Today, I am at CMRecharge.
It is an adventure that I took on about 10 months ago with 2 others. I haven’t talked about it much in this space, but it has taken up A LOT of time. Let’s just say that my partners in this (Ben, my husband, and Bonnie, his co-worker and our friend) and I have poured our hearts and souls into this conference since the day that the idea was born. Community Manager Recharge, a conference designed to reignite creative fire, inspire great social media interactions, and recharge passion for social marketing in community managers.
My co-organizers and I are three very different people. Ben is, ironically, a wonderfully social and personable fellow. I say ironically because when we were in high school, he barely said a word. He spoke when spoken to (if you were lucky) and that.was.it. Now, he has reached a completely different social level both online and off and is a pretty amazing person. Many others see just how wonderful of a person he is, and because of the relationships he’s formed, we were able to secure some of the best speakers and attendees for this conference that we ever could have hoped for! Bonnie is also quite a social girl. She is fun, creative, and a wonderful community manager! I am learning my way through the social media space (I will say that forever) and consider myself a huge social media advocate, but am also crafty and green and so that’s where I got to have some fun putting this event together!
Bonnie and Ben pretty much let me loose, and off I went with “greening” this conference up. I laid down my rules early on that we would attempt to add in local flairs as much as possible and get the memo across to attendees that buying local is where it’s at (SCORE!). After that, we would do things the green way. Everywhere possible we would attempt to conserve and recycle. We weren’t quite able to make this event 100% local and green because we have certain restrictions at the venue (The World Cafe Live – Awesome, right?!?!), but we were lucky in that they were very understanding of our intentions!
So here is what I did:
When you first walk in the doors to CMRecharge, you will notice our handmade sign. My pals Stefanie and Jessi over at Eckerton Hill Farm made wonderful signs for Dinner in the Dell earlier this year and I completely took their idea! Stefanie helped me prepare the Welcome to CMRecharge sign as well as a sign, CMRecycle, and one for our resident band for the evening, Hillbilly Shakespeare! I LOVE how they turned out.
We used wood from the wood pile at the farm and an old piece of plywood we had laying around in the garage. Then covered them with craft paper (except the Hillbilly sign, that one had way too much character and we didn’t want to cover it up!). We used a staple gun to staple boxwood bush branches to form the letters. And then added a touch of dried flowers for a little color.
You know those cheesy plastic lanyards that you get at conferences or the plastic pins? The ones that always end up in the trash? Yeah, we figured it would be a lot cooler to pick out unique VINTAGE pinback buttons that went with your personality! LOVE it!
Each attendee will register and then walk to a table where they can choose their vintage pin with an interesting message that they connect with in some way. There are some pretty cool ones like these here:
I am using raffia (bought at the craft store) for the lanyard and attached a piece of card stock for the portion where each attendees name will be putting their name. And, the crafty/creative part? Bic sent us a bunch of Mark-It pens of all different colors so that our attendees can get creative and design that portion! Perfect!
After registering and getting badges, attendees will attend a continental-style breakfast. At the breakfast table they will find jams bought at Union Square Greenmarket from Beth’s Farm Kitchen. Get ready to enjoy the “local” experience! Pear preserves, Apricot jam, Strawberry jam, and Strawberry Rhubarb jam!
As you sit down at the table, you will be greeted by a gorgeous vase (mason jars from home) of hand-picked flowers. The kids and I headed up to Meadowview Farm in Bowers, PA this weekend to cut our own flowers. We picked seasonal flowers from their large, beautiful garden. I could go on and on about Meadowview and the fabulous man that runs this farm, James Weaver, a multi-generational farmer with agricultural roots dating back to the 1500’s in Switzerland. He just exudes that classic farmer vibe and traditional set of values. These flowers were picked and arranged with love, all while supporting local farmers.
At every conference, you always get a notebook, often times a boring pad provided by the conference center. Well, we tried to one-up this experience, while making it a bit more environmentally friendly than your traditional notebook. We ordered 300 vintage postcards off eBay and got to work. The postcards became the front and back of the notebook, used paper left over from Ben and my wedding 10 years ago (yes, we have had it that long), and some baker’s twine to tie it together. Honestly, this is one of my favorite parts. These postcards are from the early 1900’s and many of them were actually used for correspondence, complete with addresses and 1 cent stamps. Pretty darn cool! We liked that notes like this feel like an early form of non-digital social media.
When you sit down, a single business card will be placed at your seat. There will not be a packet full of paper containing an agenda and speaker list like most conferences. Instead, you will find a QR code on this business card and this code will take you to a “flip book” online where you can view the agenda and speaker list (as well as other features). It is easily viewable on mobile devices as well.
The venue didn’t provide any recycling receptacles (despite the fact that they have recycling on premises), so we took matters into our own hands. During the refreshment breaks, those water bottles that people brought in can be ditched at the CMRecycle station!
We figured that everyone would like something healthy to munch on while they are listening to these great presentations. Eckerton Hill Farm in Fleetwood, PA provided us with carrots and french breakfast radishes so that attendees could enjoy the delicious taste of some locally grown produce by a renowned farmer, Tim Stark (he wrote the book on Heirloom Tomatoes). #locavore
We have some pretty fabulous speakers that will be with us these two days. These are people that have inspired Ben, Bonnie, and I and that are dynamic and inspirational to everyone they meet. They will be receiving some hot pepper jam made by Alma Weaver from Meadowview Farm and a special Vintage Mom recipe to go along with it as a token of thanks!
We are headed on a ghost tour after the conference on Monday night. Uber, the car service mobile app, has provided us with transportation to and from the tour. Carpooling is where it’s at.
So while these tactics may have taken some additional time, and while it may have taken a bit of extra planning, going green is well worth it. Do what you can everyday in everything you do to make this world a more sustainable place. Support local farms (because really, they are the best). Support conserving our environment and making our food system a sustainable one. Get on the cool train because making this world a better place to live for generations to come is where it’s at.