The Associated Press released its annual preseason Top 25 NCAA Football rankings on August 17, announcing the top 25 football schools to look out for this 2014 football season. These universities may perform well on the football field, but how well do they "go green"?

The SaveOnEnergy.com® team reviewed these 25 universities and their sustainability efforts and compared them to each other to rank them on greenness. Although these schools may not be the greenest in the nation or reduce all of the waste from their schools' popular sporting event, let's see which top football schools also top the sustainability charts.

In order to properly rank these universities on greenness, we used the following criteria:
• Stadium sustainability efforts
• Number of active green organizations
• Waste diversion rate
• Percentage of budget spent on locally grown or organic foods
• Level of Environmental Studies degrees offered

uwcampusCourtesy of: fyp.washington.edu

#1 University of Washington

Husky Stadium (AP rank #25): From the bottom of the AP Top 25 list, to the top of ours, Husky Stadium hosts green games. The university created its first Green Team which rolled out new waste diversion incentives including a green logo, an in-game recycling promotion, public area composting and participation in a national waste diversion challenge. Composting was expanded to public areas with the placement of 64-gallon compost carts next to garbage and recycling bins. When Husky Stadium began renovations in 2011, the stadium made sure to remain as green as it is purple and gold. Its $250 million renovation is expected to receive a LEED medal for its preservation, recycling and environmentalism throughout the project.

  • Active green organizations: 45
  • Waste diversion rate: 58%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 59%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • University of Washington has 28 LEED-certified buildings, with 13 more in the works.
    • The university supports a variety of transportation services including Zlimride, carpooling, UCAR rentals, transit passes and even has electric vehicle charging stations.

stanfordCourtesy of: forbes.com

#2 Stanford

Stanford Stadium (#11): Stanford's Stadium Recycling Program kicked off in 2004. In partnership with the Department of Athletics, Stanford implemented a collection program for bottles, cans and cardboard. Bins and dumpsters are located around the stadium and athletic staff, ushers, public safety personnel, custodians and concessionaires are trained to ensure recyclable materials are properly recycled. The recycling program is promoted through container labels, ads in the football program, radio announcements, videos on the scoreboard, on-field promotion and a booth at FanFest, a party near the stadium before each game. During the first season of the program, 3,059 pounds of primarily plastic water bottles were recycled.

  • Active green organizations: 12
  • Waste diversion rate: 65%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 44%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • Stanford's 360,000-square foot Knight Management Center earned a LEED Platinum rating.
    • The university has a campus shuttle and provides bike commuters with secure storage and lockers.

osu

Courtesy of: medicine.osu.edu

#3 Ohio State

Ohio Stadium (#5): In 2011, Ohio State launched a zero-waste stadium. Diverting 90 percent or more of the waste stream, Ohio Stadium has become the largest stadium in the country to achieve zero-waste. The university chooses food vendor products that are compostable or recyclable to help minimize waste. During the game, volunteers help guests recycle and afterward they collect and sort through the waste to make sure products are sorted properly. During the 2013 football season, Buckeye fans diverted 90.5 percent of waste.

  • Active green organizations: 84
  • Waste diversion rate: 42.8%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 26.9%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • Constructed LEED-certified buildings, including the Ohio Union facility.
    • Encourages using alternative transportation such as the COTA and vanpooling.

texas

Courtesy of: mizzoumagarchives.missouri.edu

#4 Texas A&M

Kyle Field (#21): Texas A&M University is working toward zero percent waste. At Kyle Field there are 200 receptacles inside and at all entrances and Brazos Valley Recycling, the company supplying the bins for Kyle Field, plans to start expanding one tailgating area at a time. Recycling Services can also help tailgaters set up recycling bins at their tailgate location on game day. On top of recycling, compostable materials are used and sold in the stadium. Last season during its first eight home games Texas A&M recycled more than 45 tons.

  • Active green organizations: 18
  • Waste diversion rate: 66%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 24%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Competes in RecycleMania.
    • The Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building earned LEED Gold certification after its completion.
    • Texas A&M promotes alternative transportation through its "borrow a bike" program that provides free bicycles to students.

