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Restoring College Sports Amid COVID-19: Leveraging Climate Action

August 3, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

As college sports programs plan their recovery from Covid-19 impacts, leveraging existing campus assets and fan preferences opens up sports sustainability operations that generate revenues, cost savings, and significant campus/community support for moving the ball on climate action. As many professional and global sports organizations have learned, taking action to mitigate climate change helps deliver many of these benefits.

This webinar will feature several high profile collegiate athletic directors who have created sustainability assets in their athletics programs with the help of campus sustainability staff. With those assets, they have won support from corporate partners, improved student and fan relations, better aligned with their own campus’ sustainability goals, and enhanced campus sustainability leadership on and off the field.

Athletics department staff and campus sustainability professionals will both benefit from this webinar, as they look to regain traction on their internal goals amid the current health crisis. Both will benefit from new corporate partnerships based on sustainability. Both have allied interests in promoting stronger student and fan engagement. And both are integral parts of campus sustainability and climate action goals that more strongly unite athletics with every facet of campus life.

Globally, over 120 sports organizations such as the International Olympic Committee, the NY Yankees, the NY Mets, the Golden State Warriors and the NBA have committed to the UN’s Sports for Climate Action Framework.

In the US, the University of Colorado Boulder was the first US collegiate sports program to sign on. Now, even amid the Covid pandemic, The Ohio State University, Wake Forest University and the University of Miami are committing because this work is too important to forget. In this webinar you can find out how this approach can help your campus do well–by doing good!

Register Today


Rick George Rick George, Athletic Director, University of Colorado Buffaloes

Rick George

Rick George was named athletic director at the University of Colorado on July 17, 2013, returning to Boulder where he helped play a role in the school’s first and only national championship in football some 23 years earlier.

George, came to Colorado from the Texas Rangers baseball club of the American League, where he was named chief operating officer on October 5, 2010 with a promotion to president of business operations in February 2013.  He agreed to a 5-year contract at CU, and he officially started on the job on August 12, 2013.  In June 2016, the Board of Regents approved a contract extension through 2020-21, and in June 2019, the Regents once again extended him through the 2023-24 academic and athletic year.

Read Rick George’s full bio.

Gene Smith Gene Smith, Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director, The Ohio State University Buckeyes

Gene Smith

Ohio State’s student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom and on the fields of play under the leadership of Gene Smith, who directs the nation’s largest and one of its elite athletic programs. Smith is proud of the high-performance culture that has developed with the leadership of what he often refers to as “the best coaching staff in America.” Record achievements by individuals, teams and the entire athletic program attest to Ohio State’s commitment to the development of the total student-athlete in a holistic way.

As the institution’s academic profile has increased, so too has the academic profile of its student-athletes. In the classroom, student-athletes continue to distinguish themselves with record numbers earning university, conference and national honors. Last year, Ohio State boasted a record 674 Ohio State Scholar Athletes and 461 Academic All-Big Ten selections and 231 student-athletes earned their degrees.

Read Gene Smith’s full bio.

John Currie John Currie, Athletic Director, Wake Forest Demon Deacons

John Currie

John Currie became Wake Forest’s sixth athletic director in school history when he was named to the position on March 3, 2019. Currie is just the third individual to have held the position since 1964 following the 28-year tenure of Dr. Gene Hooks (1964-92) and Ron Wellman (1992-2019). Currie is a 1993 Wake Forest graduate who has served twice as an athletic director at the NCAA Division I level with leadership roles at Kansas State University from 2009-17 and at the University of Tennessee in 2017.

A nationally-recognized leader in intercollegiate athletics, Currie has spent his career building a solid reputation as a fundraiser, builder of great facilities and an inclusive leader. In 2013, he earned the Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year and received the Bobby Dodd Athletic Director Award. In 2011, Currie was the named to the Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 list.

Read John Currie’s full bio.

Blake James Blake James, Director of Athletics, University of Miami

Blake James

Since taking over as the University of Miami’s Director of Athletics in 2013, Blake James has transformed The U, spearheading significant advances in all aspects of the department, including postseason appearances, student-athlete support, facility upgrades, ticket sales, broadcast capabilities and academic achievement.

Miami’s recent success continues to garner both James and UM national recognition. This past summer, James concluded a two-year term as Chair of the NCAA Division I Council, the group responsible for the day-to-day decision-making for all of Division I Athletics. This year he was one of five nominees for the 2019 SportsBusiness Journal Athletic Director of the Year. In 2017, James was selected as one of four Division I recipients of the 2016-17 Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year award from the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

Read Blake James’ full bio.

Meghan Fay Zahniser Moderator: Meghan Fay-Zanhiser, Executive Director, AASHE

Meghan Fay Zahniser

Meghan has been with AASHE since 2011 and previously held the positions of Director of Programs and STARS Program Manager. Prior to AASHE, Meghan worked as Sustainability Specialist at NELSON, where she provided sustainability expertise and consulting services to various clients. She also spent over five years working at the U.S. Green Building Council where, as Manager of Community, she developed and managed a local chapter network for building-industry professionals and helped create the Emerging Green Builders program that integrates students and young professionals into the green building movement.

This webinar is sponsored by Phase 3 Sports. Phase 3 Sports works to influence sustainable behavior change among sports fans inspired by their club’s green operations and values. This alignment is leveraged via corporate partnerships and green marketing.


August 3, 2020
10:00 am - 11:00 am