Prevue asked Bill Sherry, CEO of Team San Jose, for his thoughts on Green Meetings trends.
Q: Is there a growing demand from planners for more healthy/green venues and experiences?
A: Definitely. More and more planners are looking for ways they can cost effectively satisfy their delegates’ needs while being more responsible to the planet.
Q: How is Team San Jose answering that demand?
A: San Jose, as the Capital of Silicon Valley, is known not only for innovation in high technology but also as a green pioneer. Five years ago the City of San Jose adopted a 15-year Green Vision for economic and environmental sustainability, which has won national awards.Team San Jose uses energy conservation and green buying practices at the San Jose Convention Center and its cultural venues, and we do a lot of recycling and reuse of materials. We have one of the few convention centers in the West Coast to offer composting for events, and we anticipate that our convention center will achieve LEED Silver certification once we are finished with expansion next year. Our renowned chef and in-house culinary team source local, organic ingredients for their customized menus, offer compostable plate ware and silverware, and use green cleaning supplies.One of the greenest features we offer is a reduced need for transportation. Our LEED Silver certified airport is only five minutes from downtown, and many of our hotels, entertainment and restaurants are within walking distance or a short light rail ride from the convention center.
Q: Are there any cultural venues that promote eco-awareness?
A: The Tech Museum, which has a great IMAX theater and fun reception and meeting space for groups, has a permanent ’Green By Design’ exhibit. It shows how Silicon Valley houses some of the most advanced environmental initiatives and advocates in the country. Guests can design and race a hybrid car in an arcade-like racing game, try out harnessing wind and water power with self-made turbines and experiment with designing a solar concentrator. Visitors can also learn about new technologies being developed to meet growing energy needs.
Q: What are some interactive eco-activities in San Jose?
A: San Jose has sunny weather year-round so we love to get convention groups outdoors in ways that are naturally green. Walking tours, Segway and scavenger hunts downtown are popular, as are tours of the sustainability-oriented Santa Cruz Mountains wine region. Another crowd pleaser is Monopoly in the Park, where groups play on a 930 square foot permanent Monopoly board.San Jose has a goal of connecting over 100 miles of trails together for great hiking, biking and walking options, as well as farm-to-fork opportunities where customers buy local ingredients at our many farmers markets, such as the San Pedro Square Market. This lively downtown public market features unique F&B vendors, daily entertainment and first-rate art and crafts. The heart and soul of market is the historic Peralta Adobe—the oldest building in San Jose—a great place to enjoy a morning coffee, a fabulous lunch, or an evening concert with dinner and a cocktail. Groups can also walk to several theaters for Broadway shows, rock concerts, the symphony, ballet and more.