October: Sustainability at ISU

Hi Live Green! Enthusiasts,

It’s Isabelle, the Live Green! Social Media Engagement intern, again. I’m so excited to share more information about everything you can expect to see in October! The Live Green! Team is ready to be back in-person and engage with the community, especially at the Campus Sustainability Month celebration on October 27. The theme is Reuniting Campus and Sustainability for a Sustainable Future and it could not be more fitting for this month’s campaign.

October’s campaign is titled Sustainability at ISU. The overarching theme is how to engage in sustainability at Iowa State and in your daily lives, equipping you with an all-encompassing sustainability starter-kit. Examples of posts include highlighting sustainability courses at Iowa State (right in time for choosing Spring Semester classes!), revamping apartments with GIY crafts, shopping locally in Ames, etc. These posts will all lead up to the Campus Sustainability Month celebration. 

As a part of the October Campaign, Live Green!’s social media will feature courses that can count towards a Sustainability minor at Iowa State. The minor is only 15 credits and pairs well with ANY major. The classes are diverse and range from Architecture to Horticulture to Community and Regional Planning. Sustainability is approached differently, but is just as easily applicable, to every discipline. A full list of eligible courses for the Sustainability minor can be found on Iowa State’s Sustainability Minor curriculum catalog. 

Fall semester is the perfect time to start planning ahead for your spring course load. One class that will be highlighted this month is Water Resources of the World (GEOL 160). This class looks at water properties and the history and management of water resources in the world. Mary Klingelhoefer is a junior at Iowa State double majoring in Global Resource Systems and Environmental Studies with a minor in Sustainability. She said, “My geology classes are crucial not only for my future at Iowa State but my career after graduation. My Water Resources of the World course did an excellent job of showing sustainability issues happening right here in our community. I learned about the future of our country’s water resources and practices I could take to combat its issues. I feel like this course and others like it are giving me the tools to use to make informed decisions in my career.” 

Photo of Mary Klingerhoefer

In addition to Water Resources of the World, our social media will also highlight students taking classes including Sustainable and Environmental Horticulture Systems (HORT 424) and Sustainable Event Management (EVENT 378). The Live Green! Sustainability Course Directory is also a great resource for finding any course related to sustainability at Iowa State. 

As well as sustainability in student courses and connections, Sustainability at ISU is also evident in the “bigger picture” of operations. Iowa State uses LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Certification is based on eight categories of sustainability accomplishments: location and transportation; sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; material and resources; indoor environmental quality; innovation; and regional priority. The standards in each of these categories continue to get more rigorous each year, challenging facilities to continue to strive for maximum sustainability. Iowa State currently has 23 LEED-certified buildings. The design, construction and maintenance of these buildings accomplish social, economic and environmental sustainability. Practices such as planting green roofs, installing LED lights, utilizing natural light, using recycled building materials and harvesting rainwater are examples of features in LEED-certified buildings. State Gym earned a LEED platinum certification, the highest level, after its renovation in 2012. Becoming LEED certified takes a lot of hard work, planning and patience through a long application process. Iowa State’s commitment to sustainable design is an impressive accomplishment for students and faculty. 

As you walk around campus to class, take a look at the Live Green Campus Walking Guide which maps out the LEED buildings on campus and other unique examples of Iowa State’s commitment to sustainability! For even more information about campus initiatives related to sustainability in operations visit the Live Green! Website.  

Another aspect of the campaign will delve into what you can do to incorporate sustainability into your day-to-day life. The Princeton Review posted an article with 15 tips for living green in college. One of the most accessible and easy tips is buying local; several Ames businesses and attractions will be highlighted this month. For example, greening up your space with plants, whether it is in a dorm, apartment, or house, is a great way to naturally purify the air and stay connected to nature. Back Alley House Plants is a local house plant retailer that sources all of their merchandise from Central Iowa. 

Photo courtesy of The Princeton Review

Back Alley House Plants is also a participant in the Smart Business Challenge meaning they are committed to a sustainable business model! A full list of Smart Businesses in Ames can be found on the City of Ames website. 

An additional avenue for incorporating sustainability into your life is by learning about different sustainability initiatives in the Ames community and on campus. The Campus Sustainability Month celebration on October 27, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the South Campanile Lawn, is an opportunity for students to hear from clubs and organizations about their sustainability journey. The theme of the event is Reuniting Campus and Sustainability for a Sustainable Future. The community is so excited to connect with each other in-person again. Sustainability-focused clubs, organizations and businesses will come together and give students the opportunity to learn more about sustainability initiatives happening in the community. Attendees can learn about opportunities to get involved and sign-up for various groups, projects and activities. More details to come on our Facebook Events page! 

For more ideas on how to be engaged in eco-conscious actions and stay informed about sustainability on campus visit the Office of Sustainability’s page on How to Live Green. Don’t forget to stay tuned on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and WordPress for October’s sustainability-starter kit including sustainability course recommendations, local businesses and attractions to visit and tips for college students to stay environmentally-conscious. Have a great sustainable October at ISU!

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