By Ryan Finn
Baylor ranks 21st of the 25 AP preseason college football teams in terms of eco-friendliness, according to a ranking published by SaveOnEnergy, a company that connects consumers to energy-efficient plans.
The criteria for the list includes stadium sustainability efforts, the number of active green organizations, waste diversion rates, the percentage of budget spent on locally grown or organic foods and the amount of environmental studies degrees offered.
Baylor is one of only two Texas schools to appear on the list, which was released earlier this semester. The other school was Texas A&M University, which ranked fourth.
“Baylor’s new football stadium, McLane Stadium, was designed to be a greener facility with eco-friendly additions,” according to the analysis of the McLane Stadium by SaveOnEnergy.com. “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.”
Smith Getterman, assistant director of sustainability and special projects, said being named to the list is a significant accomplishment and a step in the right direction.
“It’s a huge honor for us to receive recognition like this,” Getterman said. “The fact that we’re a small Baptist school in Texas, and we’re keeping up with these large schools all across the country, that’s something I’m very proud of.”
Getterman said that appealing to students or families of students that might come to campus or a football game is one of the top priorities of the sustainability department.
“We really focus on the user experience, which is something I spend a lot of time working on and thinking about,” he said. “The user experience is vital, so we want to make everything as user-friendly as possible.”
Getterman said that chalking on sidewalks has been a success, as it is something that students are familiar with.
“My office will go out and chalk on sidewalks,” he said. “Whether it be reminders to recycle or quotes that will inspire someone to live a little bit more creation-friendly.”
Sean Doerre, assistant director of athletic communications for Baylor, said when he was in school four years ago, Baylor had just started to get involved with the sustainability effort.
“I think Baylor looked at this a couple years back and thought, ‘Hey, we can get out in front of this, or we can look back in five years and think we should have done something about it,’” he said.
Getterman said he believes that by using social media to advertise some of their efforts, he’s able to reach out to the student in ways that are familiar to them.
“We really want to meet students where they are,” he said. “I was once a student at Baylor, so I have an idea of what the student experience is like.”
Being able to effectively communicate with students is something that Getterman said is crucial, especially when he had the chance to speak at chapel last year.
“I brought some of my students from the sustainability student advisory board, and just had them share some of their experiences,” Getterman said. “It wasn’t just me lecturing the audience up there, but rather students to students, and peers to peers, which I believe resonates more with the student body.”
Doerre said he’s been impressed with the amount of recycling bins that have been placed all around campus and over by McLane Stadium.
“I think we’ve done a good job of putting out recycling bins everywhere you look,” he said. “There are almost as many, if not more, recycling bins than there are trash cans.”
Doerre said that Baylor has made it easy for fans to recycle and hopefully they take advantage of that.
“We can all do the little things to make Baylor a better place and the world a better place,” he said.