December- Creating Green

HAPPY DECEMBER CYCLONES! It’s Molly and Maddie here wishing you a merry and green holiday season!! Before our well-deserved holiday break at ISU, we are excited to celebrate our 5th month of our year-long celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Live Green! Initiative at Iowa State University and our December theme of “Creating Green”!  

As you know, every month during this academic year is dedicated to a different theme and celebrates all the impressive initiatives and accomplishments over the past decade connected to our monthly theme.  As well, each month offers a unique event in which to take part. As with the past four months, there are opportunities for education, engagement, and empowerment experiences in sustainability throughout December.  

From creating the Live Green! Initiative, a decade ago, to all of the MANY sustainability projects, initiatives, events, commitments and accomplishments that have followed, Iowa State University students, faculty and staff have definitely dedicated creativity, enthusiasm and vision to creating green in a diversity of ways.

In the Beginning

Creating Green, though having been a part of ISU since 1858, was formally established with the founding of the Live Green! Initiative in 2008. Along with the Live Green! Initiative, other green components were created as well to support the campus wide effort, the Live Green Revolving Loan Fund, the University’s commitment to a goal of LEED gold for all new construction and major renovation projects and the position of Director of Sustainability. To create even more green, in 2010 Iowa State University partnered with the City of Ames toward a shared sustainability director position. Merry Rankin was ISU’s first Director of Sustainability and still holds this (now shared role) position.  As well as celebrating Live Green! Initiative’s ten-year anniversary, Merry also celebrates her ten-year anniversary this year.  


Channel Your Inner Green Creator at Our Sustainable Wrapping Event

December is a month of holidays, celebrations and gift giving.  Some of the most unique gifts are ones that are equally unique in their wrapping. And some of the most unique wrappings are ones that aren’t purchased, but instead are found within common items around your home. Items such as calendars, magazines, newspapers, posters and maps offer one of a kind wrapping options that cannot be found on a roll and are available at no cost.  Not only can these items “wrap up” a gift, they can put a bow on it and serve as a name tag.

To help you channel your creative wrapping eye and skills, we are offering an upcycled (taking an item that has no additional value in its current form and use it for a purpose that gives it new value) wrapping event on Thursday, November 29 and Friday, November 30 – in conjunction with ISU’s annual Art Mart and Winterfest events. Here are more specifics:

  • What: FREE sustainable gift wrapping in recycled/upcycled materials including: ISU Athletic posters, ISU Dailys, various road maps, calendars, etc. For items purchased at Art Mart or at the ISU Bookstore, crafts made during WinterFest or ANY gifts you have that need wrapping (no purchase or craft making on Thursday or Friday necessary).
  • When: Thursday, November 29th 10-5pm and Friday, November 30th 10-8pm
  • Where: Outside the Campanile Room, Memorial Union ( Art Mart location)
  • Who: Iowa State University students, faculty and staff and Ames community members
  • How: Just show up with your gifts that need wrapping.  Wrapping can be done for you or you can use supplies provided to wrap your own gifts. Registration suggested (to ensure adequate supplies) by RSVPing to the Facebook event page.

Not only can you green your gift wrapping on Thursday and Friday… you can green your gifts too! We have specifically timed our event to be held in conjunction with Art Mart and Winterfest, offering opportunities to create one-of-a-kind gifts through crafting opportunities as well as purchasing one-of-a-kind art pieces (and supporting local artists). Definitely a one-stop holiday green gifting event, not to miss!! We look forward to seeing you there!!

Cyclones Creating Green

Iowa State University celebrates a rich and bountiful commitment of creating green over the past decade. From operational policies and initiatives to dedicated research and including academic connections and co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities, we have embarked upon and accomplished an impressive and vibrantly green journey.

LEEDing in Sustainable Design

As noted above, from the very beginning of the Live Green! Initiative, Iowa State committed to a significant goal dedicated to creating green – targeting LEED gold certification for all new construction and major renovation design and construction projects. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a rating system devised by the United States Green Building Council to evaluate the environmental performance of a building. Buildings pursuing certification can be rated as certified, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum, based on sustainable commitment to and performance related to various design and construction components including: energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and waste management. We currently have 15 LEED certified projects at ISU, with a number awaiting certification. Look for LEED certification signage next time you are in one of these buildings:

Projects that have achieved LEED certification include:

  •             College of Design King Pavilion (Platinum, 2010)
  •             State Gym (Platinum, 2012)
  •             Biorenewables Research Laboratory (Gold, 2011)
  •             Hach Hall (Gold, 2011)
  •             Small Animal Hospital at the Lloyd Veterinary Medicine Center (Gold, 2013)
  •             Troxel Hall (Gold, 2014)
  •             Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center (Gold, 2015)
  •             Curtiss Student Services Mall (Gold, 2015)
  •             Curtiss Hall Commons (Gold, 2015)
  •             Sukup and Elings Hall (Gold, 2017)
  •             Geoffroy Hall (Gold, 2017)
  •             Marston Hall (Gold, 2017)
  •             Morrill Hall (Silver, 2008)
  •             Bergstrom Football Complex (Silver, 2014)
  •             Lagomarcino School of Education (Silver, 2016)

And be on the lookout for the official certification of these in-progress LEED projects:

  •             Frederiksen Court apartments (6)
  •             Bessey Hall addition
  •             Advanced Teaching and Research Building
  •             Student Innovation Center

