Green Meeting Options
At Loyola University Chicago we are committed to providing our clients with an environmentally responsible campus, venues, housing options, and catering. A green event or meeting incorporates environmental considerations to minimize the negative impact on the environment. Green events are about increasing economic and environmental efficiency by minimizing the use of resources and reducing the amount of waste produced from event activities.
LEED Certified Buildings on-campus
With more green roofs than any other campus in the Midwest, Loyola University Chicago has seven buildings that are LEED certified or pending LEED certification.
- Cuneo Hall (Gold)
- Arnold J. Damen Student Center (Silver)
- Norville Athletics Center (Silver)
- Information Commons (Silver)
- Halas Sports Center (pending Silver)
- de Nobili Hall (pending Silver)
- Institute of Environmental Sustainability/ San Francisco Hall (pending Gold)
Planning a Sustainable Event
Planning a green event involves looking at the decisions you already make in a new light. The main categories to consider are:
- Venue: Selecting the most convenient, sustainable location for the space, and LEED certified building, if possible.
- Housing: Selecting a convenient housing option that minimizes attendee travel and promotes energy efficiency.
- Transportation: Promoting and providing alternatives to single occupancy vehicles.
- Food & Beverage: Ensuring catering and area dining options satisfy your sustainability criteria.
- Communications: Reducing paper waste from programs and materials, reusing signage and using efficient audio/visual equipment.
This document will help you by outlining ideas to consider implementing, and stimulating questions you can ask of event contractors and providers. Please note, although each event is unique, we have created a checklist to be used in planning your event. Although not every action may be relevant to your event, see what efforts you can make towards having a green event.
- Choose a location which minimizes the requirement for travel, particularly by plane or car, for the largest number of people attending.
- Coordinate with the meeting venue to ensure that lights, electrical equipment and air conditioning will be turned off when rooms are not in use.
- Place a work order with the Facilities Management team via Conference Services (email@example.com) to set-up recycling and trash bins at the event. State the types of recycling bins needed: Paper, Containers or both. Compostables (plate waste and compostable serving ware can be taken to a drop off collection bin at the Lake Shore Campus starting September 1, 2012.
- Ask if venues have environmental policies and practices of their own, such as using energy and water-efficient devices and fixtures, low VOC paints and natural cleaning products.
- Find and recommend hotel or lodging accommodations within walking distance of the venue or use a venue which also offers accommodation.
- Choose a LEED certified building with a green roof, if possible.
- Encourage guests to turn off lights when not in room.
- Request that guests reuse linens/ towels for the duration of their stay.
- Inquire about organic toiletries, if possible.
- Reduce the distances traveled by speakers, participants and attendees by choosing a venue and hotel that are close to an airport and within walking distance of each other.
- Find a venue close to public transportation, provide transit cards and promote the available transit links.
- If venue is not within walking distance of public transportation, offer a shuttle service or encourage taxi or car-sharing.
- For those traveling to the event by car or taxi, encourage ride-sharing by setting up ride-share websites or lists to coordinate taxi trips, such as from the airport.
- Provide a link to a map and show how to reach the venue on foot.
- Have maps of walking trails and local parks available and suggest off-site events and tours that involve event attendees in the area’s natural environment with minimal impact.
- Produce a video, webinar (go to/webex) or live teleconference to present an alternative to traveling to the event at all.
Food & Beverage
- Request invitees to RSVP to better estimate the actual number of attendees
- Include sustainability clauses in all contracts with your caterer or food & beverage provider.
- Ask if the caterer adds a 5% or 10% increase of food to the estimated headcount you provide, and adjust accordingly.
- Ensure all event staff, including caterers and bartenders, are trained on what is expected and how to separate recycling and composting into the appropriate containers.
- Ask for reusable plates, glassware, cutlery, tablecloths and napkins.
- If disposables are unavoidable, make sure to ask for paper recyclables and biodegradable plastics.
- Loyola has a No Bottled Water Policy, so bottled water will not be on the menu with Loyola's catering services starting August 1, 2012. Instead, serve fresh tap water in pitchers or water coolers with reusable or compostable cups.
- Order items such as chocolate, coffee and tea only from fair trade sources, if available.
- Include vegetarian and vegan meals, and have meals planned using local, fresh, seasonal produce. Reduce the amount of meat served.
- Serve fish only from sustainably managed sources that are harvested in a manner that does not lead to over-fishing or depletion of exploited populations.
- Serve food buffet style and condiments in bulk, rather than individually packaged.
- Recover food scraps, compostable food serviceware, and food-soiled paper for composting.
- Have food & beverage providers post signs showing attendees how to dispose of materials appropriately.
- Arrange to have leftover, unserved food donated to a local food bank or soup kitchen.
- Sample Food & Beverage Vendor Language to use
For more information please contact Loyola Catering at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.508.6035.
- Use electronic technology and media to cut down your paper use.
- Create an event website to offer registration electronically and to provide up to date information without the use of paper.
- Advertise and communicate using email, and include environmental messages within the pre-event marketing.
- Encourage attendees to bring their own reusable drink container.
- Reduce paper use by distributing agendas and handouts electronically before the event to avoid duplicate printing.
- Anything that must be printed should be double-sided with narrow margins on non-glossy, 100% recycled paper, using vegetable-based inks.
- Use reusable name badges, rather than event-specific ones, and collect them at the end.
- Avoid putting the date on reusable signs and display materials and collect these items after the event for future use.
- Suggest exhibitors get booth materials from providers carrying sustainable displays, and limit giveaways and materials in courtesy bags.
- If bags are needed, use reusable organic cotton, jute or recycled bags rather than plastic, and advertise the benefits on the bags.
- Make attendees aware of the sustainability measures being taken to improve the image and reputation of the organization and to protect the environment with information in the program, at announcements and as part of any necessary signage.
- Decide which certification organizations to recommend as links from http://greentravelerguides.com/tips/green-certifiers
- Offer attendees the opportunity to provide feedback electronically or on a recycled paper form, preferably before they leave the event.
- To improve transparency, produce a post-event evaluation and email attendees and other stakeholders to inform them of the successes and areas for improvement.