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Host Sustainable Events

Faculty, staff, and student groups can help Northwestern become more sustainable by considering the environmental impact of meetings and events. The following guidelines and resources can help make campus events greener.

Sustainable dining options checklist for events


  • Ask for sustainable menu options with local, seasonal and organic meats, fruits and vegetables.
  • Specify that you would like sustainably harvested seafood and/or free range meats.
  • Specify condiments in bulk (sugar, salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, peanut butter, jam, cream cheese, and butter) rather than individually packaged portions.
  • Request pitchers of tap water and rather than bottled water.
  • Request organic, shade-grown coffee and tea.
  • Always request Fair Trade products. Fair Trade products include coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa products, and bananas.
  • If possible, donate leftover food to NU Campus Kitchens, an NU student led hunger relief organization.


  • Specify reusable (non-disposable) utensils, cups, and dishes.
  • Request linen napkins and tablecloths.sustainNU volunteer educating about waste
  • Provide recycling at your events and consider whether composting is an option. For help with recycling or composting, email sustainNU at and provide your event title, time, location, menu, and expected number of attendees.
  • If disposable plates and utensils must be used, avoid polystyrene/Styrofoam. For disposable cups, request a recyclable one, and if composting is an option, specify compostable plates.
  • Ensure that food is served in a way that minimizes waste (i.e. buffet style instead of individually wrapped meals or boxed lunches).
  • Provide signage educating attendees about sustainable food choices, recycling, and composting.

For more information

Green Office resources

Additional information about hosting more sustainable events is available through the Green Office Certification program.