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).

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Greening Your Cup of Joe

Molly- “Paige, guess what today is?”

Paige- “What?”

Molly- “International Coffee Day!”

Paige- “That’s one of my new favorite holidays! Let’s go celebrate!”

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Ames is a coffeeshop goldmine. It’s full of unique coffee shops that add a diverse flavor to your study session or hangout. In honor of  International Coffee Day on September 29th, we took a Coffee Tour in Ames. We toured {almost} every coffee shop from Main Street to Campustown and everywhere in between.

How Can you Green Your Joe?

A great way to celebrate International Coffee Day is to support farmers and communities around the world by purchasing sustainable and fair trade coffee. There are dozens of places to purchase ready-to-drink sustainable coffee or beans to make on your own coffee at home. This is a great way to “green your cup of joe” and celebrate a delicious holiday. Additionally, supporting local coffee shops is another way to green your cup of joe.

What is Sustainable Coffee?

Sustainable coffee has three main goals: improve livelihoods of workers, conserve nature and sustain supply.

Improving livelihoods focuses on assuring that workers are being treated and compensated fairly. It’s ensuring that child workers aren’t being exploited, wages are fair, hours are reasonable and conditions are safe.

Conserving Nature is aimed at adopting climate smart agricultural practices. This includes improved market access, infrastructure and the elimination
of harmful pesticides or fertilizers. **help me here… how is market access and climate smart connected?

Sustaining Supply is all about conserving what resources we still have. The production of sustainable coffee works to reduce water consumption, forest depletion, and soil consumption while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What is Fair Trade?

Being fair trade certified requires an extensive set of guidelines are followed and specific
parameters are satisfied. Fair Trade standards aim to bring a mission of empowerment, economic development, social development and environmental stewardship to farmers, fishers and workers around the world. This means your cup of Fair Trade coffee is truly making a positive impact on farmers around the world.

There are many places in Ames you can purchase sustainable and Fair Trade coffee which include Burgie’s, Hy-Vee, Wheatsfield and Worldly Goods, just to name a few. Ask your favorite local cafe or retailer about the fair trade and sustainable coffees they carry.

Why is it important to shop at local coffee shops?

By purchasing beverages from local shops, you support our local economy. When you shop local, the money you spend stays in the Ames community! That means that we become a more self-sufficient community with more resources added into and circulating throughout our economy.  On top of that, you’re supporting someone’s livelihood! Small business owners are our neighbors. They have families, ambitions and goals. Supporting their businesses means you are supporting all of that and more.

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How to Green your Joe on Campus?

If you’re on campus and need a boost, stop by one of the ten Iowa State Cafes where you can support sustainable coffee by The Roasterie. Iowa State Dining supports fair trade and many of the cafes offer various sustainable coffee and espresso options. Check out Iowa State Daily’s article, to learn more about fair trade offerings on campus. Remember to bring your reusable cup to instantly save 35 cents on any beverage!

Iowa State students are noticing how important sustainable coffee is too. Emily Seibel and many others are helping to combat the issue of unfair coffee practices by joining a group called El Zapote Coffee, which is connected through various churches in Ames. Seibel says, “Supporting these farmers is so important and if I can do this by purchasing delicious coffee, then why wouldn’t I?” You can learn more about El Zapote and their connection with Honduran farmers on their Facebook Page.


There are ten campus cafes where you can support fair trade coffee and espresso AND receive 35 cents off for bringing your reusable mug. Check out all the campus cafes here. (Bookends Cafe in Parks Library pictured)

We are so lucky to have so many delicious and sustainable coffee shops in the town of Ames and even right on our campus. Whether you are supporting the community by checking out a local cafe or stopping at Bookends Cafe before class to try ISU’s fair trade coffee, find a way to celebrate International Coffee Day. International Coffee Day is celebrated around the world in over twenty countries, but we say, why just limit the celebrating to one day? Keep learning about coffee and how you can support an important (and delicious) cause everyday.


Have a “brew-tiful” day celebrating International Coffee Day,  and please enjoy our video about sustainable and local coffee! ☕️

2016 College Creek Clean-up Recap

Hello! Sindhuja back again with another blog about another great, green summer event that supported and connected to Iowa State University’s Live Green! Initiative as well as the City of Ames’ commitment to sustainability. 

One of the projects I got to take part in this summer was the 8th Annual College Creek Clean-up. Like all other projects we take on in The Office of Sustainability, this event was developed as an educational, engagement and empowerment experience for  ISU students, faculty, and staff and the Ames community!

