Equity & Sustainability Event Toolkit

We want the Checklist and Toolkit to be your best friend as you begin applying an equity and sustainability lens to your event planning efforts! 

Category 1: Planning with Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Mind

Establishing goals for your department, club, or organization’s event will require a thoughtful and strategic approach. Think about the following: 

VISION: What is your vision for the event? What would equity and sustainability look like in practice? 

VALUES: What are your department’s values? How can equity and sustainability be incorporated as part of your core values? How will your event embody these values? 

MISSION: What is your event’s mission in terms of sustainability? 

  • Start by developing an action plan that assigns roles and responsibilities for specific items on the checklist to your planning committee/team. For example, different team members could be assigned to the following event areas: 

  • Accessibility – work with Bob Murphy Access Center (BMAC) 

  • Documentarian – prepare feedback surveys and take photos at event 

  • Decorations 

  • Communications and marketing 

  • Food & vendors 

  • Sections of the Checklist should be included among event planning materials, such as the agenda or ppt presentations.  

  • Event planning team and staff should participate in deciding what sustainability initiatives and activities to include at the event.  

  • Your action plan should include specific steps that you will take to complete, as well as a timeline for when you will take those steps. 

  • Finally, it is important to evaluate your progress and adjust your goals and action plan as needed. Make sure that you are regularly assessing your progress and adjusting as necessary to ensure that you are on track to achieve your goals. 

A land acknowledgment helps people to learn more about Indigenous history and can signal respect for the First Peoples that occupied the land on which the campus sits. While it’s important to have a land acknowledgment, they should be seen as a starting point in a larger effort to understand the histories and realities of Indigenous people and to commit to supporting positive change for these communities. 

If your event doesn’t include a welcome or introductory speech, a written land acknowledgment can be included in the event marketing or posted at the entrance of the event.  

For guidance on how to prepare an appropriate statement, see the CSULB Land Acknowledgement Guide.

Diversity is one of our strengths at CSULB and it should be celebrated! To embrace the diversity of our campus community, focus on ways to advertise, promote, and market your event so that it appeals to a diverse audience and folks from different backgrounds feel welcome and included.  

Consider ways to partner with other clubs and organizations that are led by underrepresented groups to help ensure diverse voices and perspectives are reflected at your event. This can include co-hosting events, sharing resources, and working together on initiatives that promote equity and inclusion. 

When producing marketing materials and presentations with images of people, consider ways to include images that reflect the diversity of our campus community.  

Look at the space where your event will be held and consider if it can be made more accessible for those with mobility, visual, and/or auditory impairments. If you plan to have activities at your event, consider if these activities can be enjoyed by all people. Also work with caterers to ensure that the food and beverage tables are accessible.   

View the campus’s Event Accessibility Guidelines for more information.  

If you have additional questions about how to make your event more accessible, contact the Bob Murphy Access Center at bmac@csulb.edu or (562) 985-5401 for assistance.  

Materials that are printed or designed for the web must meet accessibility guidelines so that all members of our community can access them.  

View this Accessible Colors 101 infographic for an overview of considerations to be mindful of when designing flyers and presentations.  

Click the following link for best practices for making PowerPoint presentations accessible. Click the following link for instructions for checking the accessibility of PDF documents.  

View the campus’s Event Accessibility Guidelines for more information.  

If you have additional questions about how to make your event more accessible, contact the Bob Murphy Access Center at bmac@csulb.edu or (562) 985-5401 for assistance.  

It is important to include a statement on your marketing materials, email notices, and any web pages advertising your event. Below is the recommended language to include based on the format and audience:  

Flyers/printed materials targeting students:  

For disability-related accommodations, please contact the Bob Murphy Access Center at bmac@csulb.edu or (562) 985-5401 as soon as possible. It is requested that individuals requiring sign language interpreters or alternative format materials notify BMAC at least 72 hours (about 3 days) in advance. 

Digital marketing materials targeting students: 

To request disability-related accommodations, complete the Bob Murphy Access Center Event Request Form.  

Printed or digital materials targeting employees: 

If you are needing a reasonable accommodation based on a disability or medical restriction to access this program, please contact Staff Human Resources (StaffHR-Accommodations@csulb.edu) for employees as soon as possible so we can assist you prior to the program. 

Learn more at BMAC event tips 

Assign someone in your group to be the photographer for your event and capture images of the overall event, guests, program, and the sustainability efforts you are making. These will be useful when you submit your post-event Assessment!  