UCLA

Courtesy of: admissions.ucla.edu

#5 UCLA

Westwood Campus (#7): UCLA was one of the first campuses to join the National Green Sports Alliance. Although the university does not have an on-campus football stadium, their practice field is half artificial turf which helps the university conserve water. UCLA has met with the Rose Bowl (where the team plays) to share best practices in sustainability.

  • Active green organizations: 38
  • Waste diversion rate: 69%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 14%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • All of UCLA's new construction is LEED-certified.
    • The university promotes using the BruInGo! Transit program which allows UCLA students and employees to travel on buses at subsidized rates.

UNCCourtesy of: admissions.unc.edu

#6 North Carolina

Kenan Stadium (#23): Kenan Stadium, a popular venue with high attendance rates and high visibility, is a large focus of the Rameses Recycles Program, a tailgater recycling program encompassing all athletic arenas. This program includes:  volunteers distributing trash and recycling bags to tailgaters; recycling bins paired with trash cans throughout the concourse area and gates; fan education/awareness activities and promotions; separation of trash and recyclables during clean-up; and back-of-the-house food waste recovery for composting in kitchens and select concessionaires. Kenan Stadium also irrigates the field and flushes toilets with captured rainwater.

  • Active green organizations: 30
  • Waste diversion rate: 46%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 22.4%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Competes in RecycleMania.
    • UNC has a LEED Platinum education center and 54% of new construction is LEED-certified.
    • The university provides more than 7 million free bus rides annually and provides other alternative transportation options including bike share.

clemson

Courtesy of: media.clemson.edu

#7 Clemson

Memorial Stadium (#16): The Clemson Tigers try to create a sustainable environment by recycling. Volunteers help pass out recycling bags to fans before the games and collect trash and recyclable materials afterward. During the 2013 football season, Clemson recycled 123,604 pounds of recyclable materials. Clemson is also looking into other ways to incorporate sustainability into tailgating since tailgating and football are quite popular at the university. Starting in 2011, the President's Commission on Sustainability and Clemson Recycling team began to make the annual tradition of homecoming more earth-friendly. Fans attending the 2011 homecoming football game visited the green tailgating trailer that was pulled by a bicycle instead of a car.

  • Active green organizations: 11
  • Waste diversion rate: 42.5%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 35%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Competes in RecycleMania.
    • Clemson has 13 LEED-certified buildings and 100 percent of all new buildings must achieve Silver LEED certification or higher.
    • Offers campus shuttles and is looking to provide more incentives to encourage the use of alternative transportation including more bike racks and a bike rental or bike share program.

Back CameraCourtesy of: fsu.edu

#8 Florida State University

Doak Campbell Stadium (#1): The Garnet & Gold Goes Green Recycling Program aims to reduce the large amounts of beverage containers in the Doak Campbell stadium. GGGG volunteers have helped contribute to the 40.14 tons of recycling collected during the 2013 FSU football season and helped reduce the school's landfill contribution by 18.51 percent. In the past nine seasons, GGGG has collected more than 145 tons of recyclable material.

  • Active green organizations: 4
  • Waste diversion rate: 40%
  • Percentage of budget spent on locally grown or organic foods: 45%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • Has LEED-certified almost 1 million square feet of buildings.
    •  Offers alternative transportation including the Seminole Express Bus System and Zipcars.

UNL

Courtesy of: colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com

#9 Nebraska

Memorial Stadium (#22): UNL Athletics and UNL Waste Management Services provide recycling inside and outside the Memorial Stadium on Cornhuskers home football games. Such efforts resulted in more than 70 percent recycling last year with 50 tons of recyclables diverted from the landfill. The "Go Green for Big Red" recycling program is in its sixth year of promoting and educating tailgaters about sustainable practices. UNL is also the only university in the Big Ten conference to achieve the Cleaning Industry Management Green Building with Honors certification for its commitment to sustainability and green cleaning from the ISSA.

  • Active green organizations: 6
  • Waste diversion rate: 53%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 12.85%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Competes in RecycleMania.
    • UNL's new 125,000-square-foot facility earned a LEED Silver certification.
    • The university also promotes biking around campus and was recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a "bike friendly campus."

UWmadison

Courtesy of: photos.uc.wisc.edu

#10 Wisconsin

Camp Randall (#14): Badger fans don't just cheer on their team, they get involved. Camp Randall, Wisconsin's football stadium, is now a zero-waste stadium with a robust program being implemented this year including recycling of all food and beverage containers. This year the stadium is also moving to a compost waste stream. Wear Red. Think Green. Badgers Recycle, is a program where volunteers educate fans about the importance of recycling, prevent contamination of recycling bins, remove recyclables from trash cans and divert plastic bottles from entering the trash.

