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FGCU Athletics is going green


FGCU Athletics is going green
With FGCU’s reputation for being eco-friendly, it’s no surprise that our school’s efforts to protect the environment extends to our athletic complexes as well.
According to Assistant AD of Facilities and Operations with FGCU Athletics Michael Miller, FGCU Athletics takes their carbon footstep into account with every decision.
In regards to Alico Arena, the newest expansion of the complex was completed in August 2017 and incorporated a various spread of eco-friendly alternatives. According to Miller, most of the space in Alico now maximizes “daylight views”. This means that, during expansion, FGCU Athletics designed the new additions to have natural daylighting components and views to the exterior of the building. This not only saves energy for lighting purposes, but it also improves occupant satisfaction, according to Miller. It also ultimately increases productivity.
In further efforts to remain green, the expansion also maximizes the insulation on the building envelope, exceeding the building code requirements and greatly reducing the amount of energy it takes to run the Arena. Sun control devices were added to reduce the solar heat gain at the openings that need it the most, according to Miller. These devices can be seen at the south facing windows and the curtain wall at the Hartley Academic Resource Center.
During the time of expansion, the design had to comply with the 2014 energy code, which was new at the time, according to Miller. Due to the measures put in place by the new code, more sustainable strategies were implemented. One of these strategies is called “daylight harvesting,” and it saves copious amounts of energy in Alico to this day. Of all the windows in the Arena, certain windows have sensors that monitor light levels and automatically dim the lights as the daylight levels increase, Miller said. Alico’s newest eco-friendly implementation is the main lighting on the floor, which is all now LED powered.
Aside from permanent additions to our sports facilities, FGCU Athletics continues to reduce their carbon footprint on and off the field.
According to Miller, organic materials are used on the fields when applicable, and separate recycling and trash bins are always present. Whenever construction occurs, measures are always taken to ensure that any damaged plants are restored or replaced.
FGCU Athletics also participates in “Recyclemania” during basketball games, an implementation by FGCU’s Physical Plant in partnership with the Student Government Association that came into effect in 2009 and continues to this day. “Recyclemania” is an 8-week intercollegiate recycling competition that is held during the spring semester each year, according to FGCU’s website. In a competition to see which schools recycle the most/produce the least amount of trash during the 8-week time period, Colleges and Universities spreading across the US and Canada elect student volunteers to go to various collection sites on campus the night before they are collected by the Waste Collection Agency and measure the amount of waste and recyclables in these areas. The schools then submit the numbers to Recyclemania, where they are compared to other competing schools. According to FGCU’s website, we consistently rank in the top 10% of schools who participate.
As far as events that involve the community in their efforts to improve sustainability, Alico Arena hosts FGCU’s annual “Make A Difference Day,” a day devoted to service activities around Southwest Florida.
In 2017, “Make A Difference Day” partnered with various service sites, many among those devoted to sustainability and environmental conservation. Among these sites, volunteers had the option to join FGCU’s Food Forest for gardening activities, bus to Vester Marine Station to collect trash and debris while canoeing Fish Trap Bay, or help Collier County Parks and Rec clear mountain bike trails. These were only a few options of the many service opportunities provided during “Make A Difference Day”.
While the staff at FGCU Athletics works hard to reduce their carbon footprint, FGCU’s student athletes follow suit. Some of the organizations student athletes have gained service learning through include Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts throughout Fort Myers, Lee County Parks and Recreation, Naples Botanical Garden, Crew Land and Water Trust, and Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Preserve.

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