Sneak Peak: Symposium on Sustainability and Sustainapalooza 2018

It’s Paige and Heidi, reporting on Sustainapalooza!

As you probably know, Sustainapalooza is in just ONE WEEK!

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We’re SO EXCITED and we hope you are too! We’re writing this post to explain some of the things you’ll find at Sustainapalooza, and reveal the exciting giveaways that will be there.

Every year, Sustainapalooza takes place as a part of the Symposium on Sustainability which includes a poster session and lecturer to present on some facet of sustainability. The theme of this year’s Symposium is “Let’s Be SustainABLE,” which reminds us that we’re all able to do something to make the world a little more sustainable- economically, environmentally, and socially!

The Symposium on Sustainability starts on Monday, February 19th (the day before Sustainapalooza), and includes a poster session from 7-8:00pm featuring student, faculty, and staff research as well as highlighting some of the more sustainability-centered initiatives here at Iowa State (like, did you know 95% of our custodians’ products are third-party eco-friendly certified?). There will also be student organizations hosting tables and sharing information about the sustainable aspects of their clubs. Don’t forget– we’ll have appetizers made with local ingredients!

At 8:00pm, we’ll be featuring a lecture by Nick Mullins, a former fifth-generation coal miner who will present his thoughts and work on the balance between economic success and environmental conservation in Appalachia.

Bird’s Eye View of the Great Hall at Sustainapalooza 2017

On Tuesday, February 20th, Sustainapalooza will kick off at 5:00pm in the Great Hall. When participants enter the room, they’ll be able to see the Green Wall, where everyone can take a walk down the Green Carpet (upcycled out of astroturf from the ISU Bergstrom Football Complex) and then make a pledge towards making something in their life more sustainable. There will also be student design work around the Great Hall which shows how our students at ISU are practicing sustainability within the classroom.

Also in the Great Hall are the Green-It-Yourself stations, which are interactive activities with take-home results which will help you implement sustainable actions. The goal of these stations is to empower participants to make their lifestyles a little bit “greener.” Our stations will include:

It’s Poppin’

Join Peer Wellness Educators to create healthy, dorm friendly, customized popcorn mixes you can pop at home!

Clean and Green

Team up with Wheatsfield Cooperative to learn how to make your own green cleaning products (and create some to take home) using essential oils and other eco-friendly ingredients!

Stuck on Sustainability

Get creative with the Workspace and DNR to create up-cycled magnets out of building materials.

Sole Sustainable

Calculate your ecological footprint using an online assessment and get helpful hints on how to reduce it!

GIY Potato Soup from Sustainapalooza 2017

In the Oak Room, we’ll be hosting our Clothing Swap and talking about the opportunities within secondhand shopping! Participants can pick out a “new-to-them” item of clothing for every clothing item they donate (you can also donate $2/two non-perishables for one item, or get 3 items for $5/5 non-perishables).

A 2017 Sustainapalooza participant shopping our clothing swap!

We display hundreds of clothing items every year, so the event really is a fun shopping experience with lots of options! We’ll be collecting clothing in the Memorial Union East and West Student Office Space up until the event, so feel free to drop off your donations ahead of time (just ask for the clothing swap box, and then be sure to write down your name and number of items donated!). You can also drop off your donations at our table next to the Iowa State Bookstore from 8:00am-5:00pm on Friday, February 16th and Monday, February 19th!

One of our new introductions to the event is the kick-off of our app-based EcoChallenge. We’ve partnered with Joulebug, a company which has created an app challenge that allows participants in an EcoChallenge log their sustainable actions to earn points and prizes.


The Iowa State University Live Green! Challenge will last 10 days, and will allow you to challenge yourself and interact with sustainability in ways you may not have considered before! Our top five challenge participants in terms of points earned will win incredible prize baskets (check out the prize basket featured at the EcoChallenge table) and all other challenge participants will be entered to win other prizes drawn randomly throughout the challenge! If you want to prepare now, you can download the Shine app here, create an account, and enter the access code “livegreen” to join the challenge.

As participants enter the South Ballroom, they’ll see the photo booth, with fun props (including a cardboard cut-out of Cy) and our prize table (FREE giveaways– seriously).

It’s always exciting for The Green Umbrella and Live Green! Teams to select giveaway items for our events, as it’s a fun opportunity to get more people involved in our journey towards sustainability and to equip them with the tools they need to live a little lighter on our Earth. This year, we’re excited to announce the following giveaways:

  • Bamboo utensil with fork on one end and spoon on the other
  • Stainless steel straw with brush cleaner
  • Reusable hand towel with clip-on


Also in the South Ballroom will be the poster session with even more participants than the Symposium on Sustainability the evening before, in addition to the sustainability-related student organizations tabling and talking with students about how to get involved in their clubs. 

Finally, the Sun Room will be home to the Student Wellness Labyrinth, an interactive mindfulness activity that invites us all to slow down, breathe, be present in the moment, and practice self-sustainability!

Every year, we partner with ISU Catering to create a special menu for the event’s appetizers that features local producers and ingredients– even in the heart of Iowa winter! We have some very delicious classics, as well as a few new and innovative treats to share. Next to the catering tables will be recycling and compost receptacles, because this is a zero waste event!



We’ve designed this event to encompass all three facets of sustainability– environmental, economic, and social– and to both educate and empower YOU, the participants, to adopt more sustainable lifestyles.

Our teams at The Green Umbrella and Live Green! Initiative are looking forward to welcoming you to the Symposium on Sustainability and Sustainapalooza 2018– RSVP to the event on Facebook ( and follow the Live Green! Facebook page to stay up to date with event news!

Let us know what aspects of Sustainapalooza you’re looking forward to via social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) with hashtags #sustainapalooza2018 and #letsbesustainable. We may feature your post on our event slideshow or our social media!

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