• Sustainability Center

Green Event Guide

The Green Event Guide is designed to implement sustainable practices and create a more eco-friendly environment for students, faculty, and the CSUN community. While some of the green aspects below may not be feasible to implement at your event, by doing what you can, you can work towards improving your future events. For more information contact AS Sustainability at (818) 677-4262 or we would love to offer our help in making your events more sustainable!

Outreach, Communication and Marketing

  • Use technology instead of paper to spread the message. Set up an event website, email invitations and create online sign-up lists. CSUN MIND screens are a great way to reach out to students and faculty interested in on-campus events. You can also use tablets or laptops for surveys, social media, QR codes, PowerPoint.
  • Chalk on sidewalks is another fun way to catch people’s attention and get them excited for the event.
  • If paper is a must, use post-consumer recycled paper with soy or vegetable-based inks, and avoid lamination or bright colors. Present information in the most compact manner possible, and don’t buy large quantities that will end up in the trash. Double-sided fliers or printing on the back of scratch paper is another option.
  • Reusing is one of the best practices for greening events. Order banners, posters and organic cotton shirts without the date for annual events.
  • Host giveaways with recycled content while avoiding single-use items and excess packaging. Buy locally or give gift cards to local businesses.

Tabling, Displays and Decorations

  • Repurpose items, such as cardboard and bottles, to make signs, games, paintings, plant holders and other decorations.
  • Reuse table cloths and decorations, or borrow them from friends and family.
  • Avoid paper fliers that most likely will not be read. Offer email sign-up sheets for those seeking more information.
  • Avoid strobe lights or any lighting that needs to be plugged in. Better yet, throw your event during the day and use Earth’s natural lighting.
  • If things must be plugged, in consider renting or purchasing a biodiesel generator for future events.

Food and Beverages

  • Use washable dishware, reusable plates, cups, cloth napkins and utensils that participants can keep. Use compostable recycled content or recyclable service ware. Also, consider finger foods that don’t require plates and utensils.
  • For beverages, use reusable cups or water bottles that are #1 recyclable plastic. Alternatively, you can have people bring their own reusable bottles or order bottles for the event that guests can take home as a giveaway.
  • Avoid individually packaged items like condiments, and use pump dispensers. Buy products in bulk, and avoid Styrofoam.
  • Serve meals buffet style, and include food that doesn’t require heating or refrigeration. If you’re ordering food, choose places that are nearby, plan quantities carefully and avoid individually wrapped items. Choose organic or locally grown products, and donate leftovers.

Recycling and Waste

  • Anticipate your waste, and consider what will be thrown away. By knowing what will be thrown away, you can strategically assign different containers for recyclables, compostable items, and waste. Strategically place bins next to trash bins in high traffic areas.
  • Create signage for bins, so your attendees know where to put their recyclables.
  • Color coordinate bins: blue for paper, green for bottles and cans, yellow for compost, and black for trash.
  • If you don’t have recycling receptacles, get creative and use boxes or bags to collect items.
  • Inform guests of recycling opportunities by making announcements throughout the event.

Off-Campus Events, Transportation and Accommodations

  • Choose venues that are close to campus or centrally located, so attendees don’t have to drive long distances.
  • Remind guests about on campus programs such as Rideshare or Zipcar, provided to help CSUN students to make arrangements for carpool and car rentals.
  • Promote other modes of transportation, such as bicycling or commuting by bus.
  • Schedule the event during nonpeak hours.
  • Choose venues and hotels that are environmentally friendly or, contact the venue ahead of time and make recycling arrangements.
  • Rent a bus to transport everyone to the venue. If possible rent a bus that uses alternative fuel.

Conferences and Meetings

  • Consider email, video chat and telephone meetings.
  • Discourage printing and use a projector to display notes or agendas. Instead of printouts, access information via email, flash drives or document sharing programs, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Instead of paper flip charts, use white board and eco-friendly dry erase markers.
  • If paper is needed, print on both sides and use minimum 50 percent post-consumer recycled content paper or print on scratch paper. You can also shrink notes so you can print four pages on one sheet.
  • Use reusable paper clips instead of staples.
  • Use reusable name tags instead of stickers.

Post-Event Considerations

  • Make announcements to remind attendees about greening efforts.
  • Remind the clean-up crew to break down cardboard boxes and store any reusable decorations or table cloths.
  • Consider buying centerpieces that will be reused in the future.
  • Use nontoxic cleaning supplies and cloth rags instead of paper towels.
  • Ask volunteers to help collect and /or sort the recyclables.