Grad Knight strives for a zero-waste event

The UCF Alumni Association extended their GreenUp UCF campaign to include a zero-waste event challenge this month, led by Ann Allen, Assistant Director of UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center's Marketing & Events. Grad Knight was dubbed as the participating event, where 500 seniors visited the Alumni Center for send off.

On Friday, the RSVP-only celebration incorporated reusable name tags, reusable centerpieces, recycled napkins, and recycling bins beside bars and buffets areas. California Pizza Kitchen, the event caterer, used locally sourced vegetables in the pasta dishes including vegetarian and vegan options. The Knights at the Turntable DJ also spoke on this initiative to raise awareness with guests. Grad Knight also had graduation cap decorating stations, photos with Knightro, a next destination map, after-graduation travel option education, a Knights Helping Knights Pantry donation station, and a champagne toast. Latoya Jackson, the Coordinator of Young Alumni and Student Programs of the UCF Office of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving, was responsible for taking on this challenge and turning it into a success.

Prior to the event, the challenge program educated on zero-waste, defining it as "minimizing impacts through reuse, composting, recycling, avoiding disposables and avoiding vehicular transportation." Participants were expected to incorporate two practices from the provided checklist at an event.

The checklist consisted of:

  • Local, organic, sustainably sourced food in appropriate quantities
  • Washable and/or recycled content and compostable serving ware
  • Reusable or recyclable d├ęcor
  • Add recycle bins to bar or meeting space
  • A clear communications plan or announcement for attendees to follow practices.
  • Print programs on recycled paper and recycle after the event

In the end, Grad Knight touched on many of these points. The UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center hosts dozens of events similar to Grad Knight each month that typically generates an amount of trash. However, the zero-waste initiative is a positive start to lessening campus waste.

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