We also recommend creating a feedback survey that you can distribute to your attendees after the event. In addition to general questions about attendee experience, consider adding questions related to your attendee’s impressions of the equity and sustainability related elements of the event. You may also want to ask for suggestions for making future events more accessible and sustainable.  

Category 2: Marketing and Attendee Education

Promoting your event as a Green Event and highlighting your sustainability efforts in the marketing materials is a great way to showcase your organization's commitments and attract those who share similar values or interests. Showcasing the positive impact that your sustainability initiatives will have/have had on the Beach community is a powerful way to connect with individuals who care about sustainability and environmental justice.  

Here are some ways to effectively showcase your sustainability efforts in your marketing materials: 

  • Use your Green Events Host certification badge on all your marketing and outreach materials 

  • Include information about your sustainability efforts and initiatives in your marketing materials like the pre-registration/RSVP, invitation emails, announcements, event flyers, or digital media to post on your social media (Tag @csulb_sustainability us for a repost!) 

  • Create visual aids to display at your event or online such as infographics or photographs to help illustrate the initiatives and activities that your organization has implemented. This can be images of sustainable products or activities, or photographs of employees engaging in sustainable practices. 

  • Advertise and highlight the actions attendees can take at the event to help achieve your sustainability goals. This can be done by sharing information about waste reduction practices, or adding something about the sustainable, local or plant-based food or beverage options if you will be providing.  

Promote your event using paper-free methods, including social media, electronic screens, or email. 

Avoid paper handouts as much as possible at your event by allowing attendees to access your resources digitally via a QR code displayed on just a few displayed flyers at your table. Encourage partner organizations/departments to follow the same practice.  

Use QR Code Generator websites like: 

QR Code Generator | Adobe Express 


QRCode Monkey  

Upload event maps, guides, agendas, programs, etc. online and distribute through email or social media.  

When trying to minimize the use of paper to promote your event, it is helpful to take advantage of as many digital marketing channels as possible to spread the word. These could include: 

  • Find out who the Communications Coordinator is for your college (or all of the colleges) and send them an email requesting that they share your event info with their students, faculty and staff via email or a department newsletter 

  • Create a list of campus departments and student organizations that may have an interest in your event and find out if they have social media accounts. Then message them to ask if they would be willing to help promote your event. You can send them a graphic to post or tag them in your story and ask for a repost.  

  • If you have a list of faculty contacts that you think might be willing to promote the event, email them your flyer with a request to post it on Beach Board and/or create a PowerPoint slide that they can include in their next class lecture presentation. 

  • Email Shonnick.Anderson@csulb.edu to request to add your event to the main events calendar https://specialevents.csulb.edu//mastercalendar/MasterCalendar.aspx.

  • Make announcements about your event in your department or club meetings. 

  • Create a graphic to promote your event that you can use as your Zoom background in virtual meetings.  


Sample language for email outreach 

Subject: Assistance in Promoting Our Event 

Hi [Name of Contact], 

I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name] from [Club/Organization/Department Name]. 

I am writing to request your [club’s/department's] assistance in promoting an upcoming event that we will be hosting on [Date] at [Time] in [Location]. We have attached the event flyer to this email and would appreciate it if you could share it with your network. 

The [Event Name] is focused on [Event Purpose], and we feel like it would be of great interest to your department and network.  

We believe that by working together, we can make this event a great success and reach a wider audience. Please help us promote the event through your social media channels or by sharing the event information with your students/contacts.  

Let us know if you are able to assist us, and feel free to reach out if you need any additional information or resources. 

Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to hearing back from you soon. 


[Your Name] 

[Your Title] 

[Your club/organization] 

As part of your pre-event communications, share your sustainability goals and initiatives with everyone involved to ensure they can comply with specific sustainability practices and guidelines.  

Tell your caterer how and why you would like to host a more equitable and sustainable event.  

Ensure the caterer or delivery service doesn’t provide disposable plastic tableware like utensils, cups, or plates.  

Send reminders (perhaps multiple) to attendees asking them to bring their own reusable bottle/tumbler/mug if you will be providing beverages at your event.  

To promote compliance, mention the university’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, CSU Sustainability Policy, Single-use Plastics Policy, and/or state laws


Sample language: 

Short message: 

In an effort to reduce single-use plastic consumption at the event and comply with the CSU Single-use Plastics Policy, we encourage everyone to bring their own [bottle, utensils, or mug] to enjoy the food and beverages.   


Sample email 

Subject: BYO reusable bottle or tumbler to [name of the event]! 

Dear [Name of Contact],  

We are excited to have you join us at [Event Name] on [Event Date]! We wanted to remind you that we are striving to make this an environmentally and socially responsible event, and as part of this effort, we will have [water/coffee/tea] refill stations available throughout the event.  

