Describe your implementation:
- in late August, we recruit and train 10 volunteer student event consultants, meetings 1x week
- we promote the Sustainable Event website and certification: targeted outreach to administrators, student activity night, newsletter, social media
- when school starts in early September, we meet with new club executives and event planners to explain the program and offer a brief training
- throughout the year when we hear of large or high-profile events, we reach out to planners to offer our services
- we automate our process as much as possible to keep administrative & material costs low
- send feedback survey to each client, ask for photos
- our student team researches new resources and improves the info
- we work with internal & external suppliers to convey our standards and show there is a market for better alternatives.
- in early 2018 our office announced a McGill wide phase out of the sale and distribution of single use water bottles at events. Although planners face logistical issues, we work with the bottle water ban project to ensure that people understand what the policy means, connect it to the larger sustainability vision on campus, and offer low-cost reusable water bottles.
KEY SUCCESS FACTORS:
- a voluntary checklist is a nonthreatening way for planners to learn more about sustainability.
- student volunteers are very key, since they provide the increased capacity to meet with all of the planners. This is a great learning & leadership opportunity for them, and builds their confidence.
- by including social sustainability (e.g. accessibility, equity), we catch the interest and support of planners who aren't necessary interested in environmental responsibility, but social responsibility. Vice versa: the program educates environmentalists the social sustainability aspects.
- we explain the benefits to planners: increased event participation, recognition, $ saved, etc
McGill event planners: while developing the materials, we met with event planners to understand their processes, key barriers, and kinds of resources and info would be helpful in various formats.
Checklist actions: we met with various stakeholders during the checklist development to make sure the actions were realistic, measurable, and actually priorities. For example, we met with equity groups, procurement, climate expert, student leaders, etc.
Social equity: although most of the volunteer event consultants study environmental science, they often lack concrete understanding of how to promote equitable and accessible events. We work with other McGill groups (e.g. Black Students Network, Social & Diversity Office) to receive trainings and learn how to discuss these sensitive and complex issues with event planners.
Procurement: We work with external suppliers to show them that there is a demand for more sustainable materials and socially responsible businesses, while following McGill Supplier Code of Conduct. For example, we work with an external composting company to make sure they understand the university's specific needs and invoicing system to reduce administrative barriers.