When you stop by our booth at HighEdWeb or another one of our upcoming events, you might notice something different. Or rather, something missing. We don’t have much swag on our table! No, we didn’t forget to order it – instead, we’re making a conscious choice to keep our events and conference booths as sustainable as possible.

When was the last time you held on to something you picked up on a sponsor table for more than a few weeks? We’ve been guilty of that too – grabbing as many cool pens or bottle openers or screen cleaners as we can, and then tossing them a few days later. They’re free, but the waste comes with a cost to the environment.

Rather than buying hundreds of small, cheap items, we’re going to find ways to help the local community around the event. Here’s what we’re planning:

  • At HighEdWeb, we’ll be donating up to $500 to two charities, based on attendees who put their business cards in their respective jar at our booth. We’ll always be looking for local causes (in this case, Milwaukee’s Discovery World) and those that align with our own values (such as Girls Who Code).
  • When we do have giveaways at our booth, we will try to support local businesses, and focus on things like food which don’t leave behind anything to throw away. We did this last ONA, in New Orleans, with homemade pralines from a local shop. They were a big hit, although those of us who went no longer have any teeth.
  • When we do have branded items for certain events, we will focus on pieces that are well-made, environmentally friendly, and help to encourage a sustainable lifestyle. Rather than looking for the cheapest thing, we will look for something that people will keep. Sustainable swag items like reusable straws or insulated water bottles will be the first on our list as well as stickers, which have a minimal environmental footprint.

It’s our hope that others will join us in our quest to limit our effect on the planet and the people that live there. Are you interested in learning more? Reach out on Twitter and we’ll be happy to chat!

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