Move over LEED, there’s a new certification in town. It’s not just buildings getting a green stamp of approval these days—events are, too. Colleges and universities across the country have begun implementing “certified green events programs” to limit the impact campus events have on the environment.
One institution that started its program just this semester is North Carolina State University. “It’s helping event planners to change their way of thinking,” says David Dean, outreach and communications coordinator for NC State’s Sustainability Office. “It’s helping our events have a positive impact on our community and the environment.”
NC State’s Certified Wolfpack Green program awards points for various green aspects, such as food, waste, marketing, transportation, and energy and water use. Event planners looking to get certified have to calculate their potential energy use and have a plan to offset their carbon emissions. Bonus points are awarded if a service component that betters the community is included and for other innovations that don’t fit in the basic categories.
Events that qualify for the certification are then classified by level: contributor, steward, or champion.
“If you come in at the champion level, then you really are doing some innovative things and thinking forward on your planning,” he says. “It has to start early; it’s not something you can just add on at the end and get some brownie points for. The people who attend your event are going to see it.”
Since the program’s inception, five events have been certified, and Dean says he knows more are in the works and that some departments plan on having all their monthly board meetings certified. For more specifics on Certified Wolfpack Green, visit http://sustainability.ncsu.edu/culture/green-certification.
Others among the growing list of institutions with green event certifications are the University of California, Berkeley, Duke, Emory University (Ga.), Louisiana State University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Santa Clara University (Calif.), and Yale.