James to Help Present "Restoring College Sports Amid COVID-19: Leveraging Climate Action"

James to Help Present "Restoring College Sports Amid COVID-19: Leveraging Climate Action"

CORAL GABLES, Fla.—Miami Director of Athletics Blake James is one of four Power 5 athletic directors who will showcase their school’s climate action, health and wellness and diversity and inclusion practices during an upcoming webinar on August 3, 2020, at 1 p.m. EDT. The webinar is titled: “Restoring College Sports Amid COVID-19: Leveraging Climate Action.”

James will be joined by Rick George of the University of Colorado; Gene Smith of The Ohio State University; and John Currie of Wake Forest University. Each will present and take questions regarding their approaches to the restoration of college sports amid the ongoing health crisis.

“I’m excited and honored to join these fellow athletic directors to share ideas and best practices,” James said. “College athletics provides a tremendous platform to elevate awareness on climate action, health and wellness and diversity and inclusion initiatives and we’re proud that UM can help promote and lead those efforts.”

Led by these athletic directors, these sustainability-minded athletics programs have learned to leverage their assets to energize fan values, advance campus sustainability goals, ensure financial success, and generate support throughout their universities.

CU, OSU, Wake Forest and Miami were the first four U.S. collegiate athletic programs to commit to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. Over 120 sports organizations ranging from the International Olympic Committee to the New York Yankees and the NBA have already signaled their commitment to this global accord.

Each university brings a unique approach to sustainability that results from partnerships between athletics and their campuses’ sustainability leaders.


  • CU Boulder’s Rick George was the first U.S. athletic director to sign on to the Sports for Climate Action Framework, and the university features the nation’s first collegiate sports sustainability program, Ralphie’s Green Stampede.
  • The Ohio State University’s Gene Smith has led the Buckeyes program, which delivers the nation’s highest recycling rate in athletics in one of the nation’s biggest and most influential college sports programs.
  • John Currie’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons led the campus into plant-rich performance dining standards that inspired the campus to reach a 30% sustainable sourcing goal.
  • Under James the University of Miami rolled out the first-ever football uniforms featuring repurposed and upcycled materials created in partnership with adidas and Parley For The Oceans.

The goal of the webinar is to bring together campus sustainability personnel with their athletics counterparts to better advance campus goals, increase each campus’s leadership, respond to student/community preferences for sustainable college sports, and showcase revenue opportunities resulting from these actions.

The webinar is presented by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Meghan Fay Zahniser, the Executive Director of AASHE, will host the program.

The webinar is free and open to the public. Register with AASHE at: https://www.aashe.org/calendar/college-sports/



About CU Athletics

The University of Colorado, located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, began intercollegiate competition in the spring of 1890; 130 years later the school sponsors 17 varsity programs on the Division I NCAA level and in the Pac-12 Conference.  The men compete in basketball, cross country, football, golf, skiing and track & field; the women in basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, skiing, soccer, tennis, track & field and volleyball.  Known as the Buffaloes since 1934, the school has won 29 national championships (20 in skiing, five in men’s cross country, three in women’s cross country and one in football), 203 conference titles and has had 144 NCAA individual champions.


About OSU Athletics

The Ohio State University Department of Athletics sponsors 36 fully funded varsity teams – 17 for women, 16 for men and three that are co-educational – and is committed to providing its more than 1,000 student-athletes with the finest in academic and athletics support in order to ensure them of a quality and life-enhancing experience during their years at The Ohio State University. The Department of Athletics is completely self-supporting and receives no university monies, tax dollars or student fees.


About Wake Forest Athletics

Wake Forest University sponsors 18 varsity programs on the Division I NCAA level and in the ACC. From a student-athlete standpoint, Wake Forest has 47 international student-athletes from 24 countries, student-athletes from 32 states and 52 from the state of North Carolina. Competitively, the Deacs have amassed nine National Championships and 53 ACC Titles. In 1956 Wake Forest successfully moved the approximately 120 miles from Wake Forest, NC, to Winston-Salem, NC, while retaining its name, heritage, traditions, and uniqueness as an institution. In March 2019, John Currie, a veteran collegiate athletics leader with 27 years of experience in the ACC, Big 12, and SEC, was introduced as the school’s sixth Director of Athletics.


About Miami Athletics

The University of Miami’s rich athletics tradition dates back to the school’s first classes in the fall of 1926. Miami has since built one of the nation’s great athletics programs, one that has won 21 team national championships and 82 individual national championships. UM currently fields teams in 18 sports as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Blake James has served as Director of Athletics since 2013, during which the Hurricanes have captured five NCAA individual championships, six ACC team titles and 65 individual ACC titles.




AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world’s future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit www.aashe.org. Follow AASHE on Facebook and Twitter.



About the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework

The U.N. Sports for Climate Action Framework has two overarching objectives: to achieve a clear trajectory for the global sports community to combat climate change and to leverage sports as a unifying tool to drive climate awareness and action among global citizens. Signatories of the framework commit to five core principles:  undertaking systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility; reducing overall climate impact; educating for climate action; promoting sustainable and responsible consumption; and advocating for climate action through communication.