This fall, the Office of Sustainability is launching a green event certification program that provides a framework for best practices, easy access to resources, and recognition for exemplary events and event planners. With hundreds of events planned by professional and non-professional event planners across the university, there is a high potential to reduce, recycle and compost waste, save energy and promote the campus culture of sustainability.
For events planned by professional event staff, the green event program will make it easier than ever to incorporate best practices into the standard event planning process, influence purchasing decisions, and have a sustained impact on institutional operations. Student event planners will have access to the same resources, but will have greater support as they learn effective event planning strategies and project management. In both cases, attendees will also benefit by learning about correct waste sorting, finding easy ways to navigate to events through public transportation, and receiving consistent messaging that reinforces campus sustainability culture.
Waste reduction and diversion from landfills is at the heart of the green event program. Certified events will be encouraged to arrange for compost collection and seek out caterers who can source reusable, compostable, and/or recyclable products. Through careful planning, these events will achieve 90% or greater diversion of materials from the landfill.
While waste sorting stations and compost bins have been easy to request and a popular feature of many events, new and refreshed resources include*:
- A list of local caterers that have been vetted through the Office of Sustainability for their ability to source in compliance with zero landfill events;
- A list of florists that have been vetted through a student project team within the Sustainability Exchange Course focusing on sourcing sustainable flowers;
- A list of venues that are equipped to meet green event best practices without the need for special arrangements;
- A list of “green giveaways” – ideas and sources for products that can be sourced sustainably (like organic shirts) or that support sustainable lifestyles (like reusable straws);
- Digital and printed signage to educate attendees about green event features and how to participate;
- Request forms for compost and waste station service;
- Access to funding and consultation support for green events (available through the Student Sustainability Board for student-organized events).
Green Event certification follows a straight-forward framework that includes the submission of an application that summarizes plans for implementing green event best practices. Events that exceed the minimum point criteria will receive the Certified Green Event seal, which they can use in their promotional materials. Please allow two weeks to process the certification application!
The Green Event certification program was unveiled at a Green Event Planning Workshop during October’s Sustainability Month in which 26 event planners received training. The first event to receive certification through the new program is the “Chat with the Chancellor,” hosted by the Office of Human Resources, which will take place on November 16 at Hillman Hall.
The Green Event certification program formalizes many of the best practices that have been demonstrated for many years at some of the university’s most significant events, including: Convocation, Commencement, WILD, the WUSM Employee Picnic and Staff Day at the Danforth Campus.
For more information, links to resources, and to submit your event for certification, visit the Green Event page within the Office of Sustainability website.
The Office of Sustainability is eager to work with event planners and other stakeholders to create a dynamic program in service of its users and anticipates modifications as the program develops. Please contact Cassie Hage (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more or get involved.
*Some resources are currently under development.