Sustainable Events at Charles Sturt University

Events and functions are a great way to communicate, engage, celebrate, and come together across our many campuses and online spaces.  With the potential to reach a broad range of stakeholders, planning events to be more sustainable supports the universities commitment to sustainability. Events can also have the added benefit of engaging even more people to reduce our environmental impact, increase our social reach and lead by example.

Traditionally, many events, particularly those where large numbers of attendee's increase the requirement for productivity during the event. Organisers often utilise a range of low cost, "easy" solutions that have resulted in high levels of waste generation, environmental impacts and 'externalised' the true cost of events and functions.  In this context the term 'externalise' refers to the cost of an action or item being paid for by another group of people/environment.  A good example of this might be using disposable plastic cups for a large event.  They are inexpensive and mean the organisers don't have to worry about washing cups, broken glass or ceramic or pay for staff to handle heavy items.  The "true cost" of single use plastic cups is that they are mostly not recycled, the event organiser may not even need to pay for waste management and these items end up littering outdoor spaces and filling up valuable landfill space.  Its a frightening thought to think of every disposable plastic cup you may have used in your life still exists somewhere!

Our Sustainability Statement recognises we need to build "a world worth living in" and most people understand we can't keep running events and functions without a thought for the wider impacts of our actions.

The Sustainable Event Guide and Checklist have been designed to support your team plan a "greener" event - it isn't designed to be a source of guilt or "the fun police" if you aren't doing everything on the checklist - doing one thing more sustainably is a great first step!

We also love seeing other ideas that people incorporate into their events - we are here to support each other

We also encourage staff and student clubs to get in touch with Sustainability at Charles Sturt if you would like to have a "sustainable events kit' funded to support your next event or function!  Email us today and we can chat about your requirements for a re-usable "Kit" to help reduce single use items at university events.

Most of all - planning a more sustainable event has been shown to be more enjoyed by participants, helps build connection with your audience, demonstrates true commitment "walk the talk" and its easy to start!

Links and other helpful information

Water – please check with CHEERS catering and Sustainability at Charles Sturt if permanent or event specific options are available or can be installed prior to events

Water – portable for events if other options are not available

Canned water as an alternative to plastic (if refillable options are not available)

Alternatives to balloons/single use decorations

Quick Tips for stallholders

  • Use social media and technology to engage your audience and avoid printing.  Eg. Vouchers and coupons can be created and redeemed online.
  • Avoiding “gimmicky” or low value items that will have little use beyond an event, particularly single use plastics and ask suppliers not to wrap items in plastic.  Eg. stress balls,
  • Ask yourself “would I still be using this item in 6 months time?”
  • Plan games and activities that engage your audience rather than just “stuff” to giveaway and attract people to your stands
  • Use higher value items as competition prizes”