Go Team, Go Green!

Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $40,000

Letter of Intent:


The Go Team: Go Green! project uses a friendly competitive spirit and school pride as motivating factors to engage in campus sustainability. A fundamental aspect of student life at UW –as well as at universities around the country and worldwide– is intercollegiate athletics. Major UW sports events such as men's football and women's basketball are extremely popular among students on campus, and also provide an important means for alumni and other community members to stay connected and involved with the UW flagship campus in Seattle. Here we propose to use this powerful community and campus social phenomenon of intercollegiate athletics as a motivating factor for sustainability. We will work with student groups at UW to organize intercollegiate sustainability challenges to occur during the school year in the week leading up to specific intercollegiate athletics matches. For example, in the week before UW-University of Oregon football match, student groups from the Seattle and Eugene campuses will have a friendly competition for the most sustainable student group and overall campus; another such competition would occur in the week leading up to the UW-Stanford women's basketball match. Judges will be made up of student groups from participating schools not competing that week.

To support these competitions, we will:

  1. create a dedicated website on the UW server that will house
    • a modified version of the Primary Contact's student carbon footprint calculator (now at http://footprint.stanford.edu, moving to the UW sever this year);
    • a conversation forum that will act as a blog of sorts, and a means of communication for participating students and campus community members at large;
    • a "search timeline" drawn from Twitter and Instagram hashtags, e.g., #GoTeamGoGreen.
  2. II. work with UW student environmental groups and students in the Program on the Environment to identify UW student leaders willing to contact their colleagues at select universities across the country over Summer 2018.
    • The goal will be to have a handful of schools scheduled for the pilot challenges in Fall 2018 (F18) and Winter 2019 (W19).
  3. III. Support these pilot challenges in F18 and W19 via:
    • posting of a "line-up" early in the week comparing carbon footprints and other campus sustainability efforts planned and undertaken by the respective students/student groups from the two competing schools;
    • encourage use of our conversation forum to post updates in the week leading up to the sports match, in particular focused on new initiatives envisioned and undertaken by the student groups;
    • promote the challenges on our web site, on social media and thru campus and city-wide publications;
    • voting on the "winning" school by a (non UW) school involved in a different challenge week that year.

At the end of the Fall and Winter seasons, the UW students involved in the project will choose a winning (non-UW) competitor, which will receive a plaque in the mail to hang in their dormitory, club office, etc., as appropriate. To be considered for the award, 10 students from that school must submit anonymous evaluations of the project so that we can make changes that will improve the project in an attempt to ensure its long-term sustainability and portability to other schools worldwide.  All school groups that qualify for award consideration will recieve certificates of participation that they can distribute to the individual students.


Environmental Impact.

We expect the project not only to lead directly to meaningful sustainability efforts both on UW and the partner campuses, but also to inspire the broader student communities to examine their own impacts and make lifestyle changes for sustainability.

Student Leadership & Involvement.

Although we have yet to identify specific student leaders and groups for the project, this is a key and integral goal. By the time of the Full Application (should the committee invite one from us), we commit to identifying students to act as leaders, particularly those who would commit to undertaking the contacts with the partner schools during Summer 2018 to find "opposing teams." Secondary Contact Kristi Straus is already in communication with her students in the Program on the Environment to try to tap students to step forward next month and assist with the full application, and with efforts in the summer should the project be funded. Furthermore, in April, we plan to contact faculty in the Computer Science department to see if any classes from Spring '19 would like to engage in the modifications to our website and associated tools (in response to the post-project evaluations from participating students at UW and elsewhere - see above) as student-led computer programming class projects.

Education, Outreach, & Behavior Change.

The aforementioned plans to use social media and "piggy-back" on the popularity of the sports events is a ready-made vehicle for education and outreach. The goal is not only to use a competitive spirit to produce behavioral change, but to reach and inspire the broader campus and surrounding communities in both locations during and following each competition week.

Feasibility, Accountability, & Sustainability.

We will be able to track our progress using the proposed newly-designed and modified web based tools. The long term and more ambitious goal will be to sufficiently engage the campus communities (and specifically the athletic programs) that future support, promotion and funding for competitions will come from the athletics programs themselves in coordination with campus student groups.

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Jason Hodin