Tonight, Wednesday, February 29, 2012, Colonial Life Arena will help the University of South Carolina in its mission to be carbon neutral during the USC vs. Mississippi State Men's Basketball game at 8:00 p.m. The initiative is being spearheaded by USC students and cross country athletes, Erin Fedewa and Nicole Rheinlander.

'The idea for a carbon neutral athletic event took shape when Nicole and I began to realize that as student-athletes, our sporting events produce carbon emissions and, in turn, leave a carbon footprint on the environment,' Erin Fedewa said.

Gamecock Athletics and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's Green Initiatives Team will be joining together to host a USC first: a game in which all of the carbon emissions produced from team and fan travel, energy, electricity and waste will be matched by carbon offsets. In order for the game to be a net zero event, student-athletes have been planting trees and exchanging energy efficient light bulbs around campus. Emissions will also be offset by replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. The newly installed light bulbs are 75% more energy efficient than standard bulbs. Tree plantings and light bulb exchanges will continue after the basketball game to achieve the carbon offset target based on game energy reports.
 
 'Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions are a growing concern for many universities and especially their students. Our first carbon neutral athletic event is a great example of our students demonstrating leadership and action in developing and implementing ways to offset our impact on the environment. We expect the example they and other students are setting across our campus will lead us to achieving our goals,' Michael Koman, director of the USC Office of Sustainability said.

'Colonial Life Arena is committed to educating our patrons on the importance of going green,' Global Spectrum's Lexie Boone, general manager at Colonial Life Arena said. 'We continue to expand our own efforts to be environmentally friendly while always striving to aid in the university's progress toward becoming a more sustainable campus.'

Tip off for the USC vs. Mississippi State Men's Basketball game will be at 8:00 pm. Doors will open at 6:30 pm. Tickets for USC Men's and Women's Basketball may be purchased at gamecocksonline.com or at the Lexington Medical Center Box Office inside Colonial Life Arena.