TrackTown USA, University of Oregon Honored for Sustainable Sports Events / by Scott Bush

EUGENE, Ore. – TrackTown USA and the University of Oregon reprised their pioneering roles as national and world leaders in producing sustainable multi-day sporting events this past summer.
Both the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships (June 10-13) and the 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships (June 25-28) were awarded Silver Level Certification by the Council for Responsible Sport.

This is the fourth consecutive year that TrackTown USA’s commitment to sustainability has been recognized by the Council’s certification program for social and environmental responsibility at sporting events.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this important achievement,” TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna said. “We lead the nation in responsible sporting events, and we will continue to pursue even greater sustainable measures at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland this March, and all future events at Hayward Field.”

The Council offers four levels of certification – Evergreen, Gold, Silver and Basic.

In order to achieve Evergreen status, an organization must earn 90 percent of the available credits for the event via five basic metrics: planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity and community legacy. Gold requires 75 percent, silver 60 percent and basic 45 percent.

Besides the most recent awards, the Eugene-based non-profit company has partnered with the University of Oregon to achieve gold status for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, silver for the 2013 University of Oregon outdoor track and field season, and basic for the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

"There is no stronger or more committed proponent of responsibly produced sports events than TrackTown USA,” Council for Responsible Sport executive director Keith Peters said. “With recent certifications of this summer’s NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships and the USATF Championships, the running total of Council-certified events at Hayward Field now stands at six since 2012.”

Peters noted that TrackTown USA has already begun work on Council certification of two major events in 2016: the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland (March 17-20) and the U.S. Olympic Trials (July 1-10). 

“In fact, they’ve already begun planning for certification of the 2021 IAAF World Championships!” Peters said. “We at the Council are pleased and proud to document the success of (TrackTown USA’s) many sustainability initiatives.”

Here are some highlights of the sustainability efforts at the NCAA and USATF meets last summer:

  • Both meets were contested in unseasonably hot temperatures which made water resource management a huge challenge. TTUSA responded with multiple water refill stations in athlete, media and spectator areas. They also kept several water coolers in the media work areas to reduce reliance on single-use plastic water bottles.
  • Partnered with several Lane County organizations to maximize the positive impact of the events on the local economy, including UO Catering Services, which purchased foods grown sustainably and locally whenever possible, and Travel Lane County – Eugene, Cascades & Coast, which promoted local restaurants that made a similar commitment to local food sources.
  • A free bike valet service at Hayward Field encouraged visitors to travel with a lighter carbon footprint and reduce parking congestion.
  • Leftover food from concessions and hospitality areas was donated to Food for Lane County.
  • More than 1,000 kids participated in a dozen statewide regional qualifying all-comer’s meets which culminated with the championship of the 2015 TrackTown Youth League presented by Providence Health & Services on June 27 at Hayward Field.
  • At the NCAA championships, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, more than 800 middle schoolers were treated to an interactive panel discussion with Olympic athletes prior to free admission to that day’s competition at Hayward Field.
  • TrackTown USA donated over 200 cases of Gatorade and 30 water coolers from the two events to local organizations such as Kidsports, the Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Valley, and several other youth sports clubs.

Besides building on those achievements, TrackTown USA is, once again, partnering with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to draw more attention and increase participation in the IAAF’s social responsibility program, “Athletics for a Better World,” which was launched in March of 2014.

“Athletics for a Better World seeks to use the power of athletics to make real and lasting change,” said former IAAF President Lamine Diack when announcing the initiative. “In order to achieve the greatest reach and impact, we are keen to work with proven experts in the field of sustainability. The IAAF looks forward to working with the Council for Responsible Sport not only in the USA but all over the world.”