Raising the (Green) Roof

While there are many ways a building can be sustainable, one less often thought of component is greening (literally) the roof.  Though, not as easily visible as recycled content flooring, natural light systems or rain gardens, ISU has taken advantage of this creating green opportunity and covered a number of campus roofs are covered in greenery. While the plants do add some aesthetic style to roofs, the main benefit of a green roof is stormwater management. These roofs can hold 80% of a one-inch rain storm, unlike a traditionally non-landscaped roof designed to quickly remove all stormwater. Our campus roofs at Iowa State, add over 50,000 additional square feet of green space to campus. Buildings hosting rooftop green space include:

  •             State Gym
  •             Troxel Hall
  •             Memorial Union
  •             Horticulture Hall
  •             Biorenewables Research Laboratory
  •             Sukup Hall
  •             Elings Hall
  •             Bissell Road CyRide Shelter

Campus of Trees

Not only is Iowa State University committed to creating green through our built environment, we also demonstrate green creation throughout our natural environment. A primary component, especially relevant to ISU’s natural environment is our campus forest. Not only do we have numerous trees on campus, we have a diverse representation of tree species that has a dedicated plan of care, an advisory committee overseeing its health and welfare and is an integral component of countless immersive educational experiences and interactions. In recognition of this multifaceted commitment to creating green outdoors, Iowa State has achieved Tree Campus USA designation.  

Land of the Upcycled Tree

In the event that we may lose one of our trees, through disease, storms or other means, commitment to creating green prevails within a unique opportunity to upcycle downed trees through Iowa State’s TreeCYcle Program. Initially a consideration in 2005 when a tornado downed around 70 trees, the initiative focused on keeping campus trees, no longer standing, preserved and still on campus in the form of handcrafted wood furniture. To date, more than 450 campus furniture pieces have been constructed from downed campus trees and can been seen across campus. For example, the walnut counters in Friley Windows and an accent wall in Geoffroy Hall are both products of the ISU TreeCycle Program.  In addition to furniture pieces for campus buildings, TreeCYcle wood is also made available to for academic projects and other campus initiatives. Among those initiatives is the creation of award frames for the Office of Sustainability’s annual Live Green! Excellence Awards.


Creating Green through Discovery

Creating green is not just limited to operations and physical spaces and things, it is also through research. One hundred research centers and institutes provide creating green opportunities for students, faculty and staff. Among these is ISU’s Community Design Lab (CDL), a partnership between the Iowa State University College of Design and ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development (CED). The Community Design Lab works with community leaders, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies throughout the state of Iowa, using design knowledge and research expertise to help shape vibrant and empowered communities. More than 50% of university faculty members are engaged in sustainability research, collectively representing 80% of Iowa State’s academic departments.


Clubs Supporting Creating Green

There are a number of ways to create green at ISU, as is noted through the diverse and comprehensive commitment noted above. This diversity extends to the commitment made by ISU student organizations through their personal dedication to be intimately engaged in green creations. To illustrate this impressive and impactful dedication, two student organizations are highlighted this month.

Creating Green Infrastructure

Engineers for a Sustainable World is a organization dedicated to creating innovative solutions for a more sustainable world.

Carina Grady, the Renewable Energy Group Leader for Engineers for a Sustainable World, says, “Engineers for a Sustainable World is committed to building a better world. Here at Iowa State, our ESW chapter aims to build a sustainable campus for current and future students. Right now, we have six ongoing projects with the following topics: renewable energy, rainwater run-off, bee houses, composting, solar distiller, and plastic recycling.”


Grady is the project leader of the renewable energy project. The current project is a portable solar charging station that will power a few phones or a laptop, extracting electricity from the sun rather than a fossil fuel reliant power plant, preventing CO2, SOx, and NOx emissions.

“The nation is headed in a renewable energy direction, and we are right at the beginning of it. Right now, we want to be one of the first ongoing clubs to promote renewable energy practices and accessibility so that in ten years, it is not uncommon to hear of ISU students charging their laptops and phones from solar-powered stations.”

Preserving Green Spaces

The ISU Landscape Club, founded in 2011, dedicates effort to creating green through offering hands-on experiences and enhanced learning opportunities outside the classroom.  

In fulfilling their mission, members have taken part in multiple community events, including United Way Day of Caring, and offer creating green assistance to the public through design sessions providing garden advice, a brief elevation sketch of a potential design, and plant selections for residential gardens.  In addition, members have traveled to various locations to lend a hand in a variety of service projects, including the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association Day of Service at Kirkwood Community College.

As well as honing their creative skills through projects and service, members also challenge themselves through competitive opportunities, including the annually held National Collegiate Landscape Competition. In 2018, though not among the overall competition winners, the ISU Landscape Club has been within top rankings in recognition of their enthusiasm at multiple NCLC competitions.


Monthly Challenge – Creating Green by Gifting Green

Try making a homemade gift this holiday season. There are a variety of options for a variety of ages and skill sets.  You do not have to be an artist, good at sewing or an avid crafter to create green through a homemade gift. Creating green really is all about not just buying, but in considering how you can create instead.  For example… instead of buying a gift card, create handmade gift cards for gifting your time spent with a friend or family member. Websites like Pinterest can offer you lots of ideas. Our Live Green! Pinterest page, can kick-start some sustainability-minded creations.

If you are supplied with creative ideas and skills, there are endless opportunities and resources to create green. The Workspace, located in the Memorial Union at Iowa State University, offers classes throughout the academic year as well as walk-in crafts, each month. For the month of December,  an especially festive (and very green) walk-in craft is being offered – creating a Winter Garland, using recycled flannel fabric.


Create a Greener Portfolio

Creating Green doesn’t just have to be a challenge connected to gifts, it can extend to challenging yourself to create some green for your spring semester.  Our October blog highlighted the impressive diversity of learning green opportunities available at ISU, if creating green gifts is not the challenge for you, then challenge yourself to green gifting yourself through creating a greener portfolio and adding a sustainability class (finding one is easy with the Sustainability Live Green! Sustainability Course Directory). There are green classes to choose from in every college at Iowa State University.  Happy greening!!

