ESPN SHINES SOME LIGHT

By Shawn Wood, communications specialist, University Marketing & Communications

Larger than life ESPN analyst and NBA-hall-of-famer Bill Walton visited the U campus on Jan. 4 to highlight the U’s sustainability initiatives. Taking the time to visit with members from the Sustainability Office, Walton learned what sets the U apart from its athletic and academic peers.

Walton toured the U’s newest solar arrays located across three locations in Research Park. The installations, at the 729 Arapeen, 383 Colorow and 295 Chipeta facilities include multiple mounting configurations: rooftop, parking canopy and ground. These new solar arrays are a combined 1.9-megawatts in size and will offset the three buildings energy consumption by a combined 27 percent and contributes to the U’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

“As a fan of Utah Basketball and season ticket holder, having Bill highlight our initiatives on the ESPN broadcast is very exciting,” said Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer Myron Willson. “It was thrilling to show him our new solar projects, the Edible Campus Garden Hoophouse and some of the LEED certified buildings we have on campus. And it’s inspiring to watch a man with a national audience, show his passion for sustainable practices. He’s also an avid cyclist and promotes an active and healthy lifestyle.”

If you were lucky enough to have been there that brisk January morning, you would have met a man who took the time to learn everyone’s name and was a gracious guest on campus. His professionalism showed through as he stood on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, overlooking the campus and taped his segments that would air later that evening in his segment called “Walton’s World.” He often only needed one take. Which was good, as he had removed his puffy protective coat for each take.

Walton, since joining the Pac-12 network, has used his fame to shed light on many sustainability issues. When he travels to different colleges and universities, he seeks out stories that help preserve, “our mother earth” as he puts it. He became a “tree hugger” when visiting the University of Oregon campus.

Walton will be returning to the U campus in February and plans on further highlighting the U’s initiatives. And we can’t wait to show him some of the great research being done by our faculty and students.

Watch both of Walton’s segments below: