From budgetary pressures to social and political issues, there are many reasons why attendees are more thoughtful than ever about the types of events they join. Washington, D.C. has long been a hub for changemakers throughout history — the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, and the present-day annual Women’s March on Washington have all happened here along with countless others. Washington, D.C. allows attendees to become changemakers, too — people gather here to embrace their rights to free speech and to peacefully protest, as well as to meet the country’s most influential movers and shakers — including federal government and policy leaders, social entrepreneurs, and the hundreds of association leaders who call the destination home.
“Meeting attendees are eager to listen and learn and make a difference in a destination,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of Destination DC (DDC). “They want to connect with people and to ultimately impact local communities. By leveraging the city’s intellectual capital—legislators, experts, and decision makers, DDC enriches the experience and supports the opportunity to meet with purpose.”
The Power of DEI
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of Washington, D.C.’s ethos. Travelers use The DEI District, an online content hub on washington.org, to find ways to engage with the city’s sustainable venues or Black-, women-, and immigrant-owned businesses during their event. In the meetings industry, DEI work is not only key to the well-being of those working in the industry — it also creates more inclusive attendee experiences. Diverse speakers provide more robust and relatable content for attendees, yielding more meaningful outcomes.
Leading the nation in the most LEED Certified buildings of any city, Washington, D.C. prioritizes sustainability, and the city has plenty of offerings to make events greener.
Stewardship of the environment is a key element of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The center has secured the GBAC STAR facility accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council and is the first in the world to achieve the WELL Health Safety Rating. “We strive to lead the industry with our health and safety standards,” said Samuel Thomas, interim president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “Our convention center is the first in the world to achieve this designation, and it confirms that our commitment to health and safety extends beyond the pandemic.”
The center has implemented a color-coded recycling and waste minimization program, water efficiency, green product purchasing and more. The building boasts energy-reducing features, from low-emission gas to computerized HVAC systems. Its also Metro accessible with a dedicated stop immediately walkable to downtown museums and nightlife, as well as the National Mall.
Washington, D.C. is the headquarters for many environmentally focused organizations. It is dedicated to local sustainability practices and clean-energy initiatives, and cutting-edge innovations via startups and incubators around town.