SMU Homecoming 2010 is Going Green

An environmentally friendly Homecoming includes shoe donations, recycling and a carbon-neutral football game.

shoe bank donation barrell

SMU’s Sustainability Committee is tapping Homecoming enthusiasm to focus on three Earth-friendly measures on the Hilltop this week.

Carbon-Neutral Football Game

First, Saturday’s game against the University of Houston will be carbon neutral. What does that mean?

The university has purchased renewable energy and carbon credits that will pay for removing waste from the environment roughly equivalent to carbon and energy expended for Saturday’s game.  That covers team and band travel, transportation to and from a full stadium with an estimated third of the fans traveling from Houston, and all electrical usage for the stadium associated with game week.

Donate a pair of shoes 

Members of the Mustang Nation also are being asked to donate their comfortable, old shoes for reuse and recycling on game day.  Barrels for the donations will be placed in high visibility locations on the Boulevard on Saturday, as well as at entrances to Ford Stadium.  Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to increase the donations by challenging others in their residence halls and office spaces to collect shoes as a group for donation on game day.

Shoes also may be dropped off at the Shoe Bank container located in front of the ATM machine in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

Donations will be processed by the Shoe Bank, which provides footwear for the local homeless population, as well as to refugee organizations, shelters for battered women and their children, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas.   Most of the children’s shoes donated during Homecoming week will be sent to Haiti to guard children against deadly parasites that enter through bare feet.

Athletic shoes not reused by the Shoe Bank will be recycled through the Nike Shoe Recycling Program, which grinds down old sport shoes into pellets that can be converted to athletic turf and sport court material. High heels will be donated to local thrift stores.

Compete in the EPA’s Game Day Challenge

The aggressive recycling that already occurs on The Boulevard on game day is moving into Ford Stadium for the Oct. 23 game, which could help SMU’s ranking in the EPA’s 2010 Game Day Challenge. Colleges and universities in the U.S. are being challenged to design a waste reduction plan for one home football game and measure the results.  Mustangs can beat colleges competing around the nation by tossing every aluminum can, plastic bottle and paper product in the bins provided – as well as donating shoes.

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Michael Paul, SMU’s executive director of facilities management and sustainability, said that routine recycling on The Boulevard for outdoor events is very successful in reducing the amount of trash SMU sends to the landfill.  Each black trash barrel located on The Boulevard is paired with a blue recycling container, meaning that patrons don’t have to search for the appropriate containers.

And on Saturday, Paul said, even the Homecoming parade is going green.

“The floats are made up of tissue paper, wood and chicken wire,” Paul said.  “They will be recycled after they are displayed.”

The carbon neutral football game, the shoe collection and the recycling effort in Ford Stadium are the work of SMU’s Sustainability Committee – students, faculty and staff who promote sustainability and increased environmental awareness on campus. The committee sponsors activities and events that encourage lifelong environmentally conscious behavior. For more information, visit

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