Sustainable Event Planning and Management
The title I chose for my program is Sustainable Event Planning and Management. This is a unique combination of event planning and management that incorporates considerations of sustainability that are crucial in the world today. I am also making the vital decision in utilizing both planning and management in my studies, because I believe that one cannot be without the other. An effective manager knows why things were planned as they were, and an effective planner will be better at meeting the needs of a manageable event.
My interest in this work is grounded in my strong interest in music, which I pursue in part by attending concerts and musical festivals in a large variety of settings and environments. One of my favorite smaller festivals is the Caramoor International Music Festival, in my hometown of Katonah, New York, with many string ensembles that draws a small crowd of 5,000. In contrast, a large festival such as Camp Bisco, with EDM and Jam music that attracts a crowd of upward of 20,000 people, which is also one of my favorites.
Being the observant and environmentally conscious explorer that I am, I take notice of the way people treat the environment at these events, and how the event staff handle the environment during events. I’ve often been ashamed to see so many people, attendees and staff alike, turn a blind eye to where their waste goes. Much of it goes unsorted into proper recycling facilities, or simply thrown on the ground.Clean Vibes, an organization, has been going to festivals since 1997 diverting many pounds of waste from landfills. I took part in the festival cleanup and recycling sorting at Gathering of the Vibes in 2015 as part of the Clean Vibes Crew and the experience. This really opened my eyes to how such efforts can make a huge difference in an aspect of an event that is often overlooked. For example, at Bonnaroo in 2014, a musical festival with an attending community upwards of 90,000, Clean Vibes recycled 422,760 pounds of waste and composted 240,000 pounds of waste, about 67% of the total waste produced at the event (Clean Vibes LLC). This inspires me for the future of sustainable events and something I hope to become involved in as a professional.
However, water issues are only the tip of the iceberg, of topics that determine how efficient and sustainable events that host such a large, beautiful and colorful community could be. I aspire to see a future of events where being environmentally conscious is second nature to all. Where leave no trace is not just encouraged, but expected, and people are engaged, educated, and participating in a green community that is better for everyone.
There is no major here that satisfies the special needs of this new major I am creating. Although there is a sustainability minor, and a general management major, even the combination of these two would not satisfy my specific needs. This is because the sustainability minor goes into an in-depth look of the science side of sustainable practices, and although I may learn some of that information, I am more focused on the practical applications of sustainable practices. The general management major has a lot of classes that cover a broad span of business aspects that are not the role I hope to have in the planning and management of events, such as legal business classes and executive management. The business classes I included in my major are more focused on marketing, accounting, and managing. The classes I have chosen for my major create a unique blend of sustainability and business classes that will allow me to go into the world prepared to manage events with a keen sustainable eye.
The first course listed in my self-designed major is Statistics I, which is described as an introductory course with “applications in several disciplines such as Business, Psychology, Education, Social Sciences or Natural Sciences.” I chose this course because statistics will be used to convey information about the sustainability and many business dimensions of an event, and I need the ability to look at statistics and comprehend and analyze them to use the information and the foundations for decisions.
For the second course in my major, I chose something that covers both my TECO and WRCO, which is An Introduction to Graphic Design Software. This course teaches the basic processes of image development and word processing in graphic design software. I think this is a vital class to take in my major because marketing is a large part of the business world and being familiar with those kinds of softwares and processes will help me in the marketing aspect of planning events.
Intro to Environmental Issues is a class I have already taken that is described as “Teaches the multidisciplinary approach necessary for successful investigation and resolution of environmental issues.” (Champlain College course catalog). This was my first introduction to interdisciplinarity, and in my major gives me the knowledge of the complexity of problems and how to approach them with an environmental tone. This will prove useful for me when tackling problems that will pop up in planning events, as well as the task of merging sustainability practices to events.
Foundations of Human Communication is a class that I also have already taken at Champlain College. This course focuses on communicating effectively and analyzing the communication of others and enhancing those skills. This is in my major because it provides me with crucial skills that I will need to communicate my ideas to professionals in my field, and to individuals at events, and staff managing. I believe that the more effectively an idea is communicated the easier it is for people to understand it and take it seriously. Articulating presentations, project ideas, plans, and directions are ways of communicating that are so important in the planning and management of events and I need to be able to effectively communicate in these ways.
Principles of Marketing is a class that teaches how to create value for customers, and the concepts related to marketing. This is in my major to teach me how to create value from my sustainable event management and planning. It will also teach me to be able to market my services to event corporations and to participants at events.
Sustainable Structures is a course that offers the insight of sustainable building and the design, methods and materials that go along with it. This is important in my major because it allows me to think creatively and critically about structures and how they can affect the environment. I will carry this knowledge over to my profession in managing events with regards to the structures used there such as stages, campsites, vendors, and food providers.
Business and the Environment looks at the relationship between the Environment and Business in a multidisciplinary way. This is going to provide me with the insight of how business and the environment have worked together in the past, showing what does and does not work well. Then I will be able to use that knowledge to apply to my business in future environmental relations.
Environmental Ethics is a class that views the relationship between humans and the environment. This is crucial for my major to teach me how human values, beliefs, and ethics affect how we interact with the environment on an individual scale.
Sustainability in Practice is a class that views the difficulty of applying sustainability into practice professionally, and how to communicate effectively to encourage others to make more sustainable choices. Identifying, analyzing, conducting research, and addressing sustainability issues is covered in the class. This is in my major to assist me in tackling the problem of merging sustainability with multiple disciplines, and idea generation on how to solve related problems.
Financial Accounting is a class that introduces the principles, measurement techniques, and applications of accounting. This is in my major to ensure I have the capability of planning for and running an event that is sustainable financially as well.
Management Accounting is a class that covers topics of specific detail that management accountants need to make sound business decisions. This is in my major to go along with Financial Accounting in that I know how to run an event that is cost effective and make decisions that make sense.
Event Marketing is a class that teaches concepts and allows students to apply learned concepts into creating and promoting events around the PSU campus. This is in my major to give me the event marketing skills that I will need when promoting and marketing my sustainable events.
The Art of Sustainability is a class that explores environmental sustainability through the portal of art and a variety of topics and concepts such as Eco-Art. This is in my major because I know that it takes a keen creative eye to promote, market, and engage people. The unique aspect of sustainability,art must be a part of that to draw in people into sustainable events. This class will provide me with an insight on how Eco-Art draws people in, and be able to carry it into my sustainable events.
Business Ethics is a class that uses philosophy and business to investigate ethical issues in business. I think this is crucial for my major to ensure I understand how to create an ethical business that doesn’t just concern the environment, but also other ethics, and to account for other views from different perspectives than my own.
Issues in Sustainability is a class that will provide me with the knowledge of the complexity of sustainability and the careful problems that come along with it. This is crucial for my major to be able to tackle problems in sustainability confidently and have the knowledge base of what others already have encountered.
Interdisciplinarity is “a cognitive process by which individuals draw on disciplinary perspectives and integrate their insights to advance their understanding of a complex problem with the goal of applying the understanding to a real-world problem” according to Repko. Sustainable Event Planning and Management is interdisciplinary in nature by combining sustainable knowledge practices and applying them to event planning and management. I believe that this program will give me the knowledge base of environmental issues, sustainable practices, effective communication skills, and business knowledge and skills that will allow me to be a successful sustainable event planner and manager.
Repko, Allen F., Rick Szostak, and Michelle Phillips Buchberger. Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies. N.p.: SAGE Publications, n.d. Print.