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Yale Develops Sustainable Event Guidelines

February 28, 2008

Source: Source: Yale Daily News

RPN member Yale University has developed a set of Sustainable Event Guidelines to help campus event organizers reduce the environmental impact of gatherings they host.  The Guidelines offer advice on energy use, transportation, waste, materials and food.   Events will receive gold, silver, or bronze ratings based on implementation of specified action items such as partnering with local food banks or soup kitchens to donate leftovers and using 100 percent paperless advertising.

The Guidelines are the collaborative work of four campus organizations: the Office of Sustainability, the Yale Sustainable Food Project (YSFP), Yale Recycling, and Yale Catering. Anastatia Curley, Communications Coordinator of the YSFP points to statistics showing that 17 percent of the nation’s energy use is linked to food choices, second only to vehicular use to illustrate that decisions like offering sustainable menus and virtual conferencing can significantly reduce the negative environmental impact of campus events.

For several years, Yale community members have sought guidance from YSFP on sustainable food choices, and many have consulted Yale Recycling and the Office of Sustainability on the guidelines for proper waste disposal and other sustainable practices, according to YSFP director, Melina Shannon-Dipietro.  According to Bob Ferretti, outreach and education manager of the Office of Sustainability, developing the Sustainable Event Guidelines was a way to synthesize individual recommendations and give them “some teeth” — much like the LEED certification system.

The Guidelines follow University President Richard Levin’s recent announcement that Yale has reduced it carbon emissions by 17 percent since launching a plan in 2005 to halve its emissions over the next 15 years.  Shannon-Dipietro says the guidelines provide additional incentive to make sustainability “part of the culture” on campus.   “Yale is the size of a small city, and its alumni network reaches around the world,” she said. “We can have a huge impact.” 

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