October: Learning Green

Happy October, Cyclones! This is Molly and Maddie from the Ten Year Celebration!

Thank you all for participating in last month’s celebrations of Dining Green. We don’t know about you, but we loved learning where our food comes from and the sustainable operations that serve it to us –  at the ‘Dining Green Food & Features’ event. We also definitely took advantage of that extra “bring your own mug” discount on coffee at the campus cafes, ISU Dining offered. And all the fabulous YUM at the Local Food Festival!! What a GREAT month! Followed by another fabulous month of celebration, October: Learning Green.

Join our Learning Green Celebration – Sustainability Speaker Series

This month our 10 Years of Living Green! celebration is all about LEARNING GREEN. October is a perfect month to feature Learning Green because we have all settled into our current classes and we are also already looking ahead to register for spring semester. To celebrate this month, We are hosting a lecture series highlighting the three main facets of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social. In focusing on each facet individually through these speakers, we are excited to make sustainability connections to every major and every facet of operations at Iowa State University, as well as each an every individual, on-campus and in our community. Sustainability truly connects and is connected to us all. In addition, hearing about subjects through another’s perspectives and experiences is such a great way to learn outside of the classroom, and in such a fun and engaging way.

We are SO excited to offer three unique speakers to help celebrate our month of Learning Green.  They each have fascinating stories and such a diverse consideration and interaction with sustainability.

Art and Our Culture of Ephemerality

Andrew Kozlowski , kicked off our lecture series with a focus on social sustainability. An artist and teacher, who focuses on nature and sustainability through his art with a unique and powerful focus on our relationship with ephemeral (lasting for a very short time) things and experiences, Andrew offered such an interesting lens through which to consider social sustainability. His exhibit Under (Printed) Construction was display at the Design on Main Gallery September 10-20.  Following the exhibit, a public workshop was held on September 21 that dismantled his exhibit and used it as feedstock to make sheets of paper that was left for the community to have and use. Andrew spoke at ISU on Thursday, September 20 at 6:30pm in the Memorial Union South Ballroom. Special shout out to the Iowa State Print Society for spearheading Mr. Kozlowski’s visit to ISU and offering us the opportunity to partner with them.

Learn about the artwork and teaching of Andrew Kozlowski. Kozlowski’s exhibit Under (Printed) Construction will be on display at the Design on Main Gallery September 10-20th.

Making T–Shirts Out of Pop Bottles

Mike Draper, CEO and owner of Raygun, is the second speaker in our series. He will share the story of founding Raygun and diversity of sustainable considerations that goes into his business, with a focus on economic sustainability. As well as hearing Mike’s story, attendees can purchase Raygun gear which includes a specially designed (recycled and organic content and fair trade certified) t-shirt to commemorate our ten years of working to Live Green! and our ongoing vision for a sustainable future. **Cool factor!!  Half of the profits from all t-shirt sales will go to the ISU Student Government Green Initiatives Fund that supports sustainability student projects and initiatives. After the lecture, t-shirts will be for sale at the University Bookstore in the Memorial Union. Mike will speak on October 4 at 7pm in the Memorial Union Sun Room.  

We Rise: Building a Movement that Restores the Planet

Xiuhtexcatl Martinez will finish our sustainability speaker series by sharing his story as a warrior for environmental justice and sustainability since the age of 11. His work has been featured on PBS, Showtime, National Geographic, Rolling Stones, Upworthy, The Guardian, Vogue, Bill Maher, Skavlan, CNN, MSNBC, HBO, VICE, and more. Check out his book “We Rise” for a preview.

Due to a post-ponement, Xiuhtexcatl will speak to the public March 7th and then to our All-Iowa Sustainability Student Conference March 8th. Stay tuned for details!  

As an added component for all lectures, sustainability-focused student organizations representing each facet of sustainability will be tabling 45 minutes prior to each speaker’s presentation.  We look forward to seeing you!!

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez has been fighting environmental injustice since he was eleven. Come hear about his journey, and check out his new book “We Rise” for a preview.

Cyclones Learning Forward

There are so many opportunities at Iowa State University to incorporate sustainability into your education, both in the classroom and through extracurricular activities.

