The grass really is greener at the 2019 NFL Draft

Marchella Verdi
April 24, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Former Penn State football players are not the only Nittany Lions you’ll see at the 2019 NFL Draft. Thanks to Penn State’s Sustainability Institute and the NFL Environmental Program, more than 30 Penn State students and staff will also be at the event.

The NFL Environmental Program, NFL Green, works behind the scenes of NFL-sponsored events to help events operate in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way, focusing on solid waste management, material reuse, food recovery, sports equipment and book donations, and greenhouse gas reduction. This year Penn State has partnered with Pepsi and NFL Green to engage students and staff with these sustainability efforts to learn about how they can apply these lessons to other large-scale operations, including with Penn State Athletics. 

“The NFL Green Program has been a really great partner with Penn State,” explains Doug Goodstein, associate director for student engagement at Penn State’s Sustainability Institute. “What we learn from them can expand to all types of events that Penn State participates in — large or small — they all have the same challenges.” 

Twenty-one undergraduate students from multiple years and majors, as well as four master’s students from the business program and seven Penn State staff members will attend the draft from April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee. Participants will learn how to communicate sustainability with the community, handle waste sorting and find additional uses for materials at such large-scale events. 

Jordan Kalfon, a Penn State sophomore majoring in recreation, park and tourism management (RPTM) and journalism, has been watching the draft since he was a little kid and sees this as a dream opportunity. 

“I hope to have an experience where I am able to help build the NFL’s sustainability platform, while networking with some of the greatest minds in the industry,” Kalfon says. “I want to work in the industry when I leave college and this is a great time for me to experience one of the biggest events in the field.” 

Francesco Liciaga, a Penn State junior majoring in supply chain management, has similar goals for his participation in this event. 

“I hope to learn about how the NFL works to operate in a sustainable way and how they utilize their national platform to enact change in the community,” says Liciaga. “As an inspiring consultant, understanding topics such as sustainability will help me develop more sound solutions for my clients that are both economically and environmentally sustainable.”

This opportunity is the third NFL-sponsored event that Penn State students, staff and faculty have attended in 2019 as sustainability ambassadors. The partnership began at the College Football Playoffs in Pasadena in January and continued with the Super Bowl and its Super Kids-Super Sharing event in Atlanta in February.

Penn State’s Sustainability Institute plans to continue its collaboration with Pepsi and the NFL Environmental Program to offer opportunities for students to further learn about how to implement sustainability into Penn State Athletics and other University-wide events.

Last Updated June 21, 2019