Sustainability in University sport

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:43:00 BST

On 16 May, the annual Athletics Union Awards celebrated the achievements of the University’s sports clubs and showcased a great year for sport at the University.

Following regulations on social distancing, the awards were broadcast on Facebook Live, hosted by Rosie Bancroft and James Plowright from the Sport team. With awards including Club of the Year, Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year and Most Improved Club, the event highlighted the teams and players who stood out for their dedication, leadership and enthusiasm for their sport.

For the first time in the event’s history, this year’s awards included a Sustainability Competition, which encouraged students to think about the environmental impacts of their sport and the various ways that sustainability can be implemented into club activities.

Among the entries, several actions on sustainability were highly commended for their creativity, long-term impact and evidence of institutional change, such as the Men’s Hockey Club, who introduced all-vegetarian meals at their social events. The club were also announced as winners of the Social Responsibility Award, for raising over £2,900 for Greenhouse Sport, a London-based charity committed to helping young people through sport.

The University’s Table Tennis Club demonstrated their commitment to sustainability through organising their own line of club merchandise, choosing suppliers who use 100% organic cotton and water-based inks for clothing. A strong second place was given to the Sailing Club, who help to reduce the spread of invasive species through washing their boats down with fresh water after every use.

The first-place prize was awarded to the The University of Manchester Canoe Club, who will receive £300 towards club development or sustainability initiatives, to be decided by the club and Sport department. The Canoe Club demonstrated its commitment to environmental sustainability through several initiatives, including a transition to plant-based meals on all overnight trips, holding educational workshops with the charity Save Our Rivers and purchasing all recyclable kayaks. These actions will help to reduce the club’s carbon footprint as well as promoting social responsibility, through briefing its members on the importance of respecting the natural environment during their time outdoors.

This competition highlighted the importance of environmental sustainability and social responsibility within the University’s sports teams. The Athletics Union is hoping to implement sustainability into its future activities and within its sports clubs in future.

If your department is interested in implementing sustainability into your activities or events, please contact the Environmental Sustainability Team.