The 8th Annual College Creek Clean-Up was held on Saturday, June 25. For those of you who may not be aware, College Creek is an attractive (but somewhat tucked away and elusive) stream that flows through the heart of Iowa State University’s campus and serves as a vital component of our campus ecosystem. You can also catch it flowing past the Lied Recreational Center, behind the nooks at the Memorial Union, and finally diving under Lincoln Way.

Notably, College Creek acts as a home for a variety of turtle species, tadpoles, fish, insects, birds and even a few mammals. All of them are counting on a clean creek to ensure that their ecosystem is thriving. Like many other waterways, though, College Creek acts as a catch-all point for hundreds of plastic bags, empty bottles and many other items that not only pollute the water, but also the surrounding habitat.

To combat this challenge, an intern in the Office of Sustainability had an idea for the first College Creek Clean-Up. It was so popular that volunteers asked about an event for the following year, and the Clean-Up has been happening annually ever since! 

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Over 50volunteers came ready to participate in this year’s event. Armed with trash pickers, gloves, insect repellant, sunscreen, and loads of trash bags, the dedicated volunteers spent hours cleaning up the creek.

Participants in ISU’s George Washington Scholars program were a particularly joyful group of this year’s volunteers! The George Washington Scholars program offers one hundred full-tuition scholarships to incoming multicultural first year students. It’s a great initiative that helps empower a great group of individuals carrying on the Cyclone legacy.

In total the volunteers from both the community and ISU averaged 125 work hours and collected over 300 pounds of garbage. They trekked through the water, cleaning 1.5 miles of the waterway.


Some interesting objects were found in the watery depths, including:

  • Bottles
  • Cans
  • Takeaway food containers
  • Lots of plastic bags.
  • A cell phone
  • A part of a bleacher seat
  • A car tire
  • A folding chair
  • Part of a railroad tie


The Live Green! team thanked for volunteers for their efforts with delicious refreshments from Fighting Burrito (which is a Platinum certified member of the City of Ames Smart Business Challenge), Cookies Etc. and Hy-Vee.

Additionally a number of local businesses provided door prizes, samples, and goodies to allow every volunteer to take home a little extra thank you. These businesses included Arcadia Café, Chocolaterie Stam, Dogtown University, Jax Outdoor Gear, and Worldly Goods.

In addition to thanking our wonderful local business partners, we would like to offer a special thanks to our campus partners who ensured that our volunteers had all the information, support and supplies they needed and that all logistics ran smoothly, including: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Planning and Management, and Student Activities Center and University Relations.

For more of an inside look at this year’s event and to be the first to know about our 9th Annual College Creek Cleanup in 2017, connect to our Facebook Page here!

Reuse, Re-purpose, Recycle Market Comes to Ames!

Hello –   My name is Sindhuja Ram and I am a proud member of the Live Green! Leadership Team at Iowa State University, and I’ve served as a Special Initiatives Intern over the summer and the fall 2016 semester. Even though this event happened during the summer, I’d encourage you to consider reused, re-purposed and recycled items as an option year round – especially now that the holiday season is upon us!

Do you ever find yourself searching for a unique buy, a vintage collection, a special assortment of goods, or a new-to-you-treasure?  Are you interested in learning about unique ways to use what you have instead of buying something new?  

Well look no further than the Reuse, Re-Purpose, Recycle Market! This brand new community event was envisioned by Worldly Goods, a local non-profit, fair trade store (and gold certified member of the City of Ames Smart Business Challenge), and it took place on Sunday August 28th  on Main Street in downtown Ames.

Thirty different vendors rented space on Main Street to display their up-cycled, recycled, and reused wares and wears. In this street market type atmosphere – speckled with tents housing sustainably-minded  treasures – the public was invited to purchase items supporting businesses and organizations that in turn support reuse, repurpose and recycling through their products and services. The event drew a diverse crowd throughout the six-hour event including residents from the City of Ames, many surrounding communities, and college students just returning to  Iowa State University for the Fall 2016 semester.

Eighteen official community volunteers and volunteers from AmeriCorps NCCC helped the event come together, and the Market was truly a success for its first year!

Sustainability highlights of the event included:

  • Reused, re-purposed, recycled items finding new homes
  • Trash sorting stations throughout the event that allowed attendees to repurpose the waste they generated at the event through recycling and composting
  • The overall boost in awareness of repurposing options and opportunities available in our community

As a local non-profit, fair trade store, Worldly Goods follows a mission focused on inspiring and supporting  social justice, sustainable livelihoods, and environmental resiliency by providing a marketplace for artisans of the world to earn a living wage, support their families, and develop their communities. This mission is further reflected in their daily work practice to reuse, repurpose, and recycle whatever and whenever possible.

