Sustainapalooza 2018: Re-cap

It’s Heidi and Paige again, reporting on Sustainapalooza 2018!

Paige (left) and Heidi (right) making the most of a photo opportunity!

We cannot believe the event is over! We are so grateful for all 600+ of the students, faculty, staff, and community members that took time to come out and join us at this amazing event! We’re also grateful to everyone who took the time to volunteer to make Sustainapalooza a success! It was absolutely wonderful to see all of the connections being made around sustainability and to watch attendees discover their ability to be sustainABLE.

Sustainapalooza took place from 5-8pm on Tuesday, February 20th as part of the Symposium on Sustainability, which is a collaboration between The Green Umbrella student organization and the Office of Sustainability. The Symposium kicked off in the Great Hall and South Ballroom on Monday at 7pm with a poster session and keynote lecture by Nick Mullins, a former 5th generation coal miner, who focused on the importance of starting conversations and finding common ground with people who believe differently than we do. He addressed sustainability concerns with the mindset that we are facing “human” problems and so no matter race, gender, sexual orientations, or other identities– we all have a stake in the environmental, economic, and social success of future generations.


Dr. Joan Su (left) with TGU Co-President Lia Gomez

Also on Monday evening was the award ceremony for Live Green Award for Excellence in Sustainability, which was awarded to Dr. Joan Su for her outstanding work incorporating sustainability into the Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management curriculum at Iowa State University.

This year’s theme of “Let’s be sustainABLE” could be seen in all aspects of sustainability (environmental, social, and economic) throughout the Sustainapalooza event: the Green-It-Yourself stations, student organizations’ tabling displays, the clothing swap, green giveaways, and even the delicious, locally-sourced food options!


A panoramic image of the Great Hall during Sustainapalooza

The many attendees of Sustainapalooza took a walk down the “green carpet” when they entered the event, leading them to the Green Wall where they made specific pledges to change their lifestyles for the (sustainable) better! Beyond the Green Wall, beautiful artwork and design pieces from students, staff, and faculty were showcased.

The Green-It-Yourself stations provided attendees the chance to participate in interactive activities and leave the station with some sort of takeaway; this year, students created individual, flavored popcorn bags, an eco-friendly cleaning spray, and upcycled magnets and flannel garlands. These stations were led by Peer Wellness Educators, The Workspace, Wheatsfield Cooperative and The Green Umbrella club.


An attendee shopping the Clothing Swap in the Oak Room


The Clothing Swap, held in the Oak Room, received and swapped out 200+ items of clothing in three hours! Participants who didn’t bring clothes to swap donated non-perishable food items and money to the SHOP food pantry on campus instead. The clothing swap could not have been as well-executed as it was without all of the generous volunteers from The Fashion Show, as well as the tabling done by Overflow Thrift Store.

TGU Co-Presidents Bre Dykstra and Lia Gomez posing in front of the photo wall

The South Ballroom entertained our attendees with free giveaways and a photo booth with a life-size cardboard cutout of Cy. Giveaway items for this event were selected to especially focus on providing students with the tools needed to reduce their paper and plastic usage. This year’s giveaways included a two-in-one bamboo utensil (spoon and fork), stainless steel straws with a brush cleaner, and a reusable hand towel.

TGU member Haley Hoffman and Live Green! intern RJ Green showing off giveaway items at the prize table

The South Ballroom was also home to 22 student and community organizations sharing their sustainability-minded goals and activities! We had organizations registering people to volunteer at events, signing petitions, and even planting seeds in egg cartons! Additionally, the room was full of posters from university departments including the Local Foods extension team, the TreeCycle Program, LEED-certified buildings, and the ISU Power Plant.

The “Mindfulness Zone” featured calming music and a nature video

The Sun Room served as a “Mindfulness Zone” where attendees were encouraged to sit, lay, or stretch on a yoga mat and enjoy soothing music and a nature video as they reflected on their breath and presence in the moment, to practice self-sustainability.

We sincerely hope all attendees had as great of a time as we did! If you were unable to attend, we encourage you to make it a priority for next year. We also hope you will share photos taken at the event with Live Green! on social media(Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!) with hashtags #sustainapalooza2018 and #letsbesustainable or send them to us at

Don’t forget- it’s not too late to join the Eco Challenge that kicked off at Sustainapalooza! We still have 4 days to go until March 2nd at 8pm! Participants in the EcoChallenge log their sustainable actions to earn points and prizes, and everyone who logs an action is eligible to win prizes!

Don’t forget to join the EcoChallenge!

The app allows 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 prizes featured on our EcoChallenge event page) and all other challenge participants will be entered to win other prizes drawn randomly throughout the challenge! Download the Shine app here, create an account, and enter the access code “livegreen” to join the challenge.

Thanks again to everyone who volunteered, attended, and spoke with us at this year’s Sustainapalooza event! More photos of the event can be found here, and you can contact Paige and Heidi at and with any questions or concerns.

Have a fantastic rest of the week, and Live Green!

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