By: Gabrielle McLaren, Editor-in-Chief
SFU Athletics’ new branding makes it loud and clear: SFU is the one and only Canadian university in the NCAA. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the university’s jump into this brave new athletic world, which has sent Clan players to compete against opponents in far off locations such as Hawaii or Texas.
While the expenses of playing in the NCAA amongst American rivals are well-known, all this travelling also implies a sizeable carbon footprint. Using two online carbon footprint calculators and armed with two football schedules — one being ours and the other being UBC’s — The Peak tried to pinpoint the difference in the carbon footprints of our athletics programs.
|Game||Opponent||Game location||Flight emissions for 1 round trip (in tonnes of CO2)||Emissions for 1 coach bus,round trip (in tonnes of CO2)|
|August 31||University of Regina Rams||Home|
|September 6||University of Saskatchewan Huskies||Saskatoon, SK||0.38||0.14|
|September 14||University of Calgary Dinos||Home|
|September 21||University of Manitoba Bisons||Winnipeg, MB||0.60||0.20|
|September 28||University of Alberta Golden Bears||Home|
|October 4||University of Regina Rams||Regina, SK||0.43||0.16|
|October 19||University of Saskatchewan Huskies||Home|
|October 26||University of Calgary Dinos||Calgary, AB||0.22||0.08|
|Game||Opponent||Game location||Flight emissions for 1 person’s round trip (in tonnes of CO2)||Emissions for 1 coach bus, round trip (in tonnes of CO2)|
|September 7||Portland State University Vikings||Portland, OR||1.05||0.02|
|September 14||Angelo State University Rams||San Angelo, TX||0.88||0.18|
|September 21||South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Hardrockers||Home|
|September 28||Azusa Pacific University Cougars||Home|
|October 12||Dixie State University Trailblazers||St. George, UT||1.05||0.12|
|October 19||Azusa Pacific State University Cougars||Glendora, CA||0.58||0.04|
|October 26||Central Washington University Wildcats||Ellensburg, WA||1.24||0.02|
|November 2||Western Oregon University Wolves||Home|
|November 16||Central Washington University Wildcats||Home|
Whether a team is travelling by bus or by plane, it’s clear that a Canadian university participating in the NCAA is significantly more carbon-intensive than a counterpart playing in, for example, U Sports.
Based on these findings, SFU’s continued efforts to position itself as a leader in sustainability don’t square with its commitment to expanding its athletic footprint into the NCAA. Did SFU consider the carbon cost of NCAA participation when it started its drive to be the only Canadian university in the league?