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University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 068/2023 - 25 May 2023

Bavarian Sports Association cooperates with University of Bayreuth  

The University of Bayreuth, the think tank "sportainable" and the Bavarian Sports Association cooperate for a sustainable future of sport in Bavaria. Bayreuth students develop sustainability concepts together with clubs.

The think tank "sportainable", which emerged from the Bayreuth Centre for Sports Science (BaySpo) at the University of Bayreuth, is investigating how sustainable sport itself is - from major events or club championships to public transport around the event and sports equipment. The Bavarian Sports Association (BLSV) is cooperating with "sportainable" in this field so that the future of organised sport in Bavaria can become more sustainable in all dimensions.

Students and sports clubs build teams

Initially, tandems will be formed from Bavarian sports clubs and students from the University of Bayreuth. They will work together on the sustainability of the respective club in order to make it fit for the future. The commonly known component of ecological sustainability is the basis of what actually comes into play at the end of the study for the individual clubs. In addition to ecological aspects, however, social and economic aspects are also included in research and consultation. A central aspect is the participatory process: stakeholders in and around the association are involved in the development of the association's sustainability strategy. In addition, university knowledge flows into the clubs, while at the same time knowledge from the club sector flows into the scientific work.

BLSV and thinktank "sportainable" train club managers

In addition to the practical work at and with the sports clubs, the BLSV and "sportainable" have also set up the elective module on sustainability in the BLSV's club manager training. In 30 teaching units, the prospective club managers learn from proven experts how sports clubs can act and manage sustainably in the future in the areas of infrastructure, mobility, procurement and education. The high demand proves that the potential for sustainable management is great: All units of the elective module offered for the first time are already fully booked.

The think tank "sportainable" has been in existence since 2022. A decisive impetus for its development came with the impulse lecture by its founder, Prof. Dr. Peter Kuhn, at the BLSV Congress ZUKUNFT SPORT. This was the reason for bringing together the Bavarian sports umbrella organisation, the sports sciences at the University of Bayreuth and the think tank in a triangular cooperation. This cooperation has been in place since autumn 2022.

Experts from sports science and practice have joined forces in "sportainable" to examine all dimensions of sport in terms of sustainability. "It started with the specific question of the sustainability of sports shoes, but it quickly expanded," explains Prof. Dr. Peter Kuhn, founder of the think tank "sportainable" and Professor of Sports Science at the University of Bayreuth. "Because the question could not be answered with knowledge from sports science alone. We quickly realised that far more know-how is needed than just one single department," Prof. Kuhn states. "The biggest knowledge gaps in the design of a sustainable sports shoe are actually in the areas of transport and materials," says Kuhn. In order to expand the network and not only search for and research a sustainability solution for sports shoes, he founded the think tank "sportainable". This network of scientists and practitioners combines expertise and know-how from a wide range of knowledge and research fields, including material, mobility and cultural research.

Often underestimated: mobility in rural areas

"Sustainability in sport cannot be understood only in terms of ecological sustainability. You have to look at the products or events holistically. This is the only way to explicitly improve sustainability," says Kuhn. "An essential aspect, for example, is mobility in rural areas. Even if the local sports venues are designed to be ecologically sustainable, athletes and spectators usually have to travel individually. In rural areas with only a rudimentary public transport system, this usually means that people come to the sports venue by car. And there are still too few functioning car pools here. If you had to scale sustainability in terms of mobility, this club would be in the middle segment, even if the sports infrastructure is ecologically on a high level," explains the think tank founder.

With the joint projects BLSV and "sportainable", long-term goals of the think tank also become apparent. "In our cooperation with the BLSV, we are also guided by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and set priorities here that we can implement concretely with sports organisations," says Prof. Kuhn. "If we succeed in creating structures in which sustainably educated people can do what they think is right with good arguments, the current grassroots movement can develop into a dynamic with which the global transformation goals come within reach."

Portrait Peter kuhn

Prof. Dr. Peter Kuhn

Quality Physical Education Studies & Sustainable Sport Studies

BaySpo- Bayreuther Zentrum für Sportwissenschaft
Tel.: +49 (0) 921 / 55-3461 oder -3469
E-Mail: peter.kuhn@uni-bayreuth.de

Portraitbild von Anja Maria Meister

Anja-Maria MeisterPressesprecherin Universität Bayreuth

Telefon: +49 (0) 921 / 55 - 5300
E-Mail: anja.meister@uni-bayreuth.de