What’s Next?

January celebrates Giving Green and Iowa State University’s strong and proud tradition of supporting community through giving of time, resources and dedicated commitment. In January, we will be facilitating a “Collection for the Community Initiative” – collecting gently-used clothes, non-perishable food and toiletry items to provide to campus and community organizations to assist our neighbors and peers in need. As you are celebrating holidays and home for break, take some time to look through your closets and drawers for clothing you might not need or wear – and when you come back and shop for spring semester groceries and supplies, maybe consider adding a couple more cans of food or an extra tube of toothpaste and “give in” on the greening.

To keep updated on all the latest 10 Year updates and happenings, don’t forget to join our Ten Years of Living Green Facebook group.

Good luck on finals, safe travels and happy holidays!

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.


August: Moving Green

 Welcome back to school, Cyclones!

This is Molly and Maddie here from the Live Green Ten Year Anniversary. As some of you are “moving in,” we are excited to invite all of you to MOVE GREEN this month as we kick-off the Live Green! Ten Year Anniversary monthly themes and events.

Our Ten Year Anniversary celebrates all the remarkable sustainability initiatives and the significant changes Iowa State University has made over the past decade. Each month is dedicated to a different theme, event, and historic change on campus. There will be opportunities for you to discover education, engagement, and empowerment opportunities and experiences with every month of the Ten Year celebration.

Celebrate with Yoga on the Lawn

With the start of a new school year, it is especially important to get outside and stay active – sustaining yourself to sustain the world. We are excited to announce our August event, Yoga on the Lawn, in partnership with ISU Recreation Services. Free healthy snacks, water bottle refills and sustainability-minded giveaways will be offered as well as displays and tabling highlighting the diversity of ways Iowa State University has been moving green over the past 10 years. Students, faculty, and staff of all skill levels are invited to participate in moving green with us through yoga. We are excited to connect Iowa Staters to a fun twist on getting outdoors and staying healthy.  We hope you can join us!!


What: Yoga on the Lawn (an event for all ages and experience levels)

When: August 29th, 6-8pm (Class 6:30-7:30pm)*

Where: South Campanile Lawn

Who: Iowa State University students, faculty and staff

How: Registration requested by RSVPing on the 10 Years of Living Green Facebook page

*Come early to fill your water bottle, learn more about social sustainability efforts at ISU, grab a snack and a mat (quantities limited) and find your perfect Zen spot. 

Our Moves to a Greener Future

The past ten years have been filled with exciting changes surrounding greening our movement and healthy moving. Outdoor Recreation at Iowa State provides students, faculty, and staff with lots of fun ways to get active. There are dozens of fitness classes every week which are free and open to all. Students can also grab some friends and play intramural sports for a chance to move in a fun, competitive way.

Outdoor Recreation also offers outdoor trips for afternoons, weekends, or holiday breaks. You can participate in workshops for rock climbing, kayaking, and more. You could also plan your own trips and rent equipment through Outdoor Recreation. If you are looking for a new way to get active, this might be just the way to do it.


ISU WellBeing and Student Wellness offers fun ways to be active and well. Last year, they kicked off Friday Walk and Talks where students, faculty, and staff could participate in one mile walks around our beautiful campus. They are hoping for a similar program this fall, so keep following ISU WellBeing and Student Wellness for more information on how to be involved. Additionally, they offer many programs for employees and students focused on health including nutrition counseling, their Health for Every Body program, and more.

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Another way to enjoy the beauty of Iowa State AND Ames is to check out all of our fabulous walking and bike paths.

Cyclones Moving Forward

Other ways students have been moving green on and off campus, over the past decade, include changes to CyRide, Car Share, and Bike Share. Iowa State’s hybrid CyRides, certainly have moved green by reducing 23,000 gallons of fuel and 464,102 pounds of CO2 emissions per year. Iowa State also greens our move by offering car sharing through Zipcar. We  have offered car sharing opportunities to students, faculty and staff since fall 2011. Virtually, a 24/7 online rental car program, signing up costs only $15 a year for students (a bit more for faculty and staff) and includes the price of gas, insurance, maintenance, and 24-hour roadside assistance, along with a per hour or per day rental reservation. You can easily join and be a part of the largest car-sharing network, servicing more then 600 college campuses. Another ISU “green move” option for one time rides is by using our Campus Ride Share Program, developed and offered by ISU Student Government. Through these two programs, Cyclones are offered opportunities to easily rent cars, share transportation, reduce the amount of vehicles on campus and eliminate the hassle of having a car on campus.

Additionally, many campus services use “green transportation” to get around, contributing to a greener community. Nearly half of the vehicles provided for campus travel by ISU Transportation Services are zero or low emission, earning ISU the recognition of being named one of the Top 50 Green Fleets among universities and municipalities.


Clubs on the Move

As a part of our Ten Year celebration year, we are excited to also highlight student organizations each month that have supported (and continue to support) each month’s unique theme as well sustainability at Iowa State University. 

Two clubs we would like to spotlight this month include Biobus and PrISUm. Both clubs are helping to MOVE Iowa State in a greener direction with sustainable research and knowledge. We are so happy to have both these groups and more on campus. Their executive team, advisors, and members all support our continued journey toward a sustainable future.

ISU BioBus Administrators gave us some insight on their mission and goals for the next ten years.

BioBus promotes sustainability through making renewable energy derived from waste products. We take used cooking oil that would otherwise be thrown away and turn it into biomass based diesel that has lower carbon emissions and provides the same energy as petroleum diesel. We intend to increase production of renewable energy as high as possible over the next decade and promote living green across campus.”

Smeet Mistry, the President of PrISUm Solar Car student organization also gave us some understanding of PrISUm Solar Car and their initiatives.

“PrISUm Solar Car is a collective of students that are determined to change the way people think about sustainable transportation. We do that in two ways, we build practical solar cars that break barriers in peoples’ minds about what a solar car is and what it’s capable of doing, and we take those cars on outreach and educate the public on how students at ISU are changing what’s possible and why solar transportation is a completely viable alternative to fossil fuel transportation. Our latest car Penumbra demonstrates this perfectly because it is capable of almost everything a “normal” car on the road today is capable of: comfortably seating 4 people, connecting to your phone and playing music or taking phone calls, providing GPS navigation, storing groceries or luggage in the back, and even more, all while being powered by the sun.”

Mistry gave some ten year goals for PrISUm Solar Car and Iowa State University as a whole. “Our ten year goals for Iowa State regarding sustainability include more support and exposure for all the student initiatives related to sustainability, including PrISUm but not limited to just us. I know there are many other great clubs and organizations that focus their efforts on sustainability but a lot of people just don’t know about them. I hope that in ten years, Iowa State University becomes known not only nationally but also globally as a leader in developing sustainability focused programs and technology.”

We are striving for this same level of success by recognizing and supporting sustainability initiatives at Iowa State University. As we continue to celebrate and acknowledge our achievements, we move closer to our green goals.

Monthly Challenge – Moving Green

Thanks for learning about Moving Green at Iowa State University. We hope you get out and stay active! Here’s a challenge to keep you moving!!

For the month of August, students, faculty, and staff are “green challenged” to enjoy the outdoors at least once a week for the month of September. We recommend checking out a new walking path in Ames to celebrate moving green. There are dozens of beautiful options! Additionally, since it’s move in time, students are encouraged to green their move in. Some ideas include using reusable bags, recycling cardboard boxes, donating unneeded items to local charities, and buying needed items second-hand. Make this move in great!

What’s Next?

Next month, we will be exploring everyone’s favorite topic- Food! …specifically, Dining Green. Get ready to explore green dining initiatives and what students can do. We hope you are hungry for some knowledge! Remember to join our Ten Years of Living Green Facebook group for more information on events, giveaways, and all things live green!! 


Iowa State University is Celebrating 10 Years of Living Green!

Hello, Cyclones!! My name is Molly Breen, and I am here with Maddie Blandin. We are Strategic Initiatives Interns for the Iowa State University Live Green! Initiative. The Live Green! Initiative is celebrating its ten-year anniversary THIS year, and we are so excited to celebrate Ten Years of Living Green with all of you!


Live Green! is Iowa State University’s campus-wide sustainability initiative encouraging all students, faculty, and staff to make our campus, its operations and initiatives as “green” as possible.

The Live Green! initiative began in 2008 (ten years ago), and offered two challenges for Iowa State University with focus on engaging students, staff and faculty:

  • To be a leader in sustainability among land grant institutions.
  • To recognize that the involvement and dedication of every member of the Iowa State University community is critical to achieving this goal.

The Live Green! ten-year celebration seeks to acknowledge our effort, dedication and accomplishments while still looking to the future. From August to May during the 2018-2019 school year, the Live Green! Initiative will host various events focused on offering education, engagement and empowerment opportunities and experiences for  students, faculty and staff. You can follow along by joining our 10 Year Facebook group where you will receive exclusive updates about our events and giveaways. A preview of this year’s themes and events are included below. 

August: Moving Green

Discover the ways Cyclones have and are moving green during the month of move-in. Our moves with Hybrid CyRide buses have reduced carbon emissions by 464,102 pounds and saving 23,000 gallons of fuel per year. Students are finding lots of unique ways to move greener with over 30 group fitness classes offered each semester. To celebrate moving green, Iowa Staters are invited to participate in outdoor yoga on our beautiful Central Campus with the help of ISU Outdoor Recreation. Let’s keep moving, Cyclones!

Yoga on the Lawn

  • Wednesday, August 29th 6:00-8:00pm
  • South Campanile Lawn
  • *Free snacks and giveaways for attendees, while quantities last. Yoga mats will be provided for the first 25 participants.


September: Dining Green

Celebrate the month of Iowa State University’s local food festival and farmer’s market season by treating yourself to some knowledge of our green dining campus initiatives. Come meet the farmers who provide fresh, local ingredients to Iowa State’s dining centers and campus cafes. For an extra treat, come learn about living green on campus and get free cookies and discounted coffee if you bring your own mug.

Dining Green Foods & Features

  • Monday, September 10th 11:30-1:30pm
  • Parks Library Lawn
  • Learn about green dining intiatives and accomplishments and enjoy free ISU Dining cookies and ISU Horticulture Station apples.

October: Learning Green

Absorb knowledge by Learning Green with our three-part lecture series focused on environmental, economic and social sustainability. This is also the perfect month to browse the course catalog of sustainability-related courses for your spring schedule, and join a sustainable student organization!

Environmental, Economic & Social Sustainability Speaker Series

November: Buying Green

Keep our city “Sust-AMES-able” by shopping local during our event hosted on Main Street in Ames. Consider supporting local businesses by doing your holiday gift shopping here! There will be opportunities throughout the month to learn about the university’s green shopping habits, too!

Sust-Ames Local Shopping Day

  • Saturday, November 10th (all day)
  • Main Street and Campustown businesses
  • Shop local, sustain Ames and enter a drawing for sustainable prizes.

