Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Cooperating University

Western Kentucky University

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Keaster, Ric

Author's Keywords

Sustainability; Sports facilities; Collegiate recreation; Recreational sports


Sustainable buildings; Sports facilities; Recreation centers


Sustainability is a hot topic in higher education. Buzz words such as green and renewable have helped brand modern environmentalism. A greater emphasis on facility planning, development, and management is contributing to sustainability efforts. Collegiate recreational sports programs often include facilities that pose a challenge to the green movement, due to their size and operational requirements. To identify efforts within the collegiate recreational sports industry, this dissertation focuses on assessing the state of facility sustainability. The purpose of this study was to assess levels of personnel familiarity and institutional level of adoption related to sustainable initiatives at collegiate recreational sports facilities. Additionally, the study collected the perceptions of the benefits and challenges of implementing such initiatives. This foundational study attempted to create some benchmark data for the collegiate recreation industry within the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). The Collegiate Recreational Sports Sustainability Survey was developed to assess the variables in the study and was sent to directors of NIRSA member institutions. This hybrid study utilized both quantitative and qualitative research methods and produced primarily descriptive research. Data were analyzed by calculating descriptive and inferential statistics, as well as by employing content analysis techniques. This research produced a number of key findings: the LEED Accredited Professional (AP) certification is virtually non-existent among collegiate recreational sports professionals; institutions that led in adoption levels per their respective category type were two-year public institutions, large enrollment institutions, institutions from NIRSA Region VI, and institutions that contain large collegiate recreational sports facilities; statistically significant differences in adoption levels existed between four-year public and four-year private institutions, between large and small enrollment institutions, and between institutions that had large and small facilities; Environmental and Fiscal were the top two perceived benefits of implementing sustainable initiatives; and Fiscal and Administrative were the highest reported perceived challenges of moving toward sustainability. Implications from this study include providing benchmark data, LEED-AP credential considerations, creating advisory committees, and modeling NIRSA Region VI institutions. This study establishes a foundation for further research on sustainability efforts in collegiate recreational sports.