Happy Holidays!  As we wrap up another outstanding year at MeetGreen, we want to acknowledge some, but certainly not all, of the people who helped make it happen.  At MeetGreen, “We believe in the power of human connection.”  The examples shared highlight two points that aren’t new, but are important:  Meetings are critical for organizations to move forward, and it’s the people that make the difference.  Thanks to all of you who contribute to our success!

 Pamela Schwartz – Business for Social Responsibility

Our first champion, Pamela Schwartz, took a big leap forward with sustainable menus for the BSR Conference 2014, hosted at the Grand Hyatt New York.  Focusing on local suppliers, the conference menu offered all seasonal vegetables, no tropical fruits, and a themed reception highlighting the abundance for the nearby Hudson Valley.  A new feature of the conference was a Welcome Lounge, which served shade grown, organic coffee alongside products from local vendors in an area with funky lounge furniture and a DJ.  Attendees were seen networking and relaxing in the lounge, making this a sensational conference addition.

Sandra Wood – Canadian Medical Association

If you want to bake a good event sustainability pie, it takes the right ingredients. That is exactly what Sandra Wood of the Canadian Medical Association assembled in Ottawa to make her 2014 Annual Meeting great and green. Her passion for reducing food waste was matched step for step by venue partners the Westin Ottawa and Shaw Centre (formerly Ottawa Convention Centre), who expanded existing food donation and composting programs to redistribute 540 meals from the event to those in need and divert 80% of waste from landfill. MeetGreen helped by setting up a new composting program at the Canadian Air and Space Museum for the Welcoming Reception and measuring all efforts. We’re very grateful for Sandra’s commitment, and the support of Mike Overton, Heidi Rogers, Jeff White, Delia Lapensee and Mathieu Murphy in making her better, greener event vision a reality! Read more: http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/food-waste-reduction

Katie LaCour – Joel Catering

Katie perfectly executed Supercomputing 2014’s vision for a 2,000 person reception and brought it to life in a tasty and sustainable package.  The reception theme was New Orleans street food.  Stations featured items that could be found at JazzFest and at any street carnival in the city.  Staying away from the old standbys of po’ boys, jambalaya, and king cakes, Katie’s team imagined crawfish bread, Vietnamese steam buns, grits in three flavors, and cochon de lait.  As well, local food trucks were brought in for hot dogs and handmade popsicles.  To top it off, everything was served in bamboo boats requiring little or no silverware to enjoy.

Nicole Ong – Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport

Nicole was amazing in her ability to meet our needs in the utmost professional and friendly manner. Her prompt attention to any planning item and request pre-conference instilled a lot of trust and partnership throughout the process which translated to a smooth program on site.  As well, she is very astute at anticipating needs and being proactive in resolving potential conflicts or issues.  She is truly a natural at her job!

The Team at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin Donuts Center

Imagine if you were hosting a dinner party, and several times before the event, your guests came over and told you where to shop for the food you’d serve, what temperature to set the thermostat at and how to better manage your waste. Even worse: they start poking around in the garbage cans with an “oh dear” look on their face. Odds are, you’d be a bit annoyed. Not so at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin Donuts Center, where convention and event services staff hospitably welcomed MeetGreen and UUA’s involvement in their facility management for General Assembly 2014. They patiently received requests, diligently sought answers and happily adapted management processes to the sustainability requirements for this event. Much gratitude to Melissa Avedisian, Jillian Cosgrove, Erin Degulis, William DeSantis, Anthony Haskins, Kathy Masino, Bob Lauro, Shannon Licygiewicz, Harry Luongo, and John Velez who were integral to the effort, and always willing help out! Read more: http://www.uua.org/ga/justice/greening/

Ryan Green – The Sands Expo

When you think of Las Vegas, chances are the first word that comes to mind isn’t “sustainability.” It would be if you were talking to Ryan Green from The Sands Expo. When IMEX America began in Las Vegas four years ago, it found a partner in The Venetian|Palazzo|Sands, and the team has not wavered in their commitment to sustainability. At the heart of that commitment are people like Ryan Green. This year, Ryan took ‘green’ to the next level by helping to create a positive and passionate atmosphere that shaped the entire event. May we all be lucky enough to work with such a caring, dedicated, and aptly named champion as Ryan Green. Read more:http://www.imexamerica.com/about-us/sustainability/