In this week’s bonus episode of NothingWasted!, we chat with Katie Kicklighter, Manager of Hospitality & Events for the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee.
We spoke with her about addressing community needs through sustainability programs, the importance of resident and fan education and more.
Here’s a sneak peek into the quick discussion:
Waste360: How excited are you and your team to have the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay this year?
Kicklighter: We cannot wait. This has been a long time coming with the planning starting years in advance. We’re looking forward to everything that the Super Bowl brings to our community.
Waste360: Please tell us about the Super Bowl sustainability program; it sounds amazing!
Kicklighter: NFL Green kicked off these sustainability efforts, and they’ve led those alongside the last 26 Super Bowls, so we’re excited to work with them. We really want to leave a lasting legacy on the Tampa Bay community, so we look at everything from waste reduction and food and material recovery, to renewal energy offsets and social impact on the community. And we do that through various events and projects; we want to make sure we’re doing our part to responsibly host these major events in our hometown.
Waste360: What sorts of goals exist around the program?
Kicklighter: Our host committee motto is, “We’re going forward forever together.” That’s how we want to use the big game as a platform to spread not only messaging about the importance of sustainability but also that we can have positive impacts on our community. It’s all about influencing change.
Waste360: And is there a community clean-up element as well?
Kicklighter: Yes, this is a program we’re super excited about; we call them “greening events” in conjunction with NFL Green. They double as beautification projects and include everything from community gardens to tree planting. Our first event was a recent sand-dune restoration effort. Another huge event we’ll be hosting is the Super Cleanup to get the downtown corridor ready for all the fans that will come to town. One other program I’d love to touch on is our underwater project on which we worked with Force Blue, a veteran organization, to replant coral down in Miami —and they’ll also be removing marine debris from a reef off the coast of Anna Maria.
Waste360: How can fans and locals help the Super Bowl and related events be more sustainable?
Kicklighter: We have a great volunteer program that we’re launching. There are opportunities for people to get involved, whether volunteering for the green teams who will be along the River Walk to help educate participants about recycling opportunities and sustainable behaviors. The Cleanup is also a great way for people to come out and help.
Listen to the full NothingWasted! episode above.
And we will be checking back in with Kicklighter and team again to see how things are progressing with the Super Bowl sustainability planning and results.