Kelly Kilker

Sport and Sustainability: An Oregon Specialty

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 6.07.44 PMThe Eugene Sport and Sustainability Initiative (ESSI) is an innovative public private partnership between the City of Eugene (City) and the Council for Responsible Sport (Council). Through this partnership, the City uses the Council’s sporting event certification system to transform the sporting event industry by reducing the environmental impacts while maximizing the social benefits of sporting events. The certification process helps to advance community sustainability programs and incentivize new, green business opportunities. The certification process also promotes healthy, active lifestyles and access and equity.

I was tasked with researching individual, foundation, and corporate donors to help expand the efforts of the ESSI and the reach of the Council’s certification. I researched about 100 funding leads, including ones with local, national, and international interests. It was interesting and challenging trying to match trusts and foundations with giving goals that aligned with the mission and needs of the ESSI. I am happy to report that ESSI staff has started to pursue several of the grant leads identified in my report.

If you have the time, check out the Council for Responsible Sport’s website to see how they support, certify, and celebrate responsible sport. Or check out this article from Sports Planning Guide for further reading on sustainable sports in Eugene.

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Written by Kelly Kilker

Kelly is a second year UO MBA student in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices (Class of 2016). She is a running and yoga enthusiast looking to create and manage employee wellness programs. Kelly did her undergraduate work at Florida State University and is from Boca Raton, Florida.

A Sierra Nevada love story: how a non-beer drinker fell in love with a brewery

Long story short, I am not a beer enthusiast. I can boast that I have the distinguished title of Beer Master from the Budweiser tour at Busch Gardens, but those days are long gone.

The Center for Sustainable Business Practices scheduled a visit to the Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico, California, on our trip home from San Francisco in early April. I was expecting a company video and a quick tour, ending with a beer tasting. Instead, we were taken on a thorough tour of the factory and grounds where we learned about the numerous sustainability initiatives Sierra Nevada has implemented. For example, the company has a rooftop solar array that aids their fuel cells in meeting the brewery’s energy needs.

We toured the grounds and visited the organic garden that supplies flowers for the site’s landscaping and provides fresh produce for the onsite restaurant. We even saw the beloved composter, Hot Rot, which helped Sierra Nevada divert 99.8% of its solid waste from the landfill in 2012.

The personalized tour ended with lunch at the onsite restaurant with Cheri Chastain, Sustainability Manager. Cheri discussed her work on the company’s most recent Sustainability report, the purchase of Hot Rot, and the benefits of working for a privately held company. Her job spans from feeding food scraps to the composter to imbedding sustainability into the new brewery location in Mills River, North Carolina.

Sierra Nevada is proof that growth and sustainability can go hand in hand. It was an inspiring visit and I am excited to have Cheri as a professional connection.

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Written by Kelly Kilker

Kelly is a second year UO MBA student in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices (Class of 2016). She is a running and yoga enthusiast looking to create and manage employee wellness programs. Kelly did her undergraduate work at Florida State University and is from Boca Raton, Florida.

Exactly Where I’m Supposed to Be

Why am I here? Can I handle this? Was this the right decision? Admittedly, those questions have popped into my head several times over these first six weeks of my first term at the University of Oregon.

Am I in over my head?

A little bit about me: I was born and raised in south Florida and attended Florida State University for my undergraduate business degree, majoring in Finance and Marketing. I am truly a Florida girl! I have never wrestled an alligator, but I love the outdoors, the beach, and the sun.

Graduating in 2005, I was lucky to find a good job and spent almost ten years working for several state agencies in Florida. I know I was lucky to have job security and I know my parents thought I had it “made” with my state job, but something was missing. I felt this disconnect with what my mind and my heart wanted. I tried filling that void outside of work and became an avid runner, a yoga instructor, and volunteer for local animal charities.

This worked for a while…you know…the whole “living for the weekend” thing. But as time went on it became harder and harder to get out of bed. For me, the position was not rewarding and the working environment was not healthy. Just working for a paycheck was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I was met with answers like “that’s life” and “no one really likes their job” when I expressed my concerns about work. Really? Was this how life was supposed to be?

I am not the type of person to settle and I set out to fix the disconnect between my mind and heart, figuring there had to be more out there. I looked into outdoorsy jobs that didn’t pay anything, I thought about teaching yoga full-time, and I considered going back to school to be a zoologist. All of those things sounded fun, but were they practical and were they me?

Then one day I was researching degree programs and I stumbled upon the University of Oregon’s Sustainable Business Practices MBA. What? I didn’t know that was an option! I immediately had an overwhelming sense of “this is right”. I researched the program and talked to friends about it and everyone raved about the program. I had finally found the program for me. I had finally found my next step in achieving the life I wanted. The MBA appealed to my business-oriented mind and the Sustainable Business Practices concentration spoke to my hippie heart.

So I put things in place and drove 3,000 miles from Florida to Oregon in September. I have those moments of doubt, described above, but even more so I have moments where I pause and think how great it is to be living in Eugene and how I cannot believe I took the risk of leaving the known for the unknown. I felt beat down by my last job and it is taking some time to rebuild my confidence, but I am getting there. This first-term has been challenging, but I know it is worth it.

The first-term classes are reacquainting me with core business functions like Finance and Management while the Sustainability seminar is teaching me more about the triple bottom line and sustainability careers. I am actually writing this post on a flight back from the Net Impact conference in Minneapolis. I got to see the CEO of Unilever and Temple Grandin speak … amazing!

I may have my moments of doubt when things get rough, but I know I am on the right path. Stealing some words of wisdom from my yoga practice: I am exactly where I am supposed to be; letting go of the past, focusing on being present in the moment.

Written by Kelly Kilker

Kelly is a second year UO MBA student in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices (Class of 2016). She is a running and yoga enthusiast looking to create and manage employee wellness programs. Kelly did her undergraduate work at Florida State University and is from Boca Raton, Florida.