Green Events at Warren Wilson College
Warren Wilson College is committed to sustainable practices. Campus events are an important opportunity to demonstrate our sustainability ethos. Our goal is to make intentional event choices that represent our commitment to positively impact the environment, the local economy, and community well-being. The following suggested practices represent these positive choices.
- Provide locally grown/produced foods whenever possible.
- Use organic foods whenever possible.
- Select fair trade coffees and teas.
- Serve foods that are not individually packaged.
- Serve drinks, including water, in pitchers or other containers, not cans and bottles.
- Use washable dishes, cutlery, and glasses/cups. If this is not possible, use biodegradable dishes, cutlery and glassware.
- Use cloth tablecloths and napkins if possible. If not, use paper products made from recycled paper.
- Do not use individually wrapped condiments (eg sugar/sugar alternative packets, salt/pepper packets, individual creamers).
- Use bowls and shakers that can be reused.
- Omit plastic coffee stirrers and straws.
- Use sustainable centerpieces – such as potted plants, local/pesticide-free flowers, seasonal, cut tree branches, candles, or fruits that guests can take home.
- Avoid using disposable, non-biodegradable packaging, such as plastic wrap. Aluminum foil is preferred as it can be washed and recycled.
- If food provided is locally sourced, place small cards in front of the food indicating the source.
- Work with local caterers, like Sodexo, who know how to select green event foods.
- Educate your public. Make an announcement at the meal about the commitment to green practices and the sources for the food.
- Have appropriate recycling receptacles in place (cans/bottles/mixed paper/trash). Ensure that catering staff or vendors comply with your efforts to make it a sustainable event by using the appropriate trash/recycling receptacles.
- Collect and reuse plastic name tag holders.
- Coordinate with a local food bank or soup kitchen to donate left-over food.
- Compost food waste if possible.
- Provide biodegradable containers for participants to take left-over food with them.
- Go Paperless: Invite participants, receive rsvp’s, post event information, provide downloadable versions of programs, handouts, and itineraries at a website created for your event.
- Announce in your materials that you are holding a green event. Publish your guidelines.
- Ensure that program guides, handouts, and other written materials are limited and, when needed, printed on 100% post consumer, FSC certified paper, double sided, with a vegetable-based ink.
- Produce banners on recyclable materials.
- Encourage your participants to be green attendees and support your commitment here on campus, and in their own lives.
- If they are conference attendees, and will be staying on campus, encourage them to practice good conservation in their rooms – turn off lights when they leave the room, conserve water, use public transportation to and from campus, car pool, etc.
- For reoccurring or annual events, avoid printing dates and slogans on signs, posters, and banners so that they may be easily reused.
- Be sure your gifts or favors reflect your sustainability ethic. Provide locally made gifts, of sustainable materials. Herbal soaps and salves, books from local presses with local authors, photos that communicate sense of local place are all better options than t shirts, favors or supplies made out of country by unverified labor practices.
- Use Warren Wilson-made products when possible.
- If you hold your event during the day, only use as much lighting as you need.
- Check to see if your light fixtures have either CFL’s or LED lights.
- Warren Wilson’s carbon footprint from events is already offset with our purchase of 100% Renewable Energy Credits for electric use each year.
- Calculate the carbon footprint of the event travel – for the attendees and the speakers - and either purchase carbon offsets via nativeenergy.com to offset the event's CO2 emissions or suggest to attendees and speakers that they purchase offsets for their travel.
- If you encourage participants to offset their carbon footprint for the event, include this information at the event website. Recommend a site like nativeenergy.com for offsets.
- Encourage the use of alternative transportation while on campus.Use signage on campus to ease foot or bike travel from one location to another. Provide information about public transportation in the area including bus routes and schedules. Encourage carpooling to the event.
- Make sure the room temperature for your event is comfortable – not too cold, not too hot.
- Develop an audio/video tape of your event and post it at your website so that people who choose not to travel may view the speakers afterwards.