  • Active green organizations: 26
  • Waste diversion rate: 14%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 40%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Competes in the RecycleMania tournament.
    • UW-Madison is pursuing a minimum of LEED Silver certification on most of its new and renovated facilities.
    • UW-Madison offers bike sharing, bus services and carpool and vanpool programs.

oregonCourtesy of: dailyemerald.com

#11 (tie) Oregon

Autzen Stadium (#3): Oregon is a campus of zero-waste so it comes as no surprise that Autzen Stadium, where the University of Oregon Ducks host home football games, recycles and composts materials. Some of UO's recycling initiatives at the stadium include donating unsold concession food to the local food bank and hosting a food drive at the annual spring football came where spectators are admitted in exchange for three cans of food. Not to mention, all cooking oil used in the concessions stands is recycled and used to make SeQuential Pacific biodiesel, providing low-carbon diesel fuel for the community. Autzen Stadium's waste diversion rate is up to 45 percent!

  • Active green organizations: 16
  • Waste diversion rate: 50%
  • Percentage of budget spent on locally grown or organic foods: 6%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • The Oregon Model for Sustainable Development requires all new construction to be LEED Gold certified.
    • Promotes alternative transportation including a bike loan program.

notre dameCourtesy of: tour.nd.edu

#11 (tie) Notre Dame

Notre Dame Stadium (#17): At each home game, dozens of Fighting Irish students distribute blue recycling bags to fans and answer questions regarding recycling. The Game Day Recycling Program at Notre Dame includes recycling containers throughout the tailgate lots and stadium and includes self-dispensing recycling bag units attached to the lamp posts in the tailgate lots.

  • Active green organizations: 4
  • Waste diversion rate: 42%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 40%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Competes in RecycleMania.
    • The University of Notre Dame has LEED gold certified buildings.
    • Provides campus shuttles and makes a variety of vehicles available for rent to students, faculty and staff for carrying out university business.

university of south carolina

Courtesy of: www.sc.edu/visit/campus_photo_gallery

#13 (tie) South Carolina

Williams-Brice Stadium (#9): South Carolina game days don't mean students can slack off in their sustainability efforts. The university deploys recycling bins throughout the stadium and has an additional 600 bins throughout the tailgating area to promote proper recycling. Students help with these efforts, both pre- and post-games, by handing out recycling bags when tailgaters arrive and collecting any recyclable materials left behind. The university also has a president's reception at all home games, which features healthy, locally grown and vegetarian foods. The Gamecocks divert 21 percent of waste at home football games.

  • Active green organizations: 14
  • Waste diversion rate: 14.4%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 25%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • The University of South Carolina is committed to constructing LEED Silver or better buildings on campus
    •  Bicycle friendly campus with a recycled bicycle program keeping old, unused bicycles out of landfills.

UGACourtesy of: uga.edu

#13 (tie) Georgia

Sanford Stadium (#12): Tailgating may be a favorite pastime in the fall for the 100,000 fans supporting UGA, but that can generate lots of waste. Before a home game, 1,200 receptacles are placed on campus to help reduce the amount of trash sent to the landfill. Parking lot attendants and volunteers carry trash and recycling bags for Bulldog fans to use on game days and recycling bins are located en route to the stadium for fans to deposit cans, glass and plastic bottles.

  • Active green organizations: 31
  • Waste diversion rate: 38%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 20%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • All of UGA's new construction is LEED-certified.
    • The university has a carpool/vanpool matching program.

Sunrise over the Hannah Plaza.Courtesy of: msutoday.msu.edu

#15 Michigan State

Spartan Stadium (#8): For Michigan State fans, being green on game day doesn't just mean cheering on the Spartans. More than 75 recycling containers are located in the stadium concourse, which accept plastics, boxboard, paper and cardboard. Recycling containers are also located in the tailgate areas to encourage tailgaters to recycle their bottles and cans. The Be Spartan Green Team is a program where volunteers monitor waste stations and help divert recyclable items from going to the landfill as well as inform fans about recycling options. Out of all the Big Ten universities, MSU uses the least electricity per square foot!

