Tyler Newsome ’18 came to Notre Dame from Georgia never having given sustainability a second thought. Yet when Dr. Rachel Novick told one of his classes about the sustainability minor freshmen year, his interest piqued enough for him to add the minor to his Marketing degree. “It was kinda just me taking a leap on something I was interested in, but it will affect the decisions I make for the rest of my life,” Tyler says.
Spending much of his time in the Mendoza College of Business, Tyler really enjoyed hearing the perspectives of students from other colleges during his sustainability courses. He also values the way that this minor empowers him to make a positive impact. “I don’t want to just have a good planet to live on. I’m thinking 100 years down the line,” he says, referring the value he sees in protecting the earth for future generations.
Newsome educating local students on the importance of sustainable practices
A punter on the Notre Dame Football team, Tyler focused is sustainability capstone project on how NCAA athletics can serve as a platform for sustainability. His project included a comprehensive report of what Notre Dame has done and the potential for further action, based on the actions of other D1 schools. As far as general sustainability practices, Tyler explains Notre Dame’s success at “grabbing the low hanging fruit.” For example, the school replaced the lights in the Joyce Center (JAAC) and has included green roofs and LED lights in newer buildings. The university also donates leftover food from game days to a local nonprofit, Cultivate Culinary.
However, as far as using Notre Dame Athletics’ clout and name to promote sustainability, Tyler sees much unharnessed potential. For example, in 2008 there was a sustainability-centered football game between Notre Dame and Syracuse, sponsored by NBC. This was Notre Dame’s first carbon neutral game, and it coincided with the culmination of a dorm energy conservation competition. According to Notre Dame News, “The school that has the most team members making commitments to lead greener lives will win $10,000 to be used to enhance sustainability efforts on the winning campus.” Yet this was nearly ten years ago and it has not become a regular part of football season.
Tyler sees a lot of potential in this approach to sustainability marketing. “Notre Dame is such a school that’s tradition oriented, especially with football,” Tyler says. There are opportunities to leverage that in new ways. NC State had a rivalry game focusing on which school was the most sustainable, he explains. Given that Notre Dame has six teams that consider themselves our rivals, Tyler says, this could be a great option.
Another of Tyler’s favorite ideas focuses on the electric banners around the stadium. These provide great platforms for information about sustainability, he says. The University of Florida’s marketing perspective is to strengthen their vision in athletics, sustainability and community involvement and Tyler thinks this a valuable motto for all schools.
Tyler says that he’d be hypocritical if he wasn’t doing something concrete to promote sustainability action himself. “I’ve been given this incredible platform,” he says, and he wants to use it. Tyler wants to be “essentially a game changer on and off the field.” So he volunteers at the Robinson Community Learning Center in South Bend, teaching children about climate change. For many of these children, this is their first introduction to sustainability and Tyler finds this work incredibly important. “It’s 30 kids; in my opinion they are the future,” he says. “Those kids are awesome.”
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