Applying Green-ness: Reflecting on What We’ve Learned

As Iowa State University winds down the 2014-15 academic year, we all have the opportunity to reflect on how we have learned to incorporate sustainability into our daily activities and consider the opportunities we will have this summer to make a sustainable difference. In order to effectively put our newfound knowledge and skills to use, here is a little refresher on our core mission — sustainability and the three components it encompasses: environmental, economic and social sustainability.

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ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

gardening

Taking care of the earth is an important factor in promoting a sustainable future. We cannot enjoy our adventures in nature without a healthy planet. With the desire to get outside and enjoy summer growing near, we must take steps to ensure we are taking care of the environment.

  • While hiking and vacationing this summer, try to utilize Leave No Trace principles, which promote recreational practices that are environmentally responsible.
  • You can also use your green thumb and take advantage of some unique and clever gardening tricks to spice up (or begin) your own garden.
  • Taking care of the environment can be done within the home, too. Try “green cleaning” your home with non-chemical cleaners that you can create yourself, as well as some sustainable ways to save energy.

ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY

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For ISU students, especially with summer and graduation near, it is important to understand how to pay back college loans, how to save money from a summer job and how to begin planning for a secure, financial future.

Some of the resources available to students include:

  • The Office of Financial Aid (call 515-294-4111 to schedule an appointment to learn about how to acquire aid for both the summer and upcoming session
    s),
  • The ISU Financial Counseling Clinic (trained financial counselors offer services related to student loans, budgeting, debt management and dealing with credit and credit cards), and
  • The Student Loan Education Office (trained financial counselors offer counseling on entering and exiting student loans, personal finance budgeting and more).

To discover more resources on financial sustainability, check out these tools for success.


SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY

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Embracing the diversity of your community and understanding the variety of rich and colorful cultures of the world that foster social sustainability. There are many great opportunities to experience the world’s diversity.

  • Visit the ISU Study Abroad Center to learn about opportunities to immerse yourself in different cultures while planning future course schedules.

Summer break is also a great time to get involved with the community, no matter where you are.

  • Take advantage of farmers’ markets around Iowa to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as support local farmers.
  • Take a walk down your town’s business district and explore new businesses and organizations.
  • Another way to be active in your community is volunteering. For volunteering opportunities, check with your local city hall, or if you are in Iowa, find ways to help out with www.volunteeriowa.org.
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