By Claire Miller
ATLANTA — Georgia State University may not have been playing in the 2018 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but students and faculty from the university’s College of Education & Human Development were working during the game to support CFP’s green initiatives.
Georgia State Assistant Professor Tim Kellison, head of the college’s new Center for Sport and Urban Policy, partnered with Jack Groh, CFP sustainability consultant and director of the NFL’s environmental program, to select and train students and faculty to be the official Green Ambassadors for the game.
“Georgia State played a significant role in our overall sustainability efforts at this year’s College Football National Championship,” Groh said. “More than four dozen staff and graduate students signed up to be part of our unique Green Ambassador team that helped fans recycle and provided fans with helpful information and stadium directions. They were a tremendous asset to this year’s event.”
Shannon Smith, who’s working on his master’s degree in Sport Administration, was stationed in the stadium’s Delta Sky360 Club area, where he and his classmates helped attendees, bartenders and housekeeping staff recycle items, and engaged with fans by taking photos or answering questions.
“Being able to interact with the fans and work at one of the biggest sporting events was truly amazing – especially since college athletics is where I hope to work in the future,” he said. “And the CFP’s Green Program is helping make a positive difference in how major sport organizations organize their championship game.”
Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the first professional sports stadium to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification in the U.S., which it received for its efficient and cost-saving design. This is an important designation for a stadium that can hold more than 70,000 people for major events like the National Championship.
“I learned how important it is to recycle and maintain good waste management practices,” said sport administration student Hannah Craig about her experience working at the game. “With a huge event like the National Championship, I’ve realized how important it is to create a space that is healthier and more sustainable for not only the fans, but for the community.”