Conference Bag Exchange idea

From TFOE listserv by Jonathan Betz-Zall

Saw this in an online newsletter from King County WA:
CONFERENCE BAG CONTEST ENCOURAGES REUSE, RECYCLING AND FUN – by Donna Seegmueller, Ecology librarian, Administrative Services, Lacey I attended a conference workshop recently about “copyright in the electronic age,” sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Chapter/Medical Library Association (PNC/MLA). Copyright, as a legal concern, is based in a 1709 English law statute. It has become a hot, then hotter topic, with each advance in technology (from player pianos, to photocopy machines, to electronic media). Librarians are always interested in this topic, so it’s not unusual to include copyright as part of a conference. What was unusual about this conference was the bag contest that was a part of it. PNC/MLA event planners chose not to distribute new conference bags this year. Instead, they came up with the idea of a bag contest. Attendees were asked to check the backs of our closets for old conference bags and bring them to the meeting. We could bring as many bags as we’d collected at other meetings and events. We were encouraged to re-use one of ours, or swap with a friend for one more appealing. And, we could donate bags to those folks who hadn’t been around long enough to have a closet full of bags. Only canvas or fabric bags were eligible (no plastic shopping bags allowed). This event was held in Seattle, after all. Winners of the contest included the oldest bag — from a meeting held in Portland in 1987 — to one that traveled the furthest, from South Africa. So, if you need an idea for your next conference or workshop, try a bag contest. PNC/MLA conference planners saved money, encouraged recycling, and provided attendees with an educational and entertaining event.