  • Active green organizations: 13
  • Waste diversion rate: 43%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 12%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • MSU competes in RecycleMania.
    • MSU new construction will be 100 percent LEED-certified.
    • The campus has bike share programs, offers bike rentals CATA buses and Zipcars as available transportation alternatives.

asuCourtesy of: statepress.com

#16 Arizona State

Sun Devil Stadium (#19): ASU is aiming for zero-waste by 2015! The ASU roadmap to zero solid waste includes a plan for Sun Devil Stadium since the stadium is one heavily trafficked location. Green bins at Sun Devil Athletic Facilities will be targeting all organic and compostable materials. Food scraps from meal preparation will be collected and then emptied into centralized bin locations and stadium volunteers will manage bins where fans bring scraps from meals. The bins will then be emptied and hauled to a composting location. Sun Devil Athletics is using green initiatives during high-profile events as a platform to introduce sustainability practices, such as zero-waste, to the fans who attend football games each season.

  • Active green organizations: 24
  • Waste diversion rate: 20%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 20%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Competes in RecycleMania.
    • Thirty-five buildings on ASU's four campuses are LEED silver, gold and platinum-certified.
    • ASU offers campus shuttle services, bike share programs and reduce transit passes.

missouri

Courtesy of: colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com

#17 Missouri

Memorial Stadium (#24): Tiger Tailgate Recycling has recycled more than 100 tons of recyclables at home football games over the last seven years and has a future goal of achieving zero-waste. At MU games, volunteers and attendants hand out recycling bags to tailgaters and helping educate fans how to properly recycle and compost materials to help keep waste out of the landfill. Plus, many items sold from vendors can be recycled or composted. This year MU is piloting and doing a research project on composting in the stadium.

  • Active green organizations: 11
  • Waste diversion rate: 31%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 14%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • MU competes in RecycleMania.
    • The University of Missouri has two LEED-certified buildings and all future projects will be LEED certified.
    • MU offer's sustainable transportation options on campus including WeCar sharing and a student shuttle service.

oklahomaCourtesy of: forbes.com

#18 University of Oklahoma

Gaylor Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (#4): The University of Oklahoma has an active student environmental group, OUr Earth, which founded the Game Day Recycling Program. OUr Earth members and other volunteers hand out recycling bags prior to home OU football games to tailgaters to help the university increase its recycling efforts.

  • Active green organizations: 6
  • Waste diversion rate: 21.8%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 30%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • OU has LEED-certified buildings.
    •  Developed a bicycle plan and new bike lanes and bus transportation for students.

southern cali

Courtesy of: laweekly.com

#19 USC

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (#15): During football season, the University of Southern California's Office of Sustainability spearheads the Tailgate Waste Diversion Program, which promotes sustainable tailgating before kickoff and zero-waste practices at the stadium. The Tailgate Waste Diversion program works to educate tailgaters about recycling and composting before football games. The Office of Sustainability is also working to certify all tailgates to ensure they are diverting all waste!

  • Active green organizations: 8
  • Waste diversion rate: 52%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 6%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • USC is committed to using LEED standards for all new buildings.
    • Provides alternate transportation services including buses available to students.

lsu

Courtesy of: colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com

#20 Louisiana

Tiger Stadium (#13): In 2012, LSU was awarded a Keep Louisiana Beautiful grant to increase recycling on LSU game days. The grant paid for 1,000 recycling bins, which were placed around Tiger Stadium and in high traffic areas. In addition, the Geaux Team, a campus customer service student group, volunteers to hand out recycling bags to tailgaters all season and talk to fans about the merits and importance of recycling.

  • Active green organizations: 7
  • Waste diversion rate: 43%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 10%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • LSU has LEED buildings under design
    • Offers students, faculty, staff and visitors a free bus service both on and off campus and electric vehicle charging stations. In addition, designated bike paths and facilities are being designed and constructed to link the bicycle facilities with city-wide trails to encourage access to and from the campus via bicycle.

baylorCourtesy of: www.baylor.edu

#21 Baylor

McLane Stadium (#10): Baylor's new football stadium, McLane Stadium, was designed to be a greener facility with eco-friendly additions. Although the new stadium isn't LEED certified, it has many green features including special toilet floats, high-efficiency lights and low-flow water fixtures. Over the course of the 2013 football season, Baylor football fans recycled approximately 50 percent of materials, equal to about 15 tons.