December: Creating Green

We are excited to celebrate all things creating green as this semester “wraps” up. Join us at the ArtMart in the Memorial Union for free, sustainable and unique gift wrapping and learn about what Iowa State University and Cyclones are creating on campus.

Sustainable Gifting Event

  • Thursday, November 29th 11-2pm
  • ArtMart, Memorial Union
  • Free gift wrapping with repurposed materials. Come see us at Winterfest on Friday, too!  

January: Giving Green

Start off the new year with a giving spirit. Drop off canned goods and gently used clothing to the Memorial Union, and pay forward for our community.

Collecting for the Community Initiative

  • Thursday, January 17th 11-2pm
  • Tabling in Memorial Union (by Bookstore)
  • Earn prizes by donating and stop by to learn about giving at Iowa State University

February: Embracing Green

Embrace both history and love this month by learning about ways we can promote diversity and understanding on our college campus. Join for us coffee and conversation, and practice embracing social awareness and diversity.

Coffee Conversations on Sustainability Events

  • Dates and times TBD
  • Parks Library and Design on Main

March: Exploring Green

Gear up for Spring Break and explore sustainable opportunities for travel, volunteering and self-care while classes are not in session. We’ll be here to support you as you “spring” into self-sustainability.

All-Iowa Student Sustainability Conference

  • Friday, March 8th 9am-4:30pm
  • Memorial Union
  • SAVE THE DATE!!  More information and registration information to come!

April: Celebrating Green

Celebrate TEN years in April for our final month and anniversary celebration! Come for live music, free food and yard games, but stay for the history, conversations and FUN.

Ten Years of Living Green Finale Celebration Event

  • Central Campus
  • SAVE THE DATE! Food, multi-faceted celebrating and sustainability-minded giveaways. Stay tuned to the Ten Year Celebration Facebook page for more information.

 As you can see have a year planned that is bursting with celebration for the MANY ways we have been living cardinal, gold and green over the past ten years!!  We are SO excited to bring you each and every one of these events and features and look forward to celebrating 10 Years of the Live Green! Initiative on Iowa State’s Campus with you!

Stay connected to make sure you do not miss any part of our celebration year!!  To get a head start on this year’s celebration, join our Facebook group and follow us on social media (WordPress, Instagram, and Facebook).

10 YR. LG! Logo.png


Earth Day Re-Cap

Happy Spring, Live Green! Community!

Heidi and Paige here to not only remark on the BEAUTIFUL weather we’re having this week, but also to recap the fun and empowering Earth Day event we had on campus last week.

The event was held last Thursday, April 19th, from 11am-2pm in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. Heidi and I and The Green Umbrella executive team have been planning Earth Day 2018 since Sustainapalooza wrapped up in February, in order to make it an event you wouldn’t forget.

The Green Umbrella executive team chose the theme “Love Your Mother” for this year’s event in order to hone in on environmental sustainability and how we can give back to “Mother Earth.” We expanded on this theme in fun ways like “Notes From Your Mother” that were displayed around the event, which you can see below.


We had a last minute relocation indoors due to snowy weather and muddy ground, but we still had around 350 attendees and more than 100 people who made Earth Day pledges!

There were 25 campus and community organizations hosting tables at the event and sharing their organization’s commitment to sustainability with hands-on activities, handing out coupons and educational materials, and getting people signed up to join their organization!


We’re so grateful for each of the 25 organizations who hosted interactive and engaging table displays at the event. Organizations included:

  • Oxfam-ISU
  • Climate Reality Campus Corps: ISU
  • Iowa State Environmental Science Club
  • Iowa State Dance Marathon
  • GreenHouse Group
  • Workspace
  • Students Helping Our Peers (The SHOP Food Pantry)
  • Bikes At Work
  • Random Goods
  • ISU Dining
  • Student Government
  • JAX Outdoor Gear
  • Engineers for a Sustainable World Compost Group
  • Smart Business Challenge
  • Conservation Club
  • Iowa State SAE
  • Office of Sustainability’s 10 Year Campaign
  • Environmental Education Club
  • The Loft
  • Wheatsfield
  • Ames Bicycle Coalition
  • Good Earth Student Farm
  • Wind Energy Student Organization (WESO)
  • Community & Regional Planning Club
  • Cellular Agriculture Society


One of the engaging pieces of the event was our prize card, which encouraged attendees to interact with tabling organizations and get a space on their prize card marked off. Attendees could earn prizes for every 5 spaces they had marked off and be entered to win one of our door prizes once they talked to 20 different organizations and took one of our Earth Day pledges!


Along with cookies from Insomnia Cookies and fruit-infused water from ISU Dining, prize card prizes included:

  • Live Green! Buttons
  • “Love Your Mother” stickers
  • Stainless steel straws and cleaning brushes
  • Reusable hand towel
  • Water bottle with fruit-infuser
  • Travel mug

Door prizes included:

  • Two $50 gift cards to Wild Root Salon
  • Two $10 gift cards to Wheatsfield Cooperative
  • Four $10 gift cards to Morning Bell Coffee Roasters


We hope that all event attendees enjoyed their experience, and would love to hear from you in the comments sections about what you learned from/enjoyed about the event!

Thank you to everyone who was a part of our Live Green! Community this academic year, and don’t forget—there are still two days to celebrate Earth Month 2018, and unlimited days to celebrate Earth Day, Every Day!

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!

Sneak Peak: Symposium on Sustainability and Sustainapalooza 2018

It’s Paige and Heidi, reporting on Sustainapalooza!

As you probably know, Sustainapalooza is in just ONE WEEK!

