AASHE is committed to modeling sustainability in all of our activities, including the conference. We implement a variety of practices to neutralize or minimize the conference’s environmental footprint and maximize our positive impact or “handprint.”

Food & Dining

To support the creation of ecologically sound, fair, humane and resilient food systems and promote healthy, plant-based diets:

  • After the great success with Meatless Monday in 2016 and success from going meatless in 2017, we will serve a vegetarian diet for the entirety of the conference.
  • All meals will include substantive and clearly labeled vegan and gluten-free options.
  • We are working with this year’s in-house catering company to use environmentally and socially preferable food products (i.e., those that are Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Certified Humane or sourced from local, community-based producers) to the greatest extent practical.


To help preserve and restore water:

  • Cupanion is this year’s water bottle sponsor. They will provide reusable cups for all attendees to use throughout the conference. These bottles help prevent waste from disposal of single-use cups.
  • We are currently seeking a partner to support with the purchase of Water Restoration Certificates to cover the estimated water usage of conference attendees over the course of the conference.

Air & Climate

To help address the carbon emissions associated with the conference:

  • This year’s carbon offset sponsor, NativeEnergy, will be retiring carbon offsets in support of the Project Sky Wind project. This effort will mitigate all of the estimated emissions associated with travel to and from the conference as well as on-site energy use. The Project Sky Wind project helps India move away from highly polluting sources of energy to clean, renewable energy, thereby enhancing the health and wellbeing of India’s citizens and the planet as a whole.


To help create a sustainable economy:

  • AASHE Sustainability Award winner plaques are provided by Rivanna, a woman-owned B Corp that sources all of its own raw materials, including FSC-certified wood.
  • Volunteer T-shirts are made with sustainable materials and are provided by Eco Promotional Products, Inc., which is a woman-owned Certified BCorp and Green America Gold certified company.
  • Badge holders are made with recycled content and name badges are printed on recycled content paper.


To facilitate and encourage the use of more sustainable transportation options:

  • Lime, this year’s conference mobility sponsor, will provide attendees a up to 3 promo cards for free use of either a scooter, e-bike or pedal bike at the convention center and official AASHE hotel entrances. 
  • All conference hotels are selected in close proximity to where the conference will be held.


To minimize resource use and waste generated by the conference:

  • Rheaply, the Circular Design Sponsor, is hosting a 60-minute forum for attendees to showcase how they use circular practices in their research to advance sustainability.
  • We encourage attendees to download the conference mobile app to access program content and other pertinent details of the conference including schedules, session descriptions and maps. Limited printed schedules will be available to those without a Smartphone.
  • Conference meals will be served buffet style with reusable or compostable plates and utensils.
  • All materials produced for the meeting (such as banners, posters, signs, place cards) are designed for reuse at future conferences and are recycled at the end of their usable life.
  • Presenters have been asked to minimize physical handouts.

Partner Selection

Many different entities are involved in putting together a conference. We strive to work with partners that share our commitment to sustainability.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is a LEED® Platinum Certified facility. This year, a natural ventilation system inside the exhibit halls will be utilized during the AASHE event! For periods of time when it is comfortable enough, no mechanized heating/cooling will be used inside the exhibit halls!

Stetson Convention Services, our show decorator, works to minimize on-site material waste and uses a variety of recycled-content and biodegradable materials.

How You Can Help

All attendees have a role to play in improving the sustainability of the conference. You can help by:

  • Take advantage of public transportation options. Or, request an alternative fuel or hybrid vehicle taxi and share your ride with others (UberPOOL or LyftLine).
  • If you choose to print the schedule of sessions or other materials, print double-sided on 100% post consumer recycled, agricultural residue and/or FSC certified content paper.
  • Bring/use your own water bottle or use the one prvided at the conference and bring it with you each day.
  • Place any the materials you wish to discard in the appropriate collection receptacle.
  • Return name badges to the registration desk after the conference so we can reuse them at future events.
  • Participate in the hotel linen reuse program.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Turn off lights in your hotel room and unplug appliances or other equipment when not in use.
  • Turn off water while brushing your teeth or washing your face.
  • Adjust your hotel room temperature or turn off the air conditioning when you are not in the room.
  • Locate and use recycling and compost bins throughout the conference venue.
  • Rent a bicycle through Pittsburgh’s Bike Share program Healthy Ride bike-sharing system! Discounts will be available to conference attendees!
  • Encourage others to “green” their conference experience, too!