Green Your Degree

Every college at Iowa State University offers courses related or focused on sustainability. To learn more about sustainability courses, check out the Live Green! Sustainability Course Directory. Students at ISU are offered over 1000 sustainability-focused and related courses having environmental, economic, and/or social sustainability connections. Through this impressive collection, you can find electives that interest you or discover unique classes offered in your own major. With spring classes registration coming up, even adding one “green” class could be a great way to expand your knowledge on sustainability and add some unique dimension to your portfolio.  

To showcase our faculty’s impressive commitment to offering sustainability connections through classroom experiences, we are highlighting sustainability courses and “Did You Know?” learning green facts on posters and TV screens throughout numerous campus buildings during the month of October.

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We have personally taken a number of sustainability classes and highly recommend adding a “green” dimension to your adventure at Iowa State. To offer some additional detail to what ISU has to offer, we wanted to spotlight two classes that we have had first hand experience with and highly recommend.  

There are many courses offered in the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business that focus on business and sustainability. Dr. Priyanka Jayashankar, also a prominent sustainability researcher in the College, taught the course, Sustainable Supply Chain (SCM 471X), and stresses the importance of using sustainability research in the classroom. When looking at ten year goals for the next decade of sustainability at Iowa State, Jayashankar aspires to “help students become managers, executives, and entrepreneurs who can make a positive impact on society with best practices.”

Exploration of Environmental and Sustainability Issues (ENSCI 202). This is a one credit class offered in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the focus on exploring and gaining insight on a diversity of environmental challenges through a lens of all facets of sustainability. This course is one of our favorites to highlight because it is really was a great class for us that gave us such an overarching consideration of sustainability.  And, it doesn’t have a number of prerequisites required – so, it really is open to everyone!!

If you are looking to go a step further than just adding sustainability classes to your portfolio, consider adding a sustainability minor into your current coursework. At ISU, we have two interdisciplinary minors in sustainability, a minor in Sustainability, and one in Wind Energy.  The really unique “Did You Know?” about our Sustainability minor is that it only has two required classes and then you get to “build your minor” after that, according to your interests and career goals.

Other sustainability degree programs at Iowa State include: a minor in Energy Systems. Master’s programs in Urban Design, Sustainable Environments and Sustainable Agriculture. ISU also offers a PhD in Sustainable Agriculture.

Join a Community

In addition to taking classes or diving into a major/minor degree program related to sustainability, ISU offers sustainable learning communities to take part in. There are over 75 learning communities at Iowa State University that allow you to join a community of students pursuing the same degree as you or having the same interests.

Examples specifically targeted to sustainability include the Science of the Environment and Sustainable Systems Learning Community and The Sky is the Limit Learning Community. Offering a great way to meet new students devoted to sustainability!


Join a Green Group

Approximately 1/3 of our 800+ student organizations, at Iowa State University, have a connection to sustainability through their mission and goals. To gain some experience and connection to sustainability outside the classroom, join a sustainability student organization. The Office of Sustainability has created a listing of all sustainability student organizations and designated their connection to sustainability (environmental, economic or social). With opportunities to build solar-powered cars, volunteer with wildlife, learn a new language or help communities in need, joining a green student organization is fun and rewarding.

To give a bit more insight into what sustainability student organizations do, we have highlighted two that have especially unique approaches to sustainability and learning green.

The Environmental Education Club offers the opportunity for students of any major to learn more about sustainability and help others learn as well. President of the Environmental Education Club, Jillian Kurovski, mentioned, “The Environmental Education Club seeks to promote sustainability through inspiring children and fostering a love an appreciation for the Earth. Teaching people to love the environment from a young age encourages them to protect it as they grow to realize the problems that humanity faces in taking care of the earth. This could also grow into a passion that brings a child to a university to make things like sustainability their career. Our hope is that after each program, at least one child walks away with an appreciation for an aspect of the earth that they didn’t have before.”

The Engineers for a Sustainable World  student organization combines a passion for engineering and sustainability that extends internationally. With a mission focused on the belief that engineers and community members can work together to identify and solve technology-based problems, this organization commits to seeking, developing and employing solutions that can be locally sustained, whether in Ames Iowa or across the globe, leading to an improved quality of life.

There are green groups, in addition to student organizations, to join at Iowa State as well. Green Teams, made up of faculty, staff, and students all interested in furthering sustainability at Iowa State University, focus on a variety of opportunities to increase and enhance engagement in and commitment to sustainability through operations, initiatives and events. Currently, there are 29 Green Teams at Iowa State University, representing colleges, departments and business units. And there is always an opportunity to start a Green Team of your own.