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We’re SO EXCITED and we hope you are too! We’re writing this post to explain some of the things you’ll find at Sustainapalooza, and reveal the exciting giveaways that will be there.

Every year, Sustainapalooza takes place as a part of the Symposium on Sustainability which includes a poster session and lecturer to present on some facet of sustainability. The theme of this year’s Symposium is “Let’s Be SustainABLE,” which reminds us that we’re all able to do something to make the world a little more sustainable- economically, environmentally, and socially!

The Symposium on Sustainability starts on Monday, February 19th (the day before Sustainapalooza), and includes a poster session from 7-8:00pm featuring student, faculty, and staff research as well as highlighting some of the more sustainability-centered initiatives here at Iowa State (like, did you know 95% of our custodians’ products are third-party eco-friendly certified?). There will also be student organizations hosting tables and sharing information about the sustainable aspects of their clubs. Don’t forget– we’ll have appetizers made with local ingredients!

At 8:00pm, we’ll be featuring a lecture by Nick Mullins, a former fifth-generation coal miner who will present his thoughts and work on the balance between economic success and environmental conservation in Appalachia.


Bird’s Eye View of the Great Hall at Sustainapalooza 2017

On Tuesday, February 20th, Sustainapalooza will kick off at 5:00pm in the Great Hall. When participants enter the room, they’ll be able to see the Green Wall, where everyone can take a walk down the Green Carpet (upcycled out of astroturf from the ISU Bergstrom Football Complex) and then make a pledge towards making something in their life more sustainable. There will also be student design work around the Great Hall which shows how our students at ISU are practicing sustainability within the classroom.

Also in the Great Hall are the Green-It-Yourself stations, which are interactive activities with take-home results which will help you implement sustainable actions. The goal of these stations is to empower participants to make their lifestyles a little bit “greener.” Our stations will include:

It’s Poppin’

Join Peer Wellness Educators to create healthy, dorm friendly, customized popcorn mixes you can pop at home!

Clean and Green

Team up with Wheatsfield Cooperative to learn how to make your own green cleaning products (and create some to take home) using essential oils and other eco-friendly ingredients!

Stuck on Sustainability

Get creative with the Workspace and DNR to create up-cycled magnets out of building materials.

Sole Sustainable

Calculate your ecological footprint using an online assessment and get helpful hints on how to reduce it!


GIY Potato Soup from Sustainapalooza 2017

In the Oak Room, we’ll be hosting our Clothing Swap and talking about the opportunities within secondhand shopping! Participants can pick out a “new-to-them” item of clothing for every clothing item they donate (you can also donate $2/two non-perishables for one item, or get 3 items for $5/5 non-perishables).


A 2017 Sustainapalooza participant shopping our clothing swap!

We display hundreds of clothing items every year, so the event really is a fun shopping experience with lots of options! We’ll be collecting clothing in the Memorial Union East and West Student Office Space up until the event, so feel free to drop off your donations ahead of time (just ask for the clothing swap box, and then be sure to write down your name and number of items donated!). You can also drop off your donations at our table next to the Iowa State Bookstore from 8:00am-5:00pm on Friday, February 16th and Monday, February 19th!

One of our new introductions to the event is the kick-off of our app-based EcoChallenge. We’ve partnered with Joulebug, a company which has created an app challenge that allows participants in an EcoChallenge log their sustainable actions to earn points and prizes.


The Iowa State University Live Green! Challenge will last 10 days, and will allow 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 prize basket featured at the EcoChallenge table) and all other challenge participants will be entered to win other prizes drawn randomly throughout the challenge! If you want to prepare now, you can download the Shine app here, create an account, and enter the access code “livegreen” to join the challenge.

As participants enter the South Ballroom, they’ll see the photo booth, with fun props (including a cardboard cut-out of Cy) and our prize table (FREE giveaways– seriously).

It’s always exciting for The Green Umbrella and Live Green! Teams to select giveaway items for our events, as it’s a fun opportunity to get more people involved in our journey towards sustainability and to equip them with the tools they need to live a little lighter on our Earth. This year, we’re excited to announce the following giveaways:

  • Bamboo utensil with fork on one end and spoon on the other
  • Stainless steel straw with brush cleaner
  • Reusable hand towel with clip-on


Also in the South Ballroom will be the poster session with even more participants than the Symposium on Sustainability the evening before, in addition to the sustainability-related student organizations tabling and talking with students about how to get involved in their clubs. 

Finally, the Sun Room will be home to the Student Wellness Labyrinth, an interactive mindfulness activity that invites us all to slow down, breathe, be present in the moment, and practice self-sustainability!

Every year, we partner with ISU Catering to create a special menu for the event’s appetizers that features local producers and ingredients– even in the heart of Iowa winter! We have some very delicious classics, as well as a few new and innovative treats to share. Next to the catering tables will be recycling and compost receptacles, because this is a zero waste event!



We’ve designed this event to encompass all three facets of sustainability– environmental, economic, and social– and to both educate and empower YOU, the participants, to adopt more sustainable lifestyles.

Our teams at The Green Umbrella and Live Green! Initiative are looking forward to welcoming you to the Symposium on Sustainability and Sustainapalooza 2018– RSVP to the event on Facebook ( and follow the Live Green! Facebook page to stay up to date with event news!

Let us know what aspects of Sustainapalooza you’re looking forward to via social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) with hashtags #sustainapalooza2018 and #letsbesustainable. We may feature your post on our event slideshow or our social media!

Event in Review: National Campus Sustainability Day

How did October pass us by so quickly?! It feels like we’ve breezed by Halloween festivities and straight into the cold, cruel weather of winter here in Ames!

