A “green” event is an one that utilizes environmentally and socially responsible methods to the greatest extent practical.  It often includes measures to reduce energy and water use, use local food or other products, support alternative transportation, provide composting and recycling at the event location(s) and educates event participants on what measures were taken and why.  A lot has happened since 2009 when University Events started working to find ways to produce what is now referred to as 'sustainable events.'

1.  Use real plates, flatware and glassware so that there is no service waste at all. 
2.  Rent glassware and select menus that do not require plates.
3.  Ask guests to bring their own coffee cups and fill up at the event.
4.  Watch out for promotional products that create extra waste.  Consider using your gift item to reduce waste, such as giving a reusable personal cooler instead of having catering put the lunch in a traditional box.

Read the collaboratively produced document "Guide for Low Waste Events:  Smart Solutions for Events at OSU"

  • University Catering knows which items can be composted and they will compost leftover food waste once they get back to the kitchen.  Get them involved in your project early to select menus that highlight locally produced and in season products so that the carbon footprint for actual food production is kept to a minimum.

 If you’re interested in reducing energy and water use, or curious about how alternative transportation methods can support your event, you can also contact the OSU Sustainability Office.

Eat Free at OSU

Decide during the planning process if there is interest on offering leftover food to @EatFreeOSU.  This decision will allow you to announce that free food is available for a limited amount of time after your event, preventing waste and improving food security on OSU's Corvallis campus.  It is based on a student-run Twitter account.  Learn more about the program.

Inform your caterer during the ordering process that you intend to offer any leftovers through @EatFreeOSU.  You will also need to inform the venue of your intentions.

  • Generally leftovers are offered for 30 minutes at the end of the event.  You will need to adjust the event clearing time that you schedule with catering to allow for this.  Note that safe food handling practices state that food may be out for no more than a total of four hours, so your offering to @EatFreeOSU must happen within this period (e.g. if lunch is set out at noon, all food must be distributed by 4 p.m. to be considered 'safe'.  If you store leftover food in a refrigerator the clock does not reset.)
  • If you are using china, you will need to request that catering brings disposable plates.  There may be additional charges for these supplies.  You can also provide your own plates/containers for this step, if desired.

If leftovers are shelf stable (meaning that heating/cooling is not required such as for cookies) you may transfer items to platters that you provide, which would allow catering to clear before the 30 minute window of offering has concluded.  Please inform the building manager if you are leaving food items, and work with them in defining a clean-up plan.  As an alternative, these platters could be taken to a location that is accessible to students, such as the HSRC, which offers a longer window of opportunity for them to be consumed.

ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT:  Bring plates/containers/platters if this is part of your plan.  Be ready to tweet to @eatfreeOSU 15-20 minutes before the event ends.  In your tweet specify the location of the food (room number, outside in the hall, etc.), the type of food (or better yet, post a picture!) and the time that the food will be available.  See examples of what others post so that you can have your post crafted and ready to go.  Assign someone to take on this task, and to make the determination that there is enough left over, before posting.

  • Watch the video (33 minutes) on how to produce a sustainable event at OSU.  This is an older video and is posted for archival purposes only.
  • Get the presentation notes from Training Days 2009:  Greening your event - this is an older session and is posted for archival purposes only.