Visit Worldly Goods for more information about their initiatives and commitment to engaging and empowering our community and communities around the world in discovering and committing to small steps that collectively ripple toward ensuring a greener and more sustainable future!


Stay connected to Live Green! and the many stellar sustainability events happening in our community by following our Facebook page here. And be sure to check out our Pinterest for some creative ideas to your Reused, Repurposed, and Recycled items!

5 Tips to “Green” Your Halloween

Hello, everyone! My name is Laurelin, and I’m a Live Green! intern in the Office of Sustainability! You might remember me from my previous blog posts about farmers’ markets, composting, and more! Today I’m back with some tips on how to “green” your Halloween!

Fall is in full swing, and Halloween is right around the corner! It’s the season of corn mazes, pumpkin carving, and trick-or-treating, and this year the Live Green! office celebrated with our own spooky(ish) pumpkin creations!

Halloween is a wonderful time to engage with your community and even give back! But between the plastic candy wrappers and disposable pumpkin-themed decorations, Halloween can create a lot of unnecessary waste. From costumes to pumpkins, candy, and more, there are many different ways to “green” your Halloween!

1. Upcycle Old Materials to Create Spooky Decorations

Halloween is the second biggest holiday for decorations, and many Halloween-themed decor is made from non-recyclable plastics1. Rather than buying materials for decorations, make use of the odds and ends you’ve gathered throughout the year! Old stockings can become spider webs, and cardboard boxes can be used as tombs. You can also use autumn produce, like pumpkins and gourds, to achieve a fall-themed look! Check out 13 eco-creepy crafts and decor at!

2. Make Your Own Costume

Show off your best Project Runway-inspired creation this Halloween and create a completely unique costume! Use recycled materials to transform into a bat, mason jar, or paper doll. Browse thrift shops, flea markets, or invite friends over for a Costume Swap! You can also look for inspiration from your closet – an old prom dress, Hawaiian shirt, or cowboy hat are the beginnings of great costumes! BONUS: Use masks and face paint instead of a rubber mask, and make your own fake blood!

3. Throw an Eco-Friendly Party

Throwing a greener Halloween party is simple! If you cannot use reusable dinnerware, avoid non-recyclable cups, plates, and cutlery and look for compostable or recyclable alternatives instead. Use markers or labels to identify cups to ensure a multiple use option. Purchase locally produced foods, candies, and treats. Look for products with minimal packaging. And finally make sure to compost leftover foods and recycle whatever you can.

4. Use All Parts of the Pumpkin

What Halloween celebration is complete without pumpkin carving? Make sure to purchase a locally grown pumpkin, and compost your jack-o-lantern when the holiday is over. Save your seeds from carving and roast them with a little oil and salt for a fall-themed treat! Or try out some of these tasty recipes, like pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin enchiladas, or healthy pumpkin pie french toast, that call for fresh pumpkin!

5. Try Earth-Friendly Candy

Green your trick-or-treating this year, and give away earth-friendly treats! This Halloween, try candy that is made from natural ingredients, without artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives! Also consider fair trade candy that’s been sustainably sourced!

Have a wonderfully spooky time this Halloween season, and remember to “green” your Halloween!

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Author: Laurelin Haas, Live Green! Special Initatives Intern

5 Reasons to Check Out the Ames Farmers’ Markets

Hi, everyone! My name is Laurelin, and I’m an intern in the Office of Sustainability! I’m back with a brand new blog post about local foods in Ames – check out my top five reasons to visit the Farmers’ Markets!

Over the past year, I’ve been battling against the greatest challenge of my college career: learning how to cook. I moved into an apartment as a senior, and ever since I’ve struggled to prepare my meals. Today – approximately 1,000 meals later – I’m can pretty much fend for myself in the kitchen. But my biggest problem is that I never really feel inspired to cook.

So this fall I resolved to go to the farmers’ markets and add some variety into my weekly meals! Here in Ames, we have not one but two farmers’ markets to choose from! Both markets have a six-month season, running from early May through late October. The Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday from 8am to 12:30pm in downtown Ames, and the North Grand Farmers’ Market is held each Wednesday from 3-6pm and Saturday from 8am-12:30pm in the parking lot north of JCPenneys at North Grand Mall.

From a sustainability standpoint, farmers’ markets support the environment, the economy, and the community! Farmers’ markets protect the environment by minimizing the distance food travels from farm to fork, support the economy by creating a marketplace for local goods, and promote stronger community ties through vendor-visitor interactions!

When I arrived at the farmