Planning Green Events

What Is a Green Event?

A green event is an event that is executed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. This involves taking into account and striving to reduce water and energy usage, waste and greenhouse gas production and limit negative impacts on biodiversity.

Why Host a Green Event?.

Through initiatives like the Eco-Ambassadors program and President Monaco’s Campus Sustainability Council, green events are becoming more common at Tufts and planning a green event is easier than ever. In line with President Monaco’s focus on making Tufts a more sustainable university, it is important that offices take steps towards promoting sustainability in their day to day activities, including events. Between food, advertising, invitations, decorations, and transportation, events are resource intensive. They provide an important opportunity to reduce an office’s impact, help Tufts’ meet the new goals developed by the Tufts Campus Sustainability Council, and even save money!  Use the checklists below to help you organize and plan your green event or simply read through the suggestions and principles on the bottom of this page. If you are interested in learning more about planning green events please see our Green Event Resources page.

Green Event Checklists

Small In-Office Meetings

including staff meetings, project meetings, or small office parties

Large Off-Campus Events

including department retreats, alumni events, conferences, and symposia

Large On-Campus Events

including Homecoming, open houses (Community Day, Jumbo Days), celebrity lectures, alumni events, conferences, and symposia

Formal Meetings

including meetings with other departments or senior administration, events with food/cocktails

Green Event Principles

  1. Reduce any negative environmental impact caused by the event
  2. Support local economy and society through your events purchases and goals
  3. Promote green actions by effectively communicating green aspects of your event
  4. Monitor the success of certain actions in concordance with the green event principles in order to determine which actions are most effective
  5. Encourage participants to continue green practices outside of your event

Ways to reduce the environmental impact of your event


Invite guests by telephone or email rather than by using paper invitations.  If you must use paper, use a postcard format and request paper that is at least 30% post-consumer recycled content printed with vegetable inks.

Water Options

For small office meetings water pitchers should do a good job, but for a larger meeting or event  get a large water dispenser (see the picture to the left) or a cambro (see the picture to the right) in order to provide bottle-free water without the constant need to refill pitchers.




For business meetings, first decide if a face-to-face meeting is necessary. Tufts has rooms on all campuses set up for videoconferencing (for a list of locations, for room-based videoconferencing, please see the UIT website). You can also attend videoconferences through Skype or MOVI (Ask UIT to install MOVI on your computer). Otherwise, choose a central location and encourage guests to use mass transit or carpool. For out-of-town guests flying in, suggest an arrival time which would allow consolidated trips to the airport.  Provide information on environmentally-friendly hotels for your guests.

Food and Service

Buy or request organic, locally grown food as much as possible.  Use reusable utensils and dishes, as well as reusable napkins and tablecloths rather than paper.  Serve beverages in containers such as punch bowls or pitchers, and serve condiments in bulk containers rather than individual packets.  Eliminate plastic stirrers and straws.  Serve buffet style, rather than box-lunch style. Always make sure to send back trays to your caterer. If you let them know ahead of time, they will often come back and pick them up!

Don’t forget to RECYCLE and COMPOST whenever possible!

For more information, check out our Green Event Links and Resources page, which includes information on:

  • Policies and planning guides from other places
  • Finding green hotels
  • Green restaurants and food
  • Deciphering eco-labels
  • Waste
  • Resources Specific to Boston