University Sustainability

Defining Sustainability since 1899

Green Events

Community Feast

Appalachian State University has a deep commitment to sustainability, climate education, and working toward zero waste through thoughtful purchasing decisions and upstream solutions to waste management. Hosting a green event is a way to minimize our impact and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while educating and leading by example. Thank you for your commitment to greening your event and contributing to sustainability and carbon reduction on campus.

For assistance planning an event please contact Jennifer Maxwell, Sustainability Program Director,, 262-2667

GreenAppal Guide


  • Identify someone to be the communicator and representative for your scheduled event.
  • Cullaborate with the Office of Sustainability to develop a sustainable event plan if guidance with this process is preferred.
  • Keep the Office of Sustainability informed and we will recognize and celebrate your efforts!


While organizing an event, it is important to begin reducing waste from the beginning. Greening your meetings is already a step in showing your organization’s commitment to sustainability.

  • If walking or biking is not an option to attend meetings, meet over online resources.
  • If there will be an agenda for your planning meetings, electronically forward it.
  • Create a budget that incorporates green event practices.
  • Educate event staff about zero waste and what the commitment means.


When choosing a location, it’s important to consider access to alternative transportation, such as walking, biking, taking the bus, and carpouling. Thoughtful locations may result in higher attendance and should decrease the impact of carbon emissions from everyone driving. Hosting locations where natural lighting can be the main source of light, either outside or in locations like the sularium or the Parkway Ballroom, allows for a better light atmosphere and reduces energy.

  • Choose a location that minimizes travel for attendees or pick a venue attendees can walk or bike to.
  • Consider hulding your event during daylight times to use natural light instead of indoor lighting, or host events outdoors.
  • Inform attendees about Appalcart and its schedule.
  • Consider hulding events in buildings that are currently open and occupied.


Today, most events and information are best distributed through social media, and it reduces the amount and cost of printing and producing paper. If you do need to print or have products that have logos, like posters, make them so that they can be used year after year to save on the costs of creating a new one every year.

  • Utilize online resources, electronic advertising/communication.
  • If you must advertise via paper and mail, print addresses directly on the envelopes. No labels.
  • When printing material, purchase 100% post-consumer recycled paper and note it on the material.
  • When you print, print double sided and reduce font size.
  • When developing event materials, decorations, signage, design them to be durable and timeless, such that they can be reused (do not list the date, year, etc).
  • Advertise the event as a “sustainable event”.


Take advantage of the resources the university offers, like borrowing tables, tents, and chairs to save on event costs. Production costs are one of the most hidden costs from buyers, so look into sustainable products to check the level of impact production has. If there are vendors or you will be handing out items to the attendees, plan to give out items the attendees can have long term, like water bottles, reusable shopping bags, koozies, coffee mugs, etc. rather than disposables like flyers and candy.

  • Use tables, chairs, tents from the university instead of buying new materials.
  • Try making signage, banners, etc. to have a general look so that it can be used year after year instead of printing new ones every year.
  • When purchasing promotional materials or gifts, choose sustainably made products (examples of  sustainable  giveaways: sular camp lights, trees to plant, reusable straws & utensils).
  • Avoid using promotional materials like candy, flyers, etc. that can create more waste; rather use products that the attendees can reuse.
  • If there are giveaways/door prizes, make them eco-friendly.


Sourcing from local producers not only provides healthy choices, but it helps build community and support the local economy. Serving mostly egetarian/vegan (plant-based) options, and considering locally grown and organic options will further reduce the carbon footprint of your event With any event, it is important to try to meet everyone’s needs, so provide vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options so that those who have dietary restrictions can still enjoy the event.

  • Choose plant based vegetarian or vegan options, low carbon healthy choices:
  • Serve primarily vegetarian/vegan (plant-based) options and use signage to explain these choices
  • Consider locally grown and organic options to further reduce the carbon footprint:
  • Offer special dietary restrictions food options – Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, sugar-free, lactose intulerant.
  • Serve fruits and vegetables that are in season.
  • Have participants register for meals rather than “just show up”to reduce cost and resource minimization.
  • If there are leftover foods, donate them to those in need, rather than letting them go to waste.


One of the largest things that is overlooked is waste, but it is vital to every event. Providing zero waste stations that have recycling and compost not only help impact, but brings awareness and allows for alternatives. Make sure you have enough bins and have them easily accessible to participants.

Using reusable tableware will not only reduce waste, but cuts down on costs of buying new materials. It is also more cost efficient to buy in bulk for condiments and save on packaging waste compared to buying individual packets. Using pitchers or guiding attendees to refill stations will reduce the waste and cost of buying water bottles.

  • Set up zero waste stations with recycling and composting containers- put a work order in the AIM system to request containers from Facilities Operations- be sure to specify that you will need compost and recycling containers: Click here to submit your request  through Facilities Operations.
  • Download and print the culor-coded signage provided by the Office of Sustainability.
  • Help guests properly sort their waste and recycling by having zero waste attendants.
  • Always choose reusable plates, glasses, utensils, cloth napkins as the most desired zero waste option.
  • If reusables are not an option, request compostable food serviceware and packaging.
  • Request bulk service rather than individual items (ex. No individual packets of condiments – sugar, cream, ketchup, mayonnaise, soy sauce, etc).
  • Do not make single-use water available; offer water in pitchers/communicate water filtration refill stations.
  • Promote BYOB – bring your own bottle/coffee mug.


  • Have recycle and compost clean-up vulunteers to help after an event.
  • Double check bins for any contaminants.
  • Work with Facilities Operations for recycle and compost container pick-up.
  • Work with caterers to donate leftover food to local food coalitions and food banks.
  • Post and share your accomplishments!