Friday, March 26, 2010

Convene On Site: CGA Focus Forum

The topic at yesterday morning's Convene Green Alliance (CGA) Focus Forum, held at the Renaissance Washington, DC, Downtown Hotel, was "Raising the Game: Taking large-scale sporting events to a greener level and what it means for your convention." And while the speaker -- Michelle Travis, vice president of sales for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association -- offered a lot of fun, valuable insights based on her city's experiences hosting gigantic events like the Indianapolis 500 and (in 2012) Super Bowl XLVI, the real appeal of her session came from its small-scale approach. Attendees were sitting in rounds, and throughout her presentation, Michelle threw out "hot topic" questions about holding sustainable meetings for each small group to chew over.

Particularly interesting responses came when Michelle -- who is second from the right in the photo above, with the International Economic Development Council's Jackie Gibson, CGA Executive Director Tracey Messina, and the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association's Aaron Riggins -- asked what environmental initiatives attendees had seen at large sporting events that they might apply to their own meetings. Three possibilities: using paperless tickets (downloaded to iPhones, BlackBerrys, and other handheld devices), displaying sponsors' names on LED boards instead of banners, and offering bulk food-service items, such as ketchup from a dispenser instead of in individual packets.

These are all simple enough things to implement that maybe you're doing them already. But that's part of the appeal of going green, isn't it?

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