and Pac-12 Networks on-air talent spoke alongside Jamie Zaninovich (@JamieZ_Pac12), Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer for Pac-12.

Presentation topics included how to enhance sustainability efforts within collegiate athletics departments, designing new collective initiatives, and they shared best practices to make for environmental progress.

kari dells bill walton green sports alliance
Bill walton green sports alliance

Sacramento State Tour

Della and I were fortunate enough to get a tour and a behind the scenes look at the Student Health and Wellness Athletic Facility at Sacramento State.

I can tell you firsthand that their facility is state-of-the art! Highlights included sunflower seed wall panels, foiltech sky lighting, and unique terrazzo flooring with sustainably harvested building materials.

The tour also included their huge, on-site composting facility where the college creates their own nutrient-rich compost from campus food and green waste which reduces costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

rock wall sacramento state
sacramento state

Event Tote Bags

Relan has worked with the GSA for the past five years as their event “bag sponsor” in conjunction with other GSA members by upcycling their material. This year we worked with the Indiana Pacers and the Indiana Fever to create a new tote bag, called the Zoo Tote Bag, that each attendee received upon arrival.

It’s such a pleasure to feature a fellow GSA member and to promote their team’s sustainability mission. Everyone loves receiving their unique Relan bag each year and they can be seen on the arms of attendees throughout the duration of conference since they are so handy and durable.

green sports alliance bags.jpg
green sports alliance tote bags by relan

Top 5 Takeaways from the GSA Summit

1. Even with our current political environment, sustainability and stewardship are growing. The sports industry is increasingly doing more to incorporate green messaging into their fan and employee engagement.

2. With an open mindset and vision to continually do better, the teams and venues are doing everything from onsite gardens to feed players and employees, upcycling of banners, hockey sticks, hockey glass, basketballs, and more.

3. It is inspiring to see athletes involved with organizations like Protect Our Winters and other foundations involving the protection and preservation of the environment.

4. Bill Walton had insightful thoughts about the climate comparing it to our bodies such that if we don’t take care of it, it will break down.

5. Often, sports teams want to contribute more than they are doing but are limited by city and county regulations, yet many find ways to work around these barriers.

Relan Wrap-Up

The sports industry as a whole can make a huge impact on the environment but it takes all team players to participate. Your company can join in to make a difference and add to the positive momentum that's already started! What's the next step?

It's simple.

Send us an email if you would like more information on what it takes to become more sustainable or if you have materials that you don't know what to do with.

A huge thank you to the Indiana Pacers and Pacer Sports and Entertainment for providing the materials needed to create the upcycled attendee bags! 

Get more ideas for your organization about the why you should use upcycled marketing products by subscribing to the Relan Blog!

Kari Brizius is President of Relan and is a West Point Graduate, certified personal trainer, a US Army Veteran, and a wholehearted entrepreneur. Kari’s passion for the environment, the planet, and healthy living fuels her entrepreneurial spirit. Her mission is to provide thought leadership on sustainability initiatives surrounding healthy living, the environment, and sustainability messaging.