Please feel free to bring your own bottle or tumbler and fill it up as needed, otherwise we will provide single-use compostable cups. By bringing your own, you can help us reduce the amount of waste generated at the event and minimize our impact on the environment. 

Thank you for your cooperation and for joining us in our efforts to reduce waste and promote sustainability. We look forward to seeing you at the [Event Name] and appreciate your commitment to making a positive impact on our campus community and the environment. 

[Your Name] 

[Your Title] 

[Your club/organization] 

Education is a huge aspect of a Green Event. Create signage to educate attendees or promote the equitable and sustainable aspects of your event. This will ensure that attendees are informed that your event is taking steps to be more sustainable and have clear instructions on how to contribute to that goal.  

Display and define sustainability terms and concepts in a comprehendible manner at the event. 

Engage attendees in sustainable activities or demonstrations (e.g., properly sorting recyclables and organics, refilling reusable bottles, returning name badges to use again).  

Explain the importance of their cooperation in reducing single-use plastic waste and encourage them to participate in waste reduction efforts. 

Footnotes: CAAP: AR 4.3 — Increase Student Sustainability & Climate Literacy. (Educational Mission)  

Category 3: Mindful Purchasing

Utilizing sustainable and repurposed decorations showcases your commitment to green event planning and encourages others to do the same.

When thinking about ways to incorporate sustainable and repurposed decorations at events, embrace creativity and think outside the box for ways to repurpose existing items in your inventory into unique and eco-friendly décor. Reusable event décor can leave a positive impression on your attendees and be more cost effective in the long run.

  • Replace single-use decorations with reusable materials (e.g., Tablecloths, artificial plants, etc.)
  • Consider using sustainable materials like recycled paper and cardboard that can be recycled.
  • Get creative with upcycling, turn everyday objects into unique decorations.
  • Use the beautiful natural décor of our campus to your advantage. This could mean not purchasing unnecessary decorations or allowing the space to be minimally decorated.
  • Search the internet for inspiration!

When starting your event planning, make a list of all the materials you anticipate you will need to host your event. Then send out an email to other clubs, friends, departments, or community partners to ask if anyone has any of the materials that you can borrow.

Keeping our dollars in our local community helps support a more sustainable local economy. Explore what Long Beach has to offer in terms of vendors and services, including the list of Certified Green Businesses in the city.

By actively supporting businesses owned by underrepresented or marginalized communities, you are leveling the playing field and fostering a more inclusive and equitable economic landscape. Embracing diversity in your purchasing choices can have a positive impact on both the businesses and communities they serve.

When making a purchase, try to choose things that come with minimal packaging. You can even ask your vendors to use less packaging. For example, if you are purchasing swag items for our events that typically come individually wrapped in plastic, ask your vendor if that extra layer of packaging can be eliminated.  It never hurts to ask and the more people who ask the better vendors will get at packaging items more sustainably.

While we do advocate for minimizing paper use (see Action Item 2.2), we know that isn’t entirely possible and that staked paper flyers are sometimes the most effective way to get the word out about your events on campus. When you do have to use paper, opt for the highest content of recycled paper that you can, with 30% post-consumer recycled content being the minimum to aim for. 

Establish clear purchasing guidelines for your event team, highlight the importance of looking for these specific green labels or certifications on product packaging.

When purchasing products and materials for an event, encourage your team to prioritize those with reputable third-party green certifications over conventional alternatives.

Remember: Plastic is not compostable! Even if it claims to be “compostable bioplastic,” most facilities won’t accept it.

Eco Label Index | All ecolabels in the United States

Identify Greener Products and Services | US EPA

Swag and swag bags are quintessential marketing items that planners hand out to attendees during an event. The problem is that most items can find their way into the trash if they aren’t deemed to be useful for attendees.

If you feel that having something for attendees to take away from your event is important, consider choosing giveaways that keep sustainability in mind. Some examples include metal straws, potted plants, or seeds.

Encourage vendors and organizations who will be participating in or tabling at your event to seek alternatives to handing out giveaway items that lack real utility. Opt for items with a longer lifespan, durable construction, and products that can be recycled or responsibly disposed (e.g., durable and reusable items, coupons for experiences, tickets, plants, food, etc.)

Some examples include branded stainless-steel cups, tote bags made from sustainable materials, branded tumblers or mugs, reusable collapsible straw, plant kits, bento boxes, branded reusable utensils kit, etc. For branded clothing and merchandise, consider ordering your t-shirts, hats or hoodies from companies that are ethically and sustainably sourcing their materials.

