Hello, I am Molly Breen, one of the Campus and Community Engagement Interns. Some of my past blogs include the Countdown to Kindness and Celebrating Friendsgiving. I am back now with a blog about Sustainapaloooza 2017. I had so much fun helping to put the event together and even more fun during the event! Read on for a recap of Sustainapalooza 2017!
Sustainapalooza was held on February 28th from 5-8pm in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. This annual event takes place to promote sustainability at Iowa State. Lots of tables, posters, volunteers, food, and crafts are brought in, and anyone is welcome to come.
Immediately, before even entering the Great Hall you see the welcoming members of The Green Umbrella student organization at an informational table. The Green Umbrella is a student organization that helps to plan and put together Sustainapalooza. Once the students give you a brief introduction to the club and the event, you are enthusiastically welcomed into the Great Hall. As you enter Sustainapalooza, there are a few tables that are singled out. As you look to the right, you see one of the two photo booths at the event and a table for the Live Green! Marketing and Communications Interns, Caitlyn and Rebekah. The eager individuals are passing out newsletters and starting green conversations with attendees. On the other side, you see members of The SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers), a student organization that operates a campus food pantry. The SHOP is collecting non-perishable items , and informing attendees about all The SHOP does.
Straight ahead, you see the massive green wall with student pledges written all over it. Sustainapalooza is all about impacting the participants and the green wall is a crucial component. The Green Wall is a pledge wall where students can make commitments to living greener while walking on their very own “green carpet” made of recycled materials. Participants are encouraged to share their perspectives, vision and commitment through writing all over the wall to questions related to water, waste, energy, money, and community service (stay tuned for those responses in an upcoming blog coming out soon).
Spread around the Great Hall you see four main GIY (green-it-yourself) stations Each station represents a different sustainability hands-on opportunity and is sponsored and assisted by a variety of clubs, organizations and businesses. The purpose of each station is increasing awareness, engaging a new activity and empowering sustainable opportunities and green living after Sustainapalooza. Which means, at each station, there is something creative and sustainable to take away. One station, sponsored by Wheatsfield Cooperative and assisted by Greeks Go Green is creating an all natural sink cleaner made with essential oils that Wheatsfield Cooperative and Greeks Go Green (student organization) assisted with. ISU Dining, with assistance from student dietetics interns, has formed an assembly line to create a mason jar filled with an instant potato soup mix that has an extended shelf life, because nothing is perishable, offering a meal for years, and reducing food waste. On the other side of the hall, DIY Craft Club, through assistance from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is leading a station creating tote bags out of recycled vinyl banners. (If you want to make your own, here are the instructions.) The Workspace at Iowa State has three GIY projects at their station: making magnets made out of computer keys, folders made out of laminated posters, and business card holders out of recycled calendars. Creativity is especially apparent at this station.
Beyond the GIY creations, sustainably-minded giveaways are available for all attendees and feature a reusable, made from recycled-content cutlery set and a three-piece herb garden set including reusable and compostable planters and potting mix and seeds for parsley, cilantro and basil. The second photo booth of the event is the Cy-lebrity wall where attendees were invited to grab their friends and strike a sustainable pose with some fun props.
Next up at the event, attendees browsed through clothes available for swapping at the Sustainapalooza Clothing Swap: Exchange for a Change. The clothing swap was widely popular with over 50 participants swapping out items. The fashion industry, where trends seem to change every week, creates such a problem with waste. The swap gives students a chance to put their old clothes to use and reduce short term waste. Students could swap one clothing item for another. Also food or cash donations were accepted for one clothing item and went to The S.H.O.P.. All leftover clothes were either donated to local secondhand shops or given to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to properly recycle.
Towards the back of the room, there were 40 different student organizations and businesses displaying what they are doing to be sustainable. Organizations like The SHOP, Volunteer Center of Story County, ActivUs, and more captivated students with their individual messages.
In the center of all the hustle and bustle, there was a buffet line of locally made and freshly produced snacks provided by ISU Dining. Attendees enjoyed their sustainable snack and beverage while mingling with the groups. Many attendees took their snacks over to the Inclusive Communities portion of our event where they were invited to sit on “Sit Next to me, Sue,” an art piece made by a team of Iowa State landscape architecture students to give people the freedom to choose their own seating arrangement. Once they sat in the movable seats, attendees were invited to join in conversation about how they can make Iowa State a more inclusive community and even offered buttons to take home as a reminder of inclusivity.
Overall, there was such a positive energy during Sustainapalooza. All ages gathered together to share their experiences and learn more about sustainability. Whether noticing the special green features throughout the event, such as composting, or listening to the green-minded playlist throughout the Great Hall, participants really got to embrace sustainability in our community with engaging activities, interesting discussions, and creative thinking.
Sustainapalooza by the Numbers:
- 1000+ participants enjoyed Sustainapalooza
- 300+ clothing items were donated to the Sustainapalooza clothing swap
- 60 volunteers worked behind the scenes to prepare the event
- 40 on and off-campus organizations and initiatives highlighted their sustainability efforts and accomplishments through posters and tabling
- 10 Green Umbrella members worked for months to organize Sustainapalooza
- 1 amazing event!