My Sustainable Live Green! Summer

About Me

Good morning, afternoon, or evening! 

My name is Elizabeth, and I am going to be a junior at Iowa State in the fall. I’m majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Sustainability and will be serving as the STARS Benchmark & Certification Intern for the summer and through the 2021-2022 academic year.

This is me at my very first event as a Live Green! intern: Earth Day 2021!

STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Reporting System) is a way to objectively measure a university’s sustainability via a point system: universities can obtain a different rating depending how many points they earn. My work will be centered around collecting data from faculty and staff members around campus to submit to AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education). I will also organize this data for submission and help facilitate meetings. 

This summer, besides working on STARS, a lot of my work has been to assist the team with the College Creek Cleanup, which took place on June 12. This was my first time taking part in the event, which was a challenge, but I had so much fun taking on the role as event coordinator and learning about everything that goes into this annual event! This year, 34 volunteers came together to provide a total of 83 hours of service and removed a total of 575 pounds of trash from the creek. My main responsibility was reaching out to community businesses to help support the event through refreshments and door prizes. Through their generous support, we were able to provide door prizes to every volunteer, as well as offer a nice variety of refreshments and plenty of hydration! It had been incredibly hot the week leading up to the event, but we were lucky enough to have perfect weather the day of. You can view pictures from this year’s event, as well as past events on the College Creek webpage of the Live Green! website.

That’s a lot of garbage!

Sustainable Tips

The 4th of July is coming up soon, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways to have a sustainable summer!

1.) As the CDC deems it safer for people to gather outdoors, many people are looking forward to a Fourth of July celebration. If you’re traveling this summer, make sure you are picking up after yourself as you travel, gather, and enjoy some delicious food right off the grill! Picking up litter prevents the contamination of water sources and prevents animals from ingesting chemicals or microplastics, and also supports our campus and state beautification efforts through Keep Iowa State Beautiful and Keep Iowa Beautiful.

2.) Buy a reusable water bottle. They come in a range of prices and, depending on the material you choose, can do a great job at keeping your water nice and cold: perfect for a hot day! This Nature Unite blog post explains some of the benefits of reusable water bottles.

3.)   Close the windows and curtains before turning on the AC to cool down a room before reaching for the thermostat! If it’s still too hot, plugging in a fan will cool you down while using less energy. has some additional tips for how to conserve energy while cooling or heating your home.

4.) Volunteer and support a community initiative. Summer, at least for me, has offered some additional time to volunteer that I don’t have during the fall and spring semesters. One great summertime opportunity is volunteering at a local community garden. Local produce has a much smaller carbon footprint than produce that comes from across the country (or another country) because it is grown much closer to where it is sold. That means less shipping and transportation, which means less carbon emissions! When you volunteer, not only are you helping out your community, but gardening is also a great way to get some low-impact exercise! The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service is a great way to get involved with a volunteer opportunity this summer.

5.)   Speaking of local produce, be sure to check out a farmer’s market this summer! I love the Ames farmer’s market: the atmosphere is so nice, and there are so many dogs to pet! Des Moines, IA and Madison, WI have really great markets too. Is there a farmer’s market close to your city? The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has a farmer’s market directory on their website. Farmer’s markets are not limited to large cities, so if you don’t live near a metropolis, there may still be ways for you to take part!

6.)   If you plan to go swimming, invest in an eco-friendly sunscreen. Many sunscreens contain chemicals that are harmful to aquatic life, but some careful research can ensure that you’re being kind to the planet while still being kind to your skin. This page on the NOAA website explains how skincare chemicals like the ones found in many common sunscreens impact corals.

Upcoming Events

During the rest of the summer, I’ll be working on collecting data for the STARS submission and looking forward to Rummage RAMPage, which takes place July 30-August 7. Many leases are up at the end of July, and Rummage RAMPage collects furniture and other unneeded items that students leaving Ames would have left behind, even if it’s still in great condition. To prevent this furniture from ending up in a landfill, items and donations are collected and organized in the Ames Intermodal Facility and sold to community members, with all proceeds going to the non-profit organizations providing volunteer service during the event. The event offers opportunities to donate, shop and donate! To learn more, visit the Rummage RAMPage webpage on the City of Ames. This will also be my first time working at Rummage RAMPage, and I’m so excited to learn more about this great event and do some shopping too!

Rummage RAMPage takes place July 30-August 7 in the Ames Intermodal Facility!

And there is so much more!! Keep updated on all things sustainable at Iowa State University, as well as sustainable happenings in the Ames community, on the Live Green! website: Live Green! is also active on social media! Including Instagram, @isulivegreen, Twitter at @ISULiveGreen, Facebook: Live Green! Iowa State University and (of course) WordPress.I’ll be back later this summer with another update! Until then, have a great 4th of July weekend and thank you for all you do to ensure a sustainable future!

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