Green Athletics Logo

Athletics is a valuable part of the Amherst community, however, there are many unsustainable practices engrained in the setup of collegigate sports and competition. We believe that athletics should be both enjoyable and sustainable. Amherst is attempting at reducing the ecological impact athletics has on the world. We are dedicated to "implementing programs and projects that last well beyond the final tally on a scoreboard" (NCAA.org). 

Athletic Commitee

Established in 2015, Amherst Athletics has student run athletic commitee working on making athletics at Amherst more sustainable. Representatives from many of the varsity and club teams on campus are working together to make athletics and exercising a more green atmosphere. 

If you want to help or more information, contact the student leaders, Emery Sorvino at esorvino19@amherst.edu and Haley McAtee at hmcatee@amherst.edu

Earth Day Field Day

On Earth Day, Saturday April 22nd, 2017, Green Athletics will be having a field day on Valentine Quad to celebrate the planet and raise environmental awareness. Games wills focus on a specific environmental theme. Students who visit all stations will win a Green Athletics prize.

Green Homecoming 2016

At each year's Homecoming tailgate, hundreds of students, parents, and alumni produce tons of waste. There is food that does not get eaten or composted, bottles and cans that do not get recycled, and plastic cups scattered across the ground.

Working with the Parents and Alumni Programs and the Facilities department, Green Athletics worked to address this problem and reduce waste at the homecoming tailgate. We provided more opportunities for composting and recycling and provided students and alumni with reusable cups. We hope to build upon our first sustainable homecoming in upcoming years. 

Giving Life to Old Shoes!

Green Athletics has partnered with Rerun Shoes to donate and reuse old shoes. Started in 2009, Rerun Shoes was created to help people in the United States and in other parts of the world in many different ways. Used shoes are donated and then collected to be sent to children and families in the neediest nations. The shoes that are donated to Rerun also provide opportunities to micro-businesses throughout the African continent. We have collected a lot of shoes since we set up the collection bins in Fall 2015.

If you want to donate your shoes, the donation bins are located in the lobby of the entrance to the gym!

Link to more information about Rerun

Recycling Tennis Balls

Every wonder what happens when you throw out an old tennis ball? Tennis balls have materials in them that prevent them from being conventionally recycled. Over 300 million tennis balls are produced per year, which creates about 18,750 tons of non-biodegradable landfill waste.  

Amherst Athletics and the Office of Environmental Sustainability have paired up with two organizations, “Project Green Ball” and “reBounces.” These organizations are devoted to finding ways to recycle tennis balls in a sustainable manner. An Example of a current project “Project Green Ball” is working on is using tennis balls to create tennis ball based equestrian turfs and other sports surfaces.

Please help Amherst and the Earth by recycling your tennis balls. If you're done using your tennis balls, please place them in the "AD-IN" bins to be reused and repurposed. Happy Recycling and Go Amherst!

Green Athletics

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2016 Eco Games: Green is the New Purp

In Spring 2016, Green Athletics launced the first round of "Eco Games." Eco Games were held at Amherst club, intramural and varisty team home games. Not only are they are held to help cheer on our Amherst teams during their games, but are also an opportunity for people to support and learn more about sustainaiblity in athletics at Amherst. They are also a cool opportunities to support the local environment and get a chance to get some Amherst Green Athletics swag! #GreenistheNewPurp

2016 Eco Games

The Effect of a Single Tennis Ball

Written by Suhasini Ghosh '16

Imagine this: you are playing a game of tennis, and your ball becomes a bit flat. Well that is why they come in packs of 3, right? Just toss that one and get another.

I am a senior at Amherst, and have been a member of the Amherst Varsity Women’s Tennis Team since my freshmen year. Last semester, I was enrolled in an environmental sociology class, and for our final project, we were asked to pick a topic of our choice that has a direct impact on us. As I thought of possible topics to research on, I analyzed the activities in my life and thought about some of the environmentally damaging practices I take part in. I pictured the amount of tennis balls I had hit in the past two weeks, and it suddenly struck me: where exactly do all those balls go? Immediately, I pulled up Google and started researching. I also decided to interview the tennis coaches and the athletic director at Amherst to pull together all the facts.

Here’s what I found: Amherst Women’s Tennis uses about 1,296 tennis balls per year. That’s just at Amherst. There are about 1,000 varsity tennis teams in the country. This means over 1 million balls are used per year. However, that is just including the women’s teams. Add in the men’s teams, and that’s over 2 million balls per year. But, we’re not done just yet. There are also about 1,000 college club teams, 1,000’s of training clubs, and the pro circuit. This is not even on an international scale. So what’s the total? In the world, over 300 million tennis balls are produced per year. In other words, that’s about 18, 750 tons of non-biodegradable landfill waste produced per year. How’s that for unsustainable?

I went around campus asking, what are ways you think we can recycle tennis balls? Most of the answers included, donate them to schools to put on the bottom of chairs or give them to the animal shelters for the animals to play with. These are great initiatives, but only an extremely small fraction of the tennis balls used go to these causes. To add, what happens when these schools or shelters are done using the balls? They simply get thrown out, and thus, the tennis balls have not been truly recycled.      

So, what can be done? Can we really recycle tennis balls? In my research, I found two programs that exist that address this issue. The first one is called Rebounce. This program takes old tennis balls and re-pressurizes them once they have lost air in them. Although this is a positive practice, it does not solve the issue of actually recycling the balls. The second program I found is called Project Green Ball. This program actually takes the balls, and puts them in equestrian turfs, which are used for kids with mental disabilities. To add, they are working on ways to use tennis balls for insulation or roofing. This program actually finds a solution to use the tennis balls in a sustainable manner.

I presented my findings to the Office of Environmental Sustainability, the Amherst tennis coaches, and the Amherst Athletic director. They all agreed that investing in these programs is something Amherst should do. We are now happy to announce that at the tennis courts and the cage, there are labeled “Ad-In” bins where people can drop of their used tennis balls to be reused and repurposed. Amherst will collect the balls and send them to either Rebounces or Project Green Ball. Many other universities, including Tufts University, have already invested and are active members of these programs. Amherst has now also joined the movement and is becoming a model for other schools. Athletics is a major culprit of unsustainability. However, many at times, it is not addressed. Nonetheless, Amherst has now taken the vital initiative to start the movement of including sports in the green movement.