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AU athletics department shines light on core values of sustainability at the ninth annual Sustainability Awareness Basketball Game

Club tabling, trivia games and exciting prizes take to the court as the Office of Sustainability promotes campus sustainable resources.

American University’s Office of Sustainability hosted its ninth annual basketball game on Feb. 1, promoting environmental advocacy as the men’s basketball team took on Bucknell. AU’s game sponsors were Airlie Berkshire Farm and Airlie Hotel

The game against Bucknell drew in a large crowd, and having an environmental motif made the crowd engage in conversations about sustainability.  

“As a continuing source of university pride and school spirit, the Sustainability Awareness Basketball game provides for an entertaining and educational experience for our students and fans to learn about the continual and new advances in sustainability and energy efficiencies across our campus," Robert Sherman, assistant athletics director for marketing and corporate partnerships, said in a Jan. 27 announcement from the University

Student organizations and University programs filled the corners of Bender Arena to pledge their commitment to sustainability. Some of the student organizations involved were the AU Beekeeping Society, Wonk Trade, Sunrise Movement AU, the AU Community Garden and the Washington College of Law Community Garden. 

Not only did these clubs take initiative to teach the community about what they do, but most also gave out free items and had games for attendees to interact with. The AU Beekeeping Society sold pots of honey harvested on campus and the Office of Sustainability organized a waste sorting game to educate about proper methods of recycling and composting. 

While some organizations shared goodies with the community, others focused on promoting club specific initiatives to improve sustainability on campus. 

Sunrise Movement AU has been working towards getting the University to adopt an AU-specific version of a Green New Deal, which would require mandatory climate curriculum for all students and more sustainable food options campus-wide. Their table included a petition for students to sign in support of AU implementing these proposed policies. 

AU Kitchen representatives offered sustainable snacks, such as caramel corn, to go along with their signage which showed students how to check if food in the Terrace Dining Room is climate friendly. 

Beyond tabling, the basketball game itself incorporated environmental education with varying activities and engagement for the students and community attending. 

Spectators were invited to shoutout and compete against each other in a pop quiz displayed on the scoreboard during timeouts. Multiple choice questions like ‘How much of our waste does AU divert from landfill (by recycling, composting, recovering, etc.)?’ allowed students to find out more about what AU has to offer in terms of sustainability.

In addition to interactive questions, the scoreboard broadcasted other facts about the campus’ environmental savviness, including information about Airlie Berkshire Farm, a gift to AU in 2016. According to their website, the farm’s goal is to “support local food initiatives” by donating their crops to food banks in the DMV area.

Students were also invited onto the court in an interactive waste sorting activity. Using the same waste containers provided all around campus, two students attempted to sort waste into either compostable, trash, or mixed recycling containers. The students then had to complete a layup to receive an Under Armor drawstring. 

As the game came to a close, administrators conducted a raffle giving away a bicycle to promote environmentally friendly commuting. Community members had the opportunity to scan a QR code at the various club tables as an incentive where they could enter the raffle. 

Student organization recognition working in tandem with games hosted by the Office of Sustainability, the sustainability basketball game presented a unique opportunity for students, parents and the entire AU community to appreciate the efforts of AU in their efforts to promote a green lifestyle, all while enjoying an exciting night of basketball, bees and better known eco-friendly initiatives. 

This article was edited by Patricia McGee, Kylie Bill and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Natasha LaChac.

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