Olympian Jill Savery Focuses on Sustainability in Sport

Written by Laura Paskin
October 17, 2016

Jill Savery joins the faculty in the internationally recognized and ranked graduate programs in Sport Administration and Leadership to teach sport sustainability. Savery, who won Olympic gold in synchronized swimming in 1996, received her Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Science.
Passionate about sport and the environment, she has worked with the America’s Cup, the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, and the organizers of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to embed sustainability in all aspects of sports events. She also served as an Expert to the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 – a first of its kind body that independently assured the sustainability of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“In the last 5-10 years we have seen sustainability in sport become an established profession,” she said. “We now have a strong case that embedding sustainability in sport offers tangible benefits for the environment, communities and local economies.”
Today, major sporting events organizers, such as Olympic Games host cities, employ dedicated professionals to embed sustainability into event activities. They address a range of issues including developing green facilities, finding energy efficiencies, and focusing on sustainable food practices among vendors.
“The payoff can be quick,” Savery emphasized, “not to mention improving your brand. Sport fans increasingly expect sports teams and owners to operate responsibly.”
In addition to her teaching, Savery consults with organizations throughout the United States and overseas. Her areas of expertise include sustainability strategy, plan and program development and delivery, partnership development and management, training, reporting, and stakeholder engagement. She is the co-editor of Sustainability and Sport (2011), one of the first books in this emerging field.

Seattle University offers a 48-credit Master in Sport Administration and Leadership and a 15-credit standalone graduate Certificate in Sport Sustainability Leadership, the first program of its kind in the world. Taught exclusively online, the certificate program draws students from around the world to address the global concern for increased environmental and ecological sustainability in the sport industry. Specifically, students are taught how to creatively address concerns of improving energy efficiency of facilities, designing and evaluating sustainability fan engagement campaigns, and how to measure and report sustainability initiatives.

“Our graduates are meeting the demands for leadership in the growing sustainable sport industry movement,” said Professor Brian McCullough, certificate program coordinator. “Having Jill be a part of this program exposes students to another perspective that enriches their experience and deepens their awareness of the opportunities for growth in this aspect of the sport industry.”

Students completing the Certificate in Sport Sustainability Leadership may also apply their credits toward the Master in Sport Administration and Leadership degree.