Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Sarah Gee


Athletics department, Canada, Capacity, Environmental sustainability, Intercollegiate athletics, Sport




Despite an increased understanding about the role of sports in environmental sustainability (ES), little is known about the nature of ES operations in Canadian university athletics departments. The purpose of this study was to investigate the organizational capacity of Canadian intercollegiate athletics departments to engage in ES efforts. Hall et al.’s (2003) capacity framework was used to explore the capacity (or lack thereof) to pursue ES operations, identifying the challenges within each capacity dimension (i.e., human resources, financial, infrastructure and process capacity, relationships and networking and planning and development). University athletics department personnel most responsible for sustainability initiatives were invited to participate in a semi-structured interview to examine his/her perceptions and experiences of ES within their athletics department operations through the lens of organizational capacity. The findings provide key insights about the current ES action of Canadian athletics departments, the nature of capacity to pursue such action, and factors that could enable ES engagement. In sum, this research can help athletics department leaders and stakeholders understand the challenges of ES implementation, while contributing to organizational capacity theory and Sport and Environmental Sustainability (SES) literature through a focus on environmentally sustainable operations as well as extending the application of Hall et al.’s (2003) model.