Clubs and Events

Overview:

In Fall 2018, the Office of Sustainability launched its Sustainable Offices and Events programs. These initiatives provide specific action items to staff members on how to create more inclusive, environmentally conscious and socially responsible. However, no such resource existed for student event planners. This Campus as a Learning Lab project sought to address this gap by creating student-focused sustainable event planning resources. This would allow student clubs to determine if the events they're hosting are sustainable or not.

The goal of the Sustainable Events Checklist project was to update the current Sustainable Events Checklist, which was initially created for staff event planners into a more student-user friendly version for Student’s Union (SU) student clubs. While completing this checklist, there were two key stakeholders that played an essential role: The Students’ Union and The Sustainability Resource Centre. This project was inspired by the desire to increase student awareness regarding the resources and information available to them to ensure they are hosting a sustainable event. Club executives had expressed that the current checklist was intimidating, time consuming, and required large amount of funding to satisfy the requirements. The revised checklist developed from the project will foster behavioral change and help incorporate sustainable thinking into the event planning decision-making process. The goal of the checklist is to provide simple tools that the 300 clubs on campus, the SU and its club divisions can use to ensure they organize sustainable events.

Outcomes:

  • Discussions with campus stakeholders around how to reach goals of making the checklist more user-friendly for SU clubs
  • Key findings from an analysis of the current checklist included removing or adjusting questions that are not-applicable to small school clubs. For example, sections in the checklist pertaining to catering and staff participation were removed.  
  • Educate event planners and attendees with the sustainable events checklist, so that they can implement sustainable practices into their daily lives.
  • The checklist puts the primary focus on the event attendees rather than the planners, allowing club executives to continue to use the checklist for future events. Compared to the original checklist, the modified checklist does not require as much time to integrate sustainability into the event planning process. 

Next Steps:

  • Release the Sustainability Events Checklist to all SU clubs and to monitor its effects on sustainable initiatives.
  • Use the feedback from monitoring the checklist to improve and build upon the checklist.
  • Release surveys to learn what initiatives clubs are taking to host sustainable events and their understanding of sustainability across the campus.  
  • Encourage the future progression of the sustainability checklist and increased sustainable awareness across campus.