  • Active green organizations: 3
  • Waste diversion rate: 18%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 8%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • Baylor was the first university in Texas to earn LEED certification for existing buildings.
    • Encourages students to use the campus shuttle as an alternate transportation method.

auburnCourtesy of: auburn.edu

#22 Auburn

Jordan-Hare Stadium (#6): Auburn makes an effort to encourage recycling in tailgating areas as well as in the stadium during games. Volunteers in bright green shirts pass out trash and recycling bags for tailgaters and Coca-Cola recycling barrels are inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. In 2013, Auburn recycled more than 40 tons of materials!

  • Active green organizations: 12
  • Waste diversion rate: 31%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 1%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • Auburn built the first LEED Gold building in Alabama and currently has five LEED Gold buildings.
    •  Offers alternative transportation options including the Tiger Transit which provides more than 16,000 rides per day keeping more than 5,000 additional cars off campus.

k-stateCourtesy of: ksuphoto.zenfolio.com

#23 Kansas State

Bill Snyder Family Stadium (#20): Recycling at K-State football games kicked off in 2008. Student groups including Students for Environmental Action and various Greek organizations volunteer hundreds of hours to distribute and collect recycling bags during tailgating and collect glass and plastic bottles in Bill Snyder Family Stadium after the game. On Sundays following a game, volunteers sort cans and bottles at the Recycling Center.

  • Active green organizations: 2
  • Waste diversion rate: 26.76%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 5.6%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Competes in RecycleMania.
    • K-State has at least four buildings LEED-certified and has new construction with specific sustainability plans underway.
    • Kansas State offers a free shuttle service and also a shopping shuttle to help you run errands.

ole miss

Courtesy of: olemiss.photoshelter.com

#24 Ole Miss

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (#18): The Green Grove Initiative encourages tailgaters to recycle in the Grove. In 2013, University of Mississippi partnered with TerraCycle to reduce waste by recycling Solo cups in the Grove and during that season; almost 5 tons of recycling was collected at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The game day recycling program will continue to expand as the Office of Sustainability plans to work more closely with its concessionaires and vendors to reduce waste.

  • Active green organizations: 2
  • Waste diversion rate: 7.9%
  • Amount spent on locally grown or organic foods: 9%
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • The Ole Miss Law School is LEED Gold certified.
    • The university offers Zipcars, bike rentals, Zimride and campus bus services.

alabama

Courtesy of: ua.edu/visitors

#25 University of Alabama

Bryant-Denny Stadium (#2): Although Alabama may rank at the top of the AP preseason rankings, they need to ramp up their sustainability efforts. According to The Crimson White, UA Recycling promotes sustainability on home game days by passing out bags to tailgaters on the Quad as well as containers inside the stadium. The stadium has 40 recycling containers throughout the stadium. Every three bags of recycling fans collect can be exchanged for prizes.

  • Active green organizations: 4
  • Waste diversion rate: 4.7% *
  • Percentage of budget spent on locally grown or organic foods: not available
  • Offers various degrees related to environmental studies.
  • Campus green initiatives:
    • Participates in RecycleMania.
    • Offers alternative transportation services including a campus shuttle, Zlimride and Zipcar to encourage ridesharing for all UA students and staff.
* Percentage derived by multiplying student population by EPA's average per person per day waste generated by the school year, based on the university's reported pounds of waste diverted.

How We Ranked the Schools

rankings

Table explained:

Stadium Sustainability Efforts, Campus Green Initiatives and Environmental Studies are worth 3 points each for a total of 9 points. Active Green Organizations, Waste Diversion Rate, Amount Spent on Locally Grown and Organic Food were each ranked on a bell curve and given a total of 20 points. Of those 20 points, Active Green Organizations accounts for 4 points, Waste Diversion Rate accounts for 8 points and Amount Spent on Locally Grown and Organic Food accounts for 8 points.

In order to properly rank these universities, we contacted each school for the criteria. If schools were unable to provide the appropriate information, we used the universities' sustainability websites, Princeton Review's Guide to 332 Green Colleges 2014 Edition and the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) to gather the necessary information.

 

 

 

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