Category 4: Selecting Sustainable Food & Beverages

Serving equitable and sustainable food options at your event is a visible way to contribute to CSULBs environmental values.

- Find out if the caterer you are hiring is able to provide “farm-to-table” options to support local producers and decrease the distance the food has to travel in order to make it to your event. If that’s not possible, ask for organic and fair-trade produce that’s farmed using sustainable methods which respect the long-term health and wellness of farm workers, the soils, and waterways.

- Providing vegan and vegetarian options, not only decreases your event’s carbon footprint (since animal products create more carbon and use more resources when produced), but it also makes your event more inclusive of those who have chosen to adopt a plant-based diet.

- Request or purchase fair trade products, which ensure the farmers and workers are receiving a fair wage and safe working conditions.

Questions to ask your caterer:

  • Do you offer fair trade coffee and tea?
  • Do you source produce from local farms?
  • Are you able to provide organic products?
  • What are your vegetarian and vegan options?

Include a link in your marketing so that guests can RSVP and provide their dietary preferences. This will enable you to order the appropriate amount of food for your event.  

Add language in your RSVP form that clearly states the importance of their response in reducing food waste and highlight the positive environmental impact of their participation.

Generally speaking, around 10% of the people who RSVP for an event do not end up attending. This can obviously vary by event, but it is something to keep in mind when deciding how much food to provide.

Below are a few of the options you can use to create an RSVP form.

  • Microsoft Forms (SSO)
  • Qualtrics (SSO)
  • Eventbrite (third party)
  • Google Forms (third party)

When a host has leftover food from their events, they can notify the Basic Needs Office or the ASI Beach Pantry Office.

Basic Needs Office

Location: University Student Union (USU) 112

Email: supportingstudents@csulb.edu

Phone: 562-985-2038


Beach Pantry

Location: University Student Union (USU) 116

Email: asi-pantry@csulb.edu  

Phone: 562-985-5264

Food Donation Inquiries:
(562) 283-1400 x105
Food Finders


Instructions for posting on Beach Bites channel

Hosts who ordered from an approved caterer can make an announcement via the Beach Bites channel within the CSULB mobile app by becoming an admin.

1. Download the CSULB app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

2. Log in using SSO and subscribe to the Beach Bites channel.

3. For permission to post onto the Beach Bites channel, you must email ASI's Basic Needs Director at Danielle.Munoz@csulb.edu at least one week in advance of your event to become an admin. 

4. Reminder: Before posting an announcement, make sure your food was ordered from an approved caterer. 

5. Ensure food is at the proper temperature and provide compostable containers or remind people to BYO.

To reduce waste, request that your caterer serve food buffet or family style instead of serving individually packaged foods or boxed lunches.

To eliminate the need to provide plates and utensils, consider serving appetizers or small bites that only require napkins and/or toothpicks to serve. Providing hand sanitizer and/or directions to locations for hand washing is also recommended.

Ask your caterer or food truck vendors if they are able to provide condiments in refillable dispensers or containers rather than in individual packets. Some items that can be served this way include:

  • Ketchup, mustard, etc.
  • Salad dressing and sauces
  • Sugar/sweetener
  • Salt & pepper
  • Milk/creamer

If your budget allows, opting for reusable dishes and utensils will reduce the amount of waste produced at your event from single-use items and set an example for attendees about how to adopt sustainable practices.

If reusable options aren’t feasible, opt for compostable tableware made from wood or unbleached paper.

See our Plastics Alternatives Matrix for best practices for replacing single-use items.

If caterers or food trucks will be at the event, event planners should request that vendors use bulk-size serving dispensers   to avoid individually packaged condiments.

It is common to assume that a packaged product labelled ‘compostable’ or ‘biodegradable’ should be placed in the compost bin. Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated because the products accepted for composting in one facility may not be accepted for composting in another facility. Here in SoCal, the vast majority of bioplastics that claim to be compostable are rejected by local facilities and so they should be avoided. Unbleached paper, cardboard, and other plant-based materials are the best option when choosing a disposable option.

With over 120 water refill stations across campus, many members of our campus community are in the practice of bringing their own bottles to refill. This can make it easier to provide beverages at your event in larger drink dispensers, with the expectation that attendees will use their own reusable bottles to partake in them. If you do want to provide cups to accompany your water, coffee, or tea stations, reusable cups/mugs are the best option followed by unwaxed, compostable paper cups.

