As part of our impact agenda for this project, I post monthly on environmental sustainability. This month’s post contains more tips for hosting a more sustainable conference. Last month’s post covered travel and costs.
Consider having some of your speakers present via video conferencing or Skype. Virtual presentations cut the carbon footprint of travel. So far our project members have tried Skype and Gotowebinar. Click on the links in the prevoius sentence to read about our experiences.
Cost of Virtual Presentations
Consider asking your funders or your department to help cover the costs. For example, they might help pay for video equipment, video conferencing software, or a PhD student assistant to help run the video conferencing software. Some funders are willing to help out for a good cause like environmental sustainability. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Philosophy department of the University of Tilburg for supporting the cost of video equipment to facilitate a Skype talk by Dr Frederique Janssen-Lauret. Other funders may also be persuaded to take on such costs because it helps keep down travel costs. Virtual presentations may also help speakers with disabilities or caring responsibilities. Such speakers may find travel difficult. In this way we promote two kinds of social responsibility all at once.
If you have a speaker who needs to come from far away, consider finding a time when they are already nearby. Try combining conference talks with other conference presentations, departmental seminar talks, research visits or collaborative visits to co-authors. This reduces the need for travel. It also helps keep costs down.