Learning Through Service

Service Learning is a great way to enhance classroom learning by connecting to the community. Service learning consists of three essential elements: community service, curriculum connection, and reflection. This type of learning is a great way to do hands-on work and have a rewarding experience all in one – and offers a unique connection to all facets of sustainability!

Service-Learning Models

Model: Description: Example:
Civic-Based The learning objective for the Civic-Based Service-Learning Model is to promote civic engagement. Residence Halls that are participants of the Fresh Start Program.
Problem-Based The learning objective for the Problem-Based Service-Learning Model is to solve real, community-based problems. Students in the College of Engineering engage in designing rehabilitation engineering equipment for clients with a mental and/or physical disability.
Consulting-Based The learning objective for the Consulting-Based Service-Learning is to apply technical expertise to community needs. Students in the College of Business create marketing plans for nonprofits.
Community-Based Action Research The learning objective for the Community-Based Action Research Service-Learning experience is when a content-based or research methodology course focuses around research performed by the students in conjunction with the faculty member and community members. Community members and students contribute equally to setting the research agenda and determining how the results will be used. Students in an American History course collect and record oral histories from older members of the community. Together the students and community members establish an exhibit on the topic for children at a local museum.

Connecting Through Research

Iowa State University is noted as “the nation’s most student-centered public research university.” ISU students and faculty research a multitude of complex issues and ideas affecting the world. As well as work through our 1,200+ laboratories on campus, the Iowa State University Research Park supports additional research efforts through its 220+ acre development with more than 550,000 square feet of building space.

ISU’s commitment to research in sustainability (environmental, economic or social) is impressive with over 90% of all academic departments engaged in sustainability research and nearly half of all research at ISU having a sustainability connection.  Students are able to participate in research in class, through employment opportunities and as part of organizations – nurturing and supporting the development of mentoring relationships, improvement of skills, availability of experiences and connection of theory to practice.

Enjoying Public Lectures

A collaborative effort between the Student Government and the Office of the Provost, the Iowa State Lectures Program brings over a hundred speakers to campus each year, offering a broad spectrum of lectures, political debates, and academic forums; cultural events, including musical performances and art and dance programs; and entertainment, such as film and comedy. Offering all events free and open to the public.

Numerous sustainability speakers have come to ISU over the past decade (and beyond), representing a variety of perspectives and offering a plethora of insights and experiences, through the support and partnership of Lectures – that includes this month’s Sustainability Speaker Series. The Lectures Program just celebrated an anniversary of their own, 60 years of educating and entertaining students, faculty and staff at Iowa State University, the Ames community and communities across Iowa. This is a such a fabulous resource to take full advantage of at ISU!

Monthly Challenge – Learning Green

For the month of October, students, faculty and staff are “green challenged” to attend a sustainability lecture. We would, obviously, love for you to choose one (or all) of our sustainable lectures series, but if you are not able to attend those, choose one (or more) that is of interest to you and that offers you a new understanding of and connection to sustainability. There are SO many lectures available on dozens of different subjects, you definitely won’t have difficulty finding options to choose from. In addition, for all students, an extra challenge – add some “green” to your schedule. This could be signing up for a green course next semester, joining a sustainability club, or event or even just adding a new green habit to your schedule, which could be moving green or dining green. Whatever you choose to do, consider it an opportunity to learn something new and different. Embrace the experience, invite a friend or family member to join you and have fun with it!

What’s Next?

In November, Green is the New Black. Next month, our focus is on Buying Green and all the many ways ISU has committed to more sustainable purchases and purchasing operations. To offer a unique “buying green” engagement opportunity, as well as add to November’s National Small Business Saturday, we are hosting our own unique and “green” twist aimed at sustainable buying and community sustainability, by hosting our own local shopping day, “Sust-Ames” on November 10. We are excited to partner with Main Street and Campustown businesses to offer students the opportunity to shop local, get some unique gifts, enjoy special discounts and support local businesses before heading home for Thanksgiving break.  

Until then, we hope you can find a way to green your day through class or extracurriculars, and we cannot wait to see you all at the lectures this month!  **Bonus Opportunity – You can learn green AND start your buying green adventure at the October 4 lecture by picking up your unique Live Green-inspired Raygun t-shirt. Stay tuned to the Live Green! Facebook page and join the Ten Years of Living Green Facebook group for more information and “need to know” tidbits.


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