If serving drinks in bulk beverage dispensers isn’t possible, provide aluminum-canned drinks that can be recycled and point attendees towards the nearest water refill station. See our Plastics Alternatives Matrix for best practices for replacing single-use items.

Consider selecting a caterer that is owned by a member of a disadvantaged group (Women, BIPOC, Veterans, LGBTQ, etc.) and/or one that provides organic options, quality vegetarian/vegan options, or one that takes steps to support local sustainable farming.

Below is some additional information about a few of the current pre-approved caterers:

TGIS- Thank God Its Sofia’s (Women-owned)

Top Green Catering - Long Beach, CA | Green Catering Company (tgiscatering.com)

Jay’s Catering (Women-operated)

Community | Jay's Catering (jayscatering.com)

Brandon Harris | Jay's Catering (jayscatering.com)

Naples Rib Company (Family-owned)

Charity - Rib Company - Barbecue Restaurant in CA

Category 5: Reducing & Managing Waste

When reserving an event space that will be entered into the Event Management System (EMS), make sure to request an adequate number of recycling bins along with trash bins for your event size.

Make sure your labeled waste bins have signage that is clear, understandable, and, preferably at eye-level. The recycling bins provided by the university area already labeled to collect bottles and cans, however, you may wish to create your own custom signage to ensure that attendees know that they can recycling other types of mixed recyclable materials.

You can use the Stop Waste signage maker tool to create signage that is customized for your event.

Be sure to add our website URL to the bottom of your customized signage!


Establish a clear and measurable waste diversion goal that can be attained through recycling, composting, or reusing materials.

Encourage attendees to participate and raise awareness about your waste diversion goal through signage, announcements, or interactive activities that promote recycling and waste reduction.

If you have the capacity and staffing to do so, plan to conduct a waste audit after the event to evaluate whether you met your targets. Contact the Office of Sustainability at sustainability@csulb.edu if you have questions about how to conduct a waste audit.

The CSU system-wide Single-use Plastic Policy requires all CSUs to eliminate disposable plastic items like straws, bags, takeout containers, and water bottles by Jan 1st, 2023.

Avoiding single-use plastics wherever possible is the simplest way to decrease the carbon footprint of your event.

This policy aligns with and reinforces state laws including AB 1884 (plastic straws), SB 270 (plastic bags), and SB 1335 (food service packaging for state agencies).

Share the policy language with your planning team and outside partners/vendors to ensure that all are prepared to comply: CSU Says Goodbye to Single-Use Plastics (calstate.edu)

See our Plastics Alternatives Matrix for best practices for replacing single-use items.

To extend the life of your decorations, store them carefully after each event to ensure they remain in good condition and can be reused for future events.

Category 6: Minimizing Transportation Emissions

Include language in your event flyer, RSVP page, email outreach, and/or social media posts encouraging folks to travel to your event using sustainable transportation options. This is particularly important if you are inviting guests, speakers, or partners from off campus. Share the bus routes that come to CSULB, the map showing where the nearest bike racks are to your event, and encourage carpooling.

Visit www.csulb.edu/ride for a complete list of transportation options and programs.

Sample language:


Help us reduce the carbon footprint of our event by choosing to bus, bike, walk, or carpool to campus. Learn more about sustainable transportation options at www.csulb.edu/ride.


Vehicle emissions are the number one source of the campus’ carbon footprint. Do your part by taking the bus, biking, walking or carpooling to our event and encourage your friends to do the same! Learn more about sustainable transportation options at www.csulb.edu/ride.

To off-campus vendors, partners and guests:

We are working to make our event as sustainable as possible and encourage you to travel to campus by bus, bike, walking or carpooling if you can.

To promote the use of public transit or biking, highlight digital trip planning resources that are easily accessible and user-friendly. By making these resources readily available, you encourage more attendees to choose sustainable transportation options.

  • Provide links to mobile apps, interactive maps, and online platforms that show bus schedules and bike routes.


Interactive Bike Map (longbeach.gov)

CSULB Bike Rack Map

  • Post on social media with post of event flyer or send an email with links.
  • Share updates, tips, and success stories of people using sustainable transportation to get to events on campus.

If you have the budget and capacity to do so, let your attendees know in advance that you will be providing incentives for those who choose to travel using sustainable transportation options. You could allow those individuals to enter an opportunity drawing or use your resources to provide bike valet parking at your event.

In our post-pandemic world, folks have come to expect that many events will be offered in a virtual or hybrid format. If your event is conducive to this type of format, consider hosting it on Zoom.

Check out Zoom’s guide to making interactive virtual events.

Don't forget about the Post-Event Assessment!

Visit the Event Assessment tab for more guidance.