The crowds will be cheering for the big winners at Hayward Field in the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships – and one of them isn’t even an athlete! The event itself is a triple-bottom-line winner.
The ‘We Can’ campaign is meeting the environmental bottom line. Eugene Recreation and community partners have increased accessibility to Hayward Field events to ensure social equity, and the influx of 27,000 fans.athletes and coaches are boosting business around the community and the economic bottom line.
The environmental bottom line begins with that half eaten burrito you tossed away at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field trials last summer. It’s returning to Historic Hayward Field, transformed and ready to make its way into your garden as nutrient-rich compost. The City of Eugene and Rexius are promoting Eugene’s commercial food waste collection program, ‘Love Food Not Waste,’ to fans at the NCAA Championships this week and spreading the “Love” for the environmental bottom line with vouchers for a bag of Eugene’s very own Love Food Not Waste compost.
It’s part of the ‘We Can’ campaign, a comprehensive sustainability initiative at Hayward Field, that is made possible through a partnership between the City of Eugene, University of Oregon Athletics and TrackTown USA. The program helped earn Eugene recognition as America’s #1 mid-sized “2013 Green City” by the publication Waste and Recycling News.
The City of Eugene and its ‘Run, Jump, Throw’ community partners have been working on another recycling effort: creating the next generation of track fans. For more than 35 years Eugene Recreation has presented the Hershey’s Track and Field meets that encourage youth to lead an active lifestyle, work toward goals, know the joy of competition, and realize the camaraderie of sport. In recent years the program has grown to include the Oregon Track Club All comer’s meets, The Starting Block and I’m a Track Fan Booths at UO Meets, USA Track and Field Olympic Team Trials, and the now at the NCAA Championships. And a top priority is the social equity part of the triple bottom line by providing access to these Track Town USA events to a broad sector of youth, especially those youth whose families might not otherwise afford to attend. This week, more than 1,100 youth will be watching the competition as a part of that program.
And then there’s the economic bottom line. Travel Lane County anticipated that some 27,000 fans, athletes and coaches would come to Eugene and Hayward field for the NCAA Championship and the Prefontaine Classic. TLC estimates the economic impact of the two events will top $7 million. That’s a lot of burritos!