Sustainability Wins off the Court While Tigers Win on It

students with recycling bins
Posted on March 13, 2019

Article originally published on Campus Dining's website

by Sarah Bavuso, Campus Dining, and Jack Sullivan '22

On February 22, the Princeton’s men’s and women’s basketball teams hosted Cornell in a thrilling double-header at Jadwin Gymnasium. The Tigers triumphed in both games, with the women’s team extending their impressive win streak to four games and the men’s team securing an important Ivy League win.

The games also set the stage for the second annual Tiger Sustainability Night. The result of a partnership among Campus Dining, the Office of Sustainability, Athletics, and student EcoReps, Tiger Sustainability Night promotes sustainable practices by focusing on waste reduction initiatives at sporting events.

student with recycling bins Chris Lugo '22 monitors bins courtside

During most sporting events, food waste in Jadwin goes straight to landfills and recycling can become contaminated. However, on Tiger Sustainability Night, student EcoReps staffed waste stations to ensure that all waste items were disposed of properly. The EcoReps helped teach fans about what waste items could be recycled or composted and which ones could only go to landfills.

Compostable materials—which includes food, plates, napkins, and even pizza boxes—were collected and transported to the newly installed composter, where they were turned into compost that will enrich Princeton’s landscaping across campus.

“Composting food waste at this event was a huge step forward,” says Taylor Bacon ’19. “A lot of people were eager to ask about what we were doing and willing to take the extra time to sort out their waste properly. Hopefully increased campus recycling and composting initiatives will bring us closer to the possibility of a zero-waste game in the future!”

student hands out reusable mug giveaway Erin Mooz '19 hands out the reusable mug giveaway

In addition to the recycling and composting initiatives, Tiger Sustainability Night also unveiled the re-launch of Campus Dining’s #LoveAMug program, the first 125 fans receiving reusables mugs. The program, launched as a pilot in the fall, offers anyone who brings a reusable mug to campus cafes a coffee for $2. Participants are also encouraged to snap a photo with their favorite mug and share on social media what their mug means to them.

“Through the program, we’re encouraging people to stray away from use of disposable single-use materials in favor of reusable ones, while helping to build a sense of community and appreciation for sustainability,” says Sarah Bavuso, sustainability manager in Campus Dining.

cheerleaders with green bows Cheerleaders wore green bows and performed special green cheers

Beyond the giveaways and recycling stations, Tiger Sustainability Night fostered an appreciation for and awareness of sustainability during the games, with special details. Promo videos before the games featured players from the teams promoting reusable mugs. Cheerleaders had green bows and special green chants during the game. The announcer recited sustainability facts during pauses in play and encouraged fans to take advantage of the EcoReps’ waste stations. At halftime, elementary students competed to sort concession items into trash and recycling.

“It was a fun night,” says Bavuso. “And we heard it from the fans, who were happy to participate in helping make our sporting events more sustainable.”