Like all elements of event design, advanced planning and comfortable timelines help you to bring the best ideas to fruition. Unfortunately the mayhem of last minute event management tends to lead us towards wasteful behaviors. Think ahead, and think as green as you can...every bit helps. Below are some ideas (please send additional suggestions our way and we will share them with others).
When you can, offer pitchers of tap water, and compostable cups to your guests and presenters instead of wasteful disposable water bottles (with lousy tasting water!). A clean slice of fresh lemon in the pitcher can make your offering seem thoughtful and welcoming. South Hadley water has been rated among the top 5% of all water drinking systems in Massachusetts.
At outdoor events when you want to encourage folks to stay hydrated, promote the use of refillable water containers, by having a large water supply for refilling available to them.
MHC has an extensive and well-conceived recycling program. You can request easily identifiable recycling bins for all of your events.
When printing programs for an event, consider printing enough for only 1/2 or 1/3 of the audience and ask ushers to encourage guests to share the program (and of course to recycle them on the way out). If you have multiple nights of a show - create a collection spot on the way out to re-use as many programs as possible. If the elements of the program (program line-up, thank you to sponsors, etc.) are simple enough to put up on 1 or 2 easel boards, consider that strategy instead of individually printed programs. And of course print on recycled paper.
Most events require some shopping for decorations, props, costumes, lights, etc. Shop smartly!
- Look for durable & reusable products with minimal packaging.
- Consider ways that you can share items with other orgs for multiple events, reducing waste and cutting costs.
- See the section on Eco-friendly Biodegradable Dining Ware above.
- Shop at Thrift stores and Re-use stores to save money and waste.
Food for your event
Exercise green planning when designing your food and snack menus, making purchases, and cleaning up.
- Look for locally grown & seasonably available foods when at the store.
- Purchase conservative quantitites to reduce waste.
- Use compostable serviceware (see above) and compost all food waste.
Going Low-tech and using Alternative Power Sources
Can you run your meeting or event using less power? Are all of the electrical technologies really necessary for your program? Can any or all of the power needs for your event be either eliminated or supplied by alternative power sources like Pedal Power or Solar Power? It takes planning but it can be fun, educational, and environmentally responsible. Consider researching alternatives with the Environmental Health experts on our campus.
Closing up and Cleaning Up your Space
At the end of an event, even when everyone is dragging and tired, continue to encourage best practices.
- Make sure all windows and doors are closed against drafts.
- Turn off all electrical equipment and lights if you are the last one out of a room.
- Find a public recycling area in the building for all bottles/cans, paper and boxes.
- Burn Calories, Not Kilowatts: Use the stairs, not the elevator whenever possible.
- Don't use automatic door openers unless you need to.
- Don't leave vehicles idling while loading and unloading gear.
Take advantage of the burgeoning opportunities to promote your events electronically and use mainly paperless methods.
- Facebook groups and ads.
- Direct messaging via e-mail to specific audiences - don't become a spammer that folks will just ignore.
- Be sure your event is properly registered and you request a listing on the MHC Master Calendar and the 5 College Calendar.
- Shout outs: Stand up in the Dining Hall and announce your upcoming event. Ask for time at the mic before another event gets started. Ask for permission to make an announcement in class or post your info on a classroom blackboard.
- Go door to door with a group from your event team to personally invite students, staff or faculty to your program.
- Chalk the sidewalks with colorful ads.
- Post your event to the MHC Gateway using the"Add an Announcement" feature. The Gateway announcements have become a popular and frequently visited resource for campus happenings, with an average of 1500 unique student views per day. Don't miss this effective and eco-friendly way to promote your event. This can be used most effectively to announce the beginning of ticket sales or in the week immediately prior to the event.
When creating printed materials or banners and the like:
- Use as much recycled material as possible.
- Design banners to be re-used if at all possible (add the date on a banner as an attachment for repeating events).
- Print flyers and table tents for a series of programs instead of just one.
Take this opportunity to explore alternative means of travel for guests and presenters. Private cars for 1 or 2 folks are by far the most consumptive. Encourage carpooling and other modes of transportation to your event: trains, buses, vans, and especially local public transit. Consider posting PVTA schedules at your event or link them to your event e-advertising.
Encourage foot and bicycle transportation whenever feasible! Encourage friends to walk each other from point to point, for safety and camaraderie in greening their lives!
- PVTA the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, operates bus lines that service the 5 college area, Holyoke and Springfield.
- Amtrak has daily trains from NYC to Amherst or Springfield. Unfortunately, there is no direct Amtrak train service between Springfield, Worcester, and Boston. However, other options abound.
- Springfield is the home of Peter Pan Bus Lines providing service throughout the Northeast corridor.
Local Ground Transport
There are numerous taxis, shuttle and limousine services operating in the area and serving local stops as well as the Springfield trains and Bradley International Airport. You can make some phone numbers available to your guests.
Invite Green Partners to Co-Sponsor Your Event
If you are truly committed to "Going Green" with your event, consider inviting some of the Green Partner orgs and departments on campus to co-sponsor your program. Expect to be challenged to really 'green up' but also expect additional enthusiasm, expertise and innovative ideas to become a part of your program. Take on the challenge! Host a Green Event.
Also consider using your popular events to help fundraise for and promote the ideas of Environmental Stewardship. Contribute to planning and executing environmental campaigns and programs on our campus!
- MHC Green Living Council
- Environmental Stewardship Working Groups
- Center for the Environment
Thank you to the MHC Miller Worley Center for the Environment and the Office of Environmental Stewardship for their information and resources.