Each year as commencement winds down, the Yale Alumni Association (AYA) welcomes back graduates for their fifth through 65th year reunions. Since 2012, the Yale College Reunions have received platinum-level green event certification for their efforts to reduce environmental and social impacts.
Event organizers at Yale can get recognized for the sustainability of their events through the Green Event Certification process provided by the Yale Office of Sustainability. Certification levels are awarded based on the sustainability of an event’s communication, materials, catering, and transportation. Yale College Reunions has been awarded platinum, the highest certification level, for the past six years.
To reduce paper waste, AYA emailed promotional material and provided online registration for the fifth through 35th reunions instead of having paper registration. For the 40th through 65th reunions, postcards were sent rather than multi-page follow ups. Additionally, AYA limited the number of hard copies organizations could provide alumni encouraging signs as alternatives, and insisted on the use of 100 percent recycled paper. Attendees are encouraged to return name tag holders and lanyards for reuse, and are provided with a mobile optimized website instead of a paper program.
At least half of the food served is vegetarian, local, and/or organic, the serving ware is sustainable, and attendees are even encouraged to bring their own. Furthermore, AYA worked with Yale Dining Services to create new signage to help guests with composting and recycling.
Attendees are also encouraged to take advantage of alternative transportation options. For instance, AYA asked guests to park their cars during their stay and use the reunion shuttle service instead.
“We are so pleased that the Yale College Reunions have shown such great leadership in sustainable practices over the past few years,” says Amber Garrard, senior manager in the Yale Office of Sustainability. “It sends an important message to alumni about sustainability priorities within the University.
Yale is committed to building a more sustainable world. By doing what we do best—integrating science, the humanities, and our community—Yale creates, tests and adopts innovative solutions to the environmental and social challenges we all face.