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Green Events Guide

Simple Steps with Huge Impact

For more information on sustainability at Swarthmore, including helpful waste sorting resources and guidelines, visit the Sustainability website.

Download a PDF of the Green Events and Sustainable Catering Guide.

This Green Events Guide provides information for event organizers to reduce the waste and carbon footprint of their events. 

Before Your Event


  • Use digital communication ( social media or email) to promote the event. 
  • Communicate beforehand whether this is a green event or a sustainable event.
  • If you have to print materials, do so double-sided and on reused/recycled paper; otherwise, tell your guests to bring personal devices instead.
  • Choose sustainable and reusable decorations and signage for the event.


  • Book your events on Swat Central with the specific start and end times; heat and A/C schedules are based on those times.  
  • When booking space on Swat Central, request waste bins, especially compost bins, for locations where they are not normally available.
  • Request zero waste support from a Green Advisor by contacting

Purchasing and Catering

  • Aim for a "plant-forward" menu.
  • Ask your caterer for reusable or compostable wares.
  • Have people RSVP ahead of time so you know how much food to order to reduce food waste at your event.
  • Request compostable utensils, plates, and cups from the catering provider or buy compostable tableware at the Swarthmore Campus and Community Store.
  • Ask guests to BYOB (Bring Your Own Everything), which includes reusable utensils, mugs, and plates.
  • Request zero waste support from a Green Advisor by contacting

During Your Event

  • Make sure waste receptacles are conveniently placed.
  • If not already displayed on waste receptacles, put up the College's newest waste disposal signage
  • Use reusable nametags and decorations when possible.  
  • Remind guests of sustainability intentions and announce this is a green event.
  • Explain to attendees how to sort their waste.
  • Encourage guests to take leftovers with them and have a plan to deal with leftover food not taken by guests.

After Your Event

  • Check that guests have properly sorted their
    waste. Re-sort if necessary.
  • Turn everything off when not in use, e.g., lights, computers, etc.
  • Send a thank-you note to guests letting them know how successful their waste reduction efforts were!
  • Post about your event on social media! Make sure to tag your friends.
  • Consider collecting data from your events, if possible.
  • Reflect on what worked well and what can be improved upon for next time!

If you have any questions or need assistance in planning a sustainable event, please reach out to: or