Green Events: Give your guests a reason to be sustainable

September 19, 2012

Before the meal was selected or a table was set at the annual ASU Staff Appreciation Barbeque last spring, organizers decided a “green event” was the way to go. The ASU Staff Council wanted to reduce waste destined for the landfill and educate staffers about ASU’s sustainability practices.

Event planners reached out to Betty Lombardo, who facilitates Green Events at ASU and is manager of University Sustainability Practices. Download Full Image

“Betty gave us ideas, suggestions and processes that we had not previously considered regarding how to ‘green’ an event,” said Patricia Rosciano, co-chair of the Staff Appreciation Barbeque and assistant to the vice president of ASU’s Office of Human Resources.

Barbeque organizers took numerous “green” measures before and during their event including:

• distribution of electronic invitations, agendas and programs
• encouraged staff to walk, take a shuttle or Zipcar to the event
• avoided Styrofoam by using eco-friendly service ware
• delivered an informational packet to caterers and vendors that included a sustainability section
• enlisted the Green Team to inform attendees about sustainability and proper recycling practices

“The caterer served locally grown, in-season food on compostable plates,” Lombardo said. Bulk-beverage containers were available for patrons to fill their own cups or mugs, and recyclable cups were on site that day. Disposable water bottles were not made available.”

The barbeque achieved a gold certification and was one of three large events that the ASU Staff Council held last year. The council is planning more Green Events for 2013.

“I completely recommend hosting a green event!” Rosciano said. “Betty does an excellent job, and it’s the right thing to do.”  

The ASU Staff Appreciation Barbeque not only garnered a gold certification, but also inspired Michele Nobles to host a Green Event. She is a business operations specialist for Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies (QESST), a part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“Being sustainable is important to ASU and to me personally,” Nobles said. “Our unit is directly involved in sustainable solar research, so we knew our event attendees would be willing to help.”

Nobles and Lombardo worked together to plan the event. They quickly decided that printed promotional materials would be kept to a minimum. Event communications included a PowerPoint slide and an announcement on the group’s website.

To ensure that Green Event food and food service standards were being met, Nobles worked closely with caterers. “They were very willing to accommodate our requests,” she said.

Reusable signage adorned the catering, eating and recycling areas. Event attendees received take-away promotional items that were only made from recycled or recyclable materials.

“Hosting a Green Event was not difficult or complicated at all,” Nobles said. “Betty was very helpful. This was our first time doing it, and we received a gold certification – which we are very proud of.”

From Start to Green

Earning a gold certification for a Green Event begins by selecting either the self-guided or facilitated planning options:

• Self-Guided: An event planner downloads the 52-item Green Event Checklist and guides a team or committee through the certification process. The event planner then completes an application requesting a bronze, silver or gold Green Event certification and sends it to Upon receiving and approving the completed checklist and application, University Sustainability Practices issues a Green Event certification.

• Facilitated: A University Sustainability Practices staff member conducts facilitated sessions during an event planning meeting to familiarize the planning chair or committee with the Green Event Checklist and certification process.

Once the paperwork is submitted and approved, University Sustainability Practices staff then distributes gold, silver or bronze Green Event certificates to be displayed during Green Events.

Seeing the Greener Picture

Going beyond individual event plans and checklists, the Green Events program reinforces ASU’s sustainability operations commitment to lead by example and “walk the talk.”

According to Lombardo, Green Events benefit the university in numerous ways, including: the reduction of negative environmental impacts; expressing ASU’s sustainability values; being a leader for positive change; and building sustainability awareness among stakeholders.

ASU’s stakeholders include on- and off-campus Green Events patrons. For instance, the ASU Homecoming Block Party organizers last fall received a gold certification for its numerous Green Event efforts.

“Hydration stations, electric carts, solar-panel light towers, and giving volunteer’s lanyards made from soda bottles and T-shirts created from recycled content materials are just a few examples of how the Block Party planners achieved a gold certification,” Lombardo said.

Lombardo believes that every Green Event – big and small – helps build sustainability awareness and practice. With assistance from the University Sustainability Practices group, she hopes to continue to grow the number of Green Events held across ASU’s campuses.

“Of ASU’s 1,600 annual events, I have a personal goal to ‘green’ 160 of them,” Lombardo said. “We have a long way to go, but I’m confident that we can encourage more students and staff to participate in Green Events this coming year.”

Learn how to host a Green Event by visiting the Green Events website, or email

Wendy Craft

Marketing and communications manager, Business and Finance Communications Group


Keeping it in the family: Mother-daughter spirit captains share ASU pride

September 19, 2012

Editor’s Note: This Saturday is Faculty-Staff Appreciation Night in Sun Devil Stadium, where the Sun Devils will take on the University of Utah. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Come before the game for the first-ever faculty-staff tailgate – more than 150 complimentary meals will be served to faculty and staff on a first-registered, first-served basis.

When your own daughter describes your Sun Devil spirit as “legendary,” you know you’re doing something right. Anna Wales and Meghan Remington Download Full Image

According to Anna Wales, who works as special events manager for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, she was a spirit captain before the program even existed.

“But I officially signed up as soon as we started the program,” Wales says. “There is nothing better than being able to share my enthusiasm with everyone. I love being a Sun Devil – and sharing that excitement with students, faculty, staff and the community is so much fun. [This role] allows all of us a chance to share our Sun Devil pride.”

She says her “fingers are permanently placed in a pitchfork,” and that even her "out of office" messages read: “GO DEVILS!”

As spirit captain, Wales keeps everyone in her area informed about opportunities to support the Sun Devils. Spirit activities include such things as decorating their front office in the Fulton Center for ASU's homecoming, as well as coming together for service activities.

“We will be doing a food drive through the months of November and December, as well as collecting toys for the ASU Police Toy Drive," Wales says. "What better way to show our Sun Devil spirit than through doing community service?”

Probably the most important person Wales has imparted her Sun Devil spirit upon is her daughter, Meghan Remington.

Remington, who works as an event coordinator with the ASU Foundation, was raised a Sun Devil and went on to not only attend ASU, but march with the Sun Devil Marching Band up until she graduated in 2009.

“After graduating and finding myself working for the ASU Foundation, I was eager to find an opportunity to continue promoting spirit within the Sun Devil community," Remington says.

Like her mother, Remington became a spirit captain for her department, and she takes her role seriously.

“As a spirit captain, my duties include helping to develop a sense of camaraderie among ASU employees, spreading the word about opportunities to attend ASU athletics events, and promoting spirit within my workplace.”

“Annually, we host a back-to-school breakfast, complete with ASU trivia and pom-pom laden tables,” Remington adds.

That's not all. As spirit captain, Remington distributes posters and other ASU goodies to her colleagues to encourage a Sun Devil spirited workspace. Recently, the office participated in a hidden Sparky competition, where the first person to find Sparky – hidden somewhere in the building – won a prize. Additionally, Remington holds raffle drawings for those who wear gold on Friday, and informs her coworkers of discounts for football tickets.

“Overall, I just love being a Spirit Captain,” she says. “It’s such a great opportunity to engage with ASU as an employee, whether you’re an alum or not, and I love that we have such a positive initiative working to create a greater sense of camaraderie among staff.

“It only made sense that [my mother] would raise me to follow in her footsteps,” she says.

ASU is thankful that she did, because this mother-daughter spirit captain duo is, indeed, legendary.

Juno Schaser

Event coordinator, Biodesign Institute