For Heidi and I, October was a whirlwind of National Campus Sustainability Day planning! October 26th marked the 9th Annual National Campus Sustainability Day event here at Iowa State, and we were so thrilled to be a part of planning it.

For a little background information: National Campus Sustainability Day isn’t the same day for all universities. An umbrella organization for universities engaged in sustainability, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE, pronounced ay-shee) promotes “National Campus Sustainability Month” during October, with the goal of having universities host events around the topic of sustainability. Every university does things a little bit differently!

Here at Iowa State, we celebrate National Campus Sustainability Day (NCSD for short) by hosting a tabling event that is chock-full of student organizations, community organizations, and local businesses all supporting sustainability through initiatives, projects, events, products and/or practices, for ISU students, faculty, and staff to visit and talk to. Every year, we host the event on one day in October from 11am-2pm on the South Library Lawn. ALSO every year, we have hundreds of students visit the event to learn about sustainability (and to get some of that free coffee, snacks, and awesome door prizes!).

An attendee writes on the pledge wall at the event; their pledge reads “Drive less.”


An attendee writes on the pledge wall at the event; their pledge reads “Drive less.”



Students Helping Our Peers (SHOP) talks about their organization with an attendee.


This year’s theme was “Make Waves,” which was chosen to represent the ways in which our university has made substantial commitments and impressive accomplishments in sustainability over the years, and the ways in which everyone can live and work a little more sustainably. We wanted to celebrate, challenge, and empower attendees to make lifestyle changes as a result of the event.

This year, we noticed something especially exciting. Yes, cookies and coffee are always a big hit; but truly meaningful conversations around the topic of sustainability seemed to be a top priority at this year’s event. This was so exciting for us because it illustrates how aware and passionate our students, faculty, and staff are at ISU. We’re so motivated to be a part of building this awareness into empowerment and action in the coming months, and even after our internships end.

As always, we had some amazing prizes that were given away! Everyone received Hy-Vee Bakery cookies, Starbucks coffee, and local apples from the ISU Horticulture Research Station. ISU Outdoor Recreation was at the event to provide free bike tune-ups, and the ISU Longboarding Club provided free longboard tune-ups. We also gave away Live Green! Initiative coffee travel mugs, buttons, stickers, and herb planters to participants! Participants who visited at least 25 out of 38 tables were also rewarded with an entry for the door prizes, which included:

  • $5 gift cards to Morning Bell Coffee
  • $10 gift card to Random Goods
  • Stuffed pumpkin decoration with two bars of chocolate
  • ISU t-shirt from Dogtown
  • Three gift bags from Portobello Road



Are those not some awesome prizes to win?! We are out-of-this-world thankful for the amazing local businesses that donated prizes to our event, and congrats to the 10 students who won door prizes this year!

Thanks again to all of the people both on- and off-campus who helped plan and make this event possible! To see a list of all participating organizations, click here.

Our next big campus event will be in February, but you’ll see plenty of us before then!


Until next time,



Campus and Community Engagement Intern

Earth Day. Everyday.

Paige: Hey, everyone! Molly and I are back with one last recap from our year as Campus and Community Engagement interns!

Molly: It’s been such a great year of planning events, creating engagements on social media and seeing students really dive into sustainability.

Paige: We had blast this year and loved getting to work with The Green Umbrella and Live Green! Team.

Molly: Earth Day was the perfect way to end the year.

Paige: Agreed! If you missed the event, below is a recap from all of the sustainable fun!


The Green Umbrella student organization hosted its 2017 Earth Day Celebration on Friday April 21st. It was a beautiful Friday afternoon on the South Library Lawn. The sun was shining and the sky was blue! The event was attended by over 1200 people!!

This year’s theme was “Earth Day Every Day” and encouraged students to make mindful decisions in their everyday lives. Thirty-seven campus and community organizations came to showcase their sustainable causes. We had several of old friends who are present at our events year after year and we also had a few organizations who were new to our events!!

A few of the new organizations included: Our Hour, Society for Landscape Architects and Network against Human Trafficking. Our Hour was started by two entrepreneurial students who are passionate about business and service. They started a t-shirt company with a twist: for every t-shirt they sell, they volunteer for one hour!! Society of Landscape Architects was hanging out, literally, with a hammock they made themselves and Network against Human Trafficking was educating attendees on resources available to increase awareness about signs of human trafficking and who to contact.

These three organizations are just a few of the MANY fantastic causes that were represented at the event! Students and attendees alike were encouraged to walk around the event and start conversations with organizations or causes that sparked their interest. As we’ve done in the past, the event attendees received “challenge cards” when entering the event and were encouraged to take the event challenge. For each organization they engaged with at the event, they received a check mark on the challenge card. The more organizations they talked to, the more sustainably-minded and messaged prizes they were able to earn! Prizes included: Live Green! Stickers and buttons, Earth Week buttons, reusable and recyclable cutlery sets, reusable and biodegradable herb planters (that included herb seeds to grow), Trees of ISU books and CDs and reusable and recyclable Live Green mugs that could be filled with fruit-infused water provided by ISU Dining!

Before attendees collected their prizes, they also had to make a Live Green! Pledge and commit to some form of sustainability, to complete the Challenge. Pledges included: buying more fair trade products, biking to class, committing more volunteer hours and many more great and creative sustainability practices!

The event would not be possible without the support of our donors. They were instrumental in providing both refreshments and door prizes for the event. Thanks to Insomnia Cookies, Fuji Japanese Steakhouse, Hickory Park and Perkins!

The event was a great opportunity to connect the campus community to sustainable organizations and opportunities throughout Ames and collectively celebrate sustainability together as a community. The event was both the start and a continuation of a sustainable ripple effect in Ames and beyond!


To see our event in action, visit our Facebook Photo Album.

If you would like to participate in future events, either by volunteering or tabling on behalf of an organization, please contact us – Molly at ,, or Paige at,, for more information!

Make sure and stay updated on all things green and sustainable at ISU by:

Sustainapalooza 2017 Recap

Sustainapalooza part 1 497


Hello, I am Molly Breen, one of the Campus and Community Engagement Interns. Some of my past blogs include the Countdown to Kindness and Celebrating Friendsgiving. I am back now with a blog about Sustainapaloooza 2017. I had so much fun helping to put the event together and even more fun during the event! Read on for a recap of Sustainapalooza 2017!

Sustainapalooza was held on February 28th from 5-8pm in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. This annual event takes place to promote sustainability at Iowa State. Lots of tables, posters, volunteers, food, and crafts are brought in, and anyone is welcome to come.

Immediately, before even entering the Great Hall you see the welcoming members of The Green Umbrella student organization at an informational table. The Green Umbrella is a student organization that helps to plan and put together Sustainapalooza. Once the students give you a brief introduction to the club and the event, you are enthusiastically welcomed into the Great Hall. As you enter Sustainapalooza, there are a few tables that are singled out. As you look to the right, you see one of the two photo booths at the event and a table for the Live Green! Marketing and Communications Interns, Caitlyn and Rebekah. The eager individuals are passing out newsletters and starting green conversations with attendees. On the other side, you see members of The SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers), a student organization that operates a campus food pantry. The SHOP is collecting non-perishable items , and informing attendees about all The SHOP does.

Straight ahead, you see the massive green wall with student pledges written all over it. Sustainapalooza is all about impacting the participants and the green wall is a crucial component. The Green Wall is a pledge wall where students can make commitments to living greener while walking on their very own “green carpet” made of recycled materials. Participants are encouraged to share their perspectives, vision and commitment through writing all over the wall  to questions related to water, waste, energy, money, and community service (stay tuned for those responses in an upcoming blog coming out soon).

Spread around the Great Hall you see four main GIY  (green-it-yourself) stations Each station represents a different sustainability hands-on opportunity and is sponsored and assisted by a variety of clubs, organizations and businesses.  The purpose of each station is increasing awareness, engaging a new activity and empowering sustainable opportunities and green living after Sustainapalooza. Which means, at each station, there is something creative and sustainable to take away. One station, sponsored by Wheatsfield Cooperative and assisted by Greeks Go Green is creating an all natural sink cleaner made with essential oils that Wheatsfield Cooperative and Greeks Go Green (student organization) assisted with. ISU Dining, with assistance from student dietetics interns, has formed an assembly line to create a mason jar filled with an instant potato soup mix that has an extended shelf life, because nothing is perishable, offering a meal for years, and reducing food waste. On the other side of the hall, DIY Craft Club, through assistance from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources,  is leading a station creating tote bags out of recycled vinyl banners. (If you want to make your own, here are the instructions.) The Workspace at Iowa State has three GIY projects at their station: making magnets made out of computer keys, folders made out of laminated posters, and business card holders out of recycled calendars. Creativity is especially apparent at this station.

Beyond the GIY creations, sustainably-minded giveaways are available for all attendees and feature a reusable, made from recycled-content cutlery set and a three-piece herb garden set including reusable and compostable planters and potting mix and seeds for parsley, cilantro and basil. The second photo booth of the event is the Cy-lebrity wall where attendees were invited to grab their friends and strike a sustainable pose with some fun props.


Next up at the event, attendees browsed through clothes available for swapping at the Sustainapalooza Clothing Swap: Exchange for a Change. The clothing swap was widely popular with over 50 participants swapping out items. The fashion industry, where trends seem to change every week, creates such a problem with waste. The swap gives students a chance to put their old clothes to use and reduce short term waste. Students could swap one clothing item for another. Also food or cash donations were accepted for one clothing item and went to The S.H.O.P.. All leftover clothes were either donated to local secondhand shops or given to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to properly recycle.

Towards the back of the room, there were 40 different student organizations and businesses displaying what they are doing to be sustainable. Organizations like The SHOP, Volunteer Center of Story County, ActivUs, and more captivated students with their individual messages.

In the center of all the hustle and bustle, there was a buffet line of locally made and freshly produced snacks provided by ISU Dining. Attendees enjoyed their sustainable snack and beverage while mingling with the groups. Many attendees took their snacks over to the Inclusive Communities portion of our event where they were invited to sit on “Sit Next to me, Sue,” an art piece made by a team of Iowa State landscape architecture students to give people the freedom to choose their own seating arrangement. Once they sat in the movable seats, attendees were invited to join in conversation about how they can make Iowa State a more inclusive community and even offered buttons to take home as a reminder of inclusivity.

Overall, there was such a positive energy during Sustainapalooza. All ages gathered together to share their experiences and learn more about sustainability. Whether noticing the special green features throughout the event, such as composting, or listening to the green-minded playlist throughout the Great Hall, participants really got to embrace sustainability in our community with engaging activities, interesting discussions, and creative thinking.

Sustainapalooza by the Numbers:

  • 1000+ participants enjoyed Sustainapalooza
  • 300+ clothing items were donated to the Sustainapalooza clothing swap
  • 60 volunteers worked behind the scenes to prepare the event
  • 40 on and off-campus organizations and initiatives highlighted their sustainability efforts and accomplishments through posters and tabling
  • 10 Green Umbrella members worked for months to organize Sustainapalooza
  • 1 amazing event!