This year’s annual Careers Week was one of our biggest yet. More than 1,300 students and graduates visited the event at our Colchester Campus to hear from over 70 employers. This year, Careers Week featured two fairs, seven university-led workshops, and six sessions delivered by employers, including four Times Top 100 Graduate Employers.

In previous years we’d made tentative steps to make the event more sustainable, like trying to get exhibitors to bring water bottles to reduce single use plastics, but as Careers Week is our flagship annual event, we’d always printed lots of posters, flyers, brochures, and used things like balloons and all-weather banners to help bring the event to life.

Having achieved Gold in the Sustainable Essex Awards last year, we really wanted to make the event greener, so we spoke to our Sustainability team for advice, and with their help we were able to:

Reduce the carbon footprint of our catering by:

  • introducing a plant-based only food service for exhibitors;
  • choosing sweets with recyclable wrappers;
  • using washable crockery and glasses.

Reduce the carbon footprint of our transport by:

  • using smaller tables for our exhibitors and not hiring in larger ones.

Reduce the carbon footprint of our printing by:

  • focusing on online marketing;
  • reducing the number of posters around campus;
  • using QR codes to encourage people to find out more online.

We found that it wasn’t as hard as we thought to get started, and we’d encourage other teams to make similar changes, especially given the University’s stance on the climate crisis. We’re already thinking about how we can make things better and are going to be focussing on our waste separation, which didn’t work as well as we hoped this year.

You just need to have an open mind, and to make sure that you’re including any changes at the initial planning stage, not as an afterthought.

If you want to run your event more sustainability then make sure to contact the Sustainability team.