Posted December 3, 2010 by Elizabeth Stringer 

May Your Season be Green

It’s that time of year again. Plans for holiday parties to celebrate family, friends, coworkers, and students are underway. And you can help the party you are planning or attending be a little more eco-friendly this year. Here are some tips for making the season green.

  • Make your own decorations. Buying holiday decorations at the store may be easy, but it can be expensive and unnecessary. Take a look around campus to see what décor you may already have. Leaves, holly, fir tree boughs, shells, and even that plant sitting on your desk can be used to spruce up the party scene.  
  • Sport eco-wear. Think green when it comes to clothes. Pick out a vintage outfit or choose an eco-friendly shop or designer if you want something new. You can even theme the party around clothing—such as an ugly holiday sweater party. Encourage students to dig in their parents’ closet or head to the local thrift shop to find the perfect “bad” outfit.  
  • Turn down the lights. Not all the lights need to be on; lower the light levels to conserve energy and money while setting the mood for the event. You could even consider purchasing organic candles.  
  • Moderate the beer intake. If your campus allows alcohol to be served at the holiday party, just be careful when consuming. It is a relaxed environment, but you are still in the presence of coworkers and possibly students or your boss. And if you do have control over what alcohol is served, consider going green and adding organic beer to the mix.  
  • Stay cool. When you pack several people in one room, the temperature will maintain itself. If anything, it may be stuffy. Turn down your thermostat so the heat doesn’t kick on during the party—helping to save money, the environment, and potentially sweat from accumulating on your brow.  
  • Recycle. Ensure there are plenty of recycling containers in the room—at least one next to each trash can. You don’t want to be the one digging through the disposed food to retrieve the tossed recyclables.  
  • Go local. If the gathering is a pitch in, try to incorporate as many local ingredients in your dish as possible and encourage others to do the same. Or if you are working with your university or union catering department, make sure to choose any green food options offered.  
  • Encourage eco-travel. If you know several of your students live in apartment complexes near one another, suggest they come to the party together. Ask those living on campus not to drive. And if you happen to live near a coworker, offer to carpool to work on the day of the party as you will both be staying late.

What sort of green ideas are being incorporated at your holiday party?  

Adapted from http://planetgreen.discovery.com/work-connect/green-holiday-party-tips.html 

Elizabeth Stringer

Elizabeth Stringer is the Senior Manager of Marketing & Communication at ACUI.

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