Guidelines for Green Events on Campus

The goal of a Green Event is to make the most climate-friendly choices among your options. Using our Guide to Green Events, developed in partnership with Sustainable Brandeis, Conference and Events Services, Sodexo, the Staff Action Team on Climate Change, and Facilities Services, you can now streamline the process of greening your event. 

Green Menu

The Sodexo Green Menu is comprised of environmentally conscious selections and focus on reducing waste in our catering services and reducing the carbon footprint of our menu.

For each event ordered from the Green Menu, we will provide a “green bag" for your guests to dispose of all food waste. Sodexo's team of catering professionals will then pick up the green bags and return them to our composting facilities.

Food choices

Whether ordering from the Green Menu or not, the greatest climate impact of most events is via the food that is ordered. To reduce your impact, follow these steps:

  • Follow the menu guidelines in the Green Events Guide
    • Choose a vegetarian or vegan menu
    • If serving meat, choose poultry over beef
    • Opt for finger foods to reduce the need for disposable utensils & dishware
    • Discuss portion sizes and number of servings with caterer to reduce the amount of leftover food
    • Swap individually bottled beverages for beverages that come in larger quantities
  • Post leftover food on the Brandeis Free Food Facebook Group. Discard any food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours—1 hour if the temperature was above 90 °F.


Zero-waste events

A zero-waste event eliminates as much waste as possible (90%< overall diversion from landfill and incineration). For example, for most events catered by Sodexo using disposable dishware, the only trash should be plastic utensils (which are not accepted by our recycler). All other plastic items provided by Sodexo are recyclable. 

Read about the first zero waste event on campus here.

Event organizers can download, print and post custom waste signage that specifically corresponds to Sodexo's catering items. 

Download custom event signs to post at your event!


Compost bins will be provided upon request for events in Usdan, Sherman/Hassenfeld Conference Center, and outdoor events. Steps you can take to ensure the highest compost rates possible at your event include:

  • Ensure that trash, recycling and compost bins are set up next to each other
  • Use custom event signage for events catered by Sodexo
  • Recruit volunteers to stand near waste stations and help guests sort their items 
  • Review which items at the event can be composted (all food scraps, including meat, dairy and bones, and paper napkins/paper towels)

Why don't we use "compostable" disposable dishware?

"Certified compostable" means that items are tested in "industrial composting facilties" to biodegrade by 60% in 180 days. As of now, these facilities are extremely limited in MA, and the majority of compost in the Boston area is sent to farm-style compost operations. Many "certified compostable" items that do make it to farm-style compost operations cannot not break down sufficiently, and ultimately get sifted out as trash.

Thank you for your efforts in helping create Green Events at Brandeis.