February: Sustainability Made Easy


It’s Leah, the Live Green! Social Media Engagement Intern. I am excited to share with you everything that is happening this month!

February’s social media campaign is Sustainability Made Easy. This month will highlight different ways of incorporating sustainability into your daily life. At ISU, we make sustainability easy by giving you many resources on campus to make it happen. For February’s blog, four areas of sustainability specifically related to the day-to-day Cyclone experience will be highlighted: food, transportation, wellness and engagement. Keep reading to learn more about how these organizations uplift Iowa State’s sustainability efforts and simultaneously engage the community.

This month also holds a campus-wide celebration for sustainability, Symposium on Sustainability. Within the symposium is Sustainapalooza. This event is dedicated to celebrating and showcasing ISU student, faculty and staff sustainability commitment, initiatives and accomplishments. Sustainapalooza features local food and ingredient refreshments, a clothing swap, and poster and tabling displays. This year’s event will be held on February 21 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. in the Great Hall at the Memorial Union.

To start, let’s define and explain the different facets of sustainability. Sustainability is known as a societal goal that gives the ability of people being able to co-exist on Earth over a long period of time safely. There are three facets of sustainability that come together to create one balanced, sustainable system. Environmental sustainability is likely the most commonly known facet of sustainability. This encompasses taking care of the earth by being environmentally friendly to the planet. The second facet of sustainability is social sustainability. This is seen as actions that embrace diversity in our world, connecting communities and giving back. The third and final facet of sustainability is economic sustainability. This looks like taking steps to ensure a financial future or supporting local economies. Each facet of sustainability does its part to help ensure and obtain a sustainable future on Earth.


Iowa State University strives toward ensuring the representation of each facet of sustainability on campus, making it easy for you to be sustainable on campus. Check out the Three Facets of Sustainability tab on the Live Green! website to learn more about each facet of sustainability. 


Related to food at Iowa State, ISU Dining prioritizes sustainability as a guiding principle for the department. ISU Dining takes pride in its recycling practices and purchasing from local growers and producers. Additionally, pre- and post-consumer food waste from dining centers is sent to the Iowa State University Compost Facility, which is then turned into a product used for landscaping and other campus needs. ISU Dining also possesses a wide variety of food genres that accommodate various dietary needs. Lastly, ISU Dining is proud to say they partner with Food at First (a local non-profit organization consisting of a daily Free Meal program for Ames’ community residents) and The Shop (a food pantry for Iowa State students by Iowa State students). To learn more about ISU Dining and its sustainable efforts, check out the Sustainability tab on the ISU Dining website. 


Transportation is another area offering initiatives that help make sustainability easy on campus. As part of its mission “to provide safe, economical and appropriate transportation” to students, faculty and staff, ISU Transportation Services offers a campus fleet currently consisting of 200 low or no-emission vehicles. Likewise, ISU Facilities Planning and Management routinely looks for opportunities to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety by installing new traffic signals, rerouting traffic lanes close to campus and collaborating in implementing the “Walk Your Wheels” awareness campaign. 

CyRide, the City and University bus system, is also dedicated to a more sustainable transportation future. Integrated in its fleet, CyRide uses 12 hybrid buses (accounting for approximately 17% of its total bus fleet) to help provide public transportation to our campus and community. Through this commitment, “Cybrid” buses result in a reduction of 23,000 gallons of fuel and 464,102 pounds of CO2 emissions per year. In addition, as part of the City of Ames Climate Action Plan, CyRide is also excited to add electric buses to its fleet – with the first arriving before the end of the spring semester.



Wellness and well-being is another initiative that helps make sustainability easy on campus. To provide focused self-sustainability support to students, Iowa State established Student Wellness in 2017. This department uses a comprehensive approach to promote a healthy university that values all students’ well-being while also examining the broader issues of social inequity that serve as barriers to students’ academic and personal success. In doing so, Student Wellness follows the recommendations of the Okanagan Charter, a framework for personal well-being, and helps students navigate eight wellness dimensions: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual wellness. Visit the ISU Student Wellness webpage to learn more about them  and their services. 

Wellness is also prioritized for faculty and staff, through ISU WellBeing, established in 2014. As noted on their website and shown through the diversity of resources they offer, ISU Wellbeing is focused and committed to giving people the skills for constant change – helping employees help themselves, and enabling each person to be an advocate for him/herself. Through well being, ensuring the culture that makes ISU a great place to work and learn; a campus where every person may bring his/her best self to work and life.


Lastly, be sure to take advantage of Live Green! events that are hosted at Iowa State University each and every semester. Check-out the Live Green! Calendar of Events (that represents the collective of campus sustainability opportunities) and sign-up for the Live Green! Monthly newsletter to stay updated on all of the many sustainability engagement opportunities on campus and throughout the Ames community.

SAVE THE DATES –  The 2023 Symposium on Sustainability and accompanying Sustainapalooza event are happening February 20, 21 and 23 in the Memorial Union. On February 20, Bernardo del Campo will provide a lecture as the event’s opening speaker. An Iowa State University alumnus, Dr. del Campo is founder and CEO of ARTi – Pyrolysis Reactors & Biochar Solutions, focused on the connection of atmospheric carbon sequestration and healthy, productive soils. On February 23, in partnership with the College of Engineering as a part of Engineering week, Christine Ervin will offer the Symposium keynote lecture. Ms. Ervin has served as the first president and CEO for the U.S. Green Building Council and as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy.

AND… on February 21, Sustainapalooza 2023: “The Urgency is Now” happens!! Sustainapalooza offers multiple opportunities for education, engagement, and empowerment through a wide variety of activities, including a clothing swap, as well as poster, artwork and tabling displays. Additionally, attendees can “create sustainably” at four Green-It-Yourself (GIY) Centers (including Mason jar recipes, “give back” first aid kits, green cleaning and clothing repair and sewing basics). Come to enjoy food and refreshments made from local ingredients, win sustainability-focused prizes, and write a “Challenge for Urgency” postcard as part of the interactive Green Wall! 

For more information, visit the Sustainapalooza Facebook event page or email the Live Green! Event Team, Haylie Moore at hxmoore@iastate.edu and Haley Wegener at hwegener@iastate.edu.

As the year moves forward, please consider the Live Green! Leadership Team as your  sustainability resource for connection to information, events and opportunities to get involved with sustainability on campus and throughout the community. Stay tuned for a month of tips, resources, connections, “did you know” stories and posts on our social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, as we round out this month’s campaign. 

Stay tuned for March’s Clean Waterways social media campaign where I will focus on the importance of keeping our waterways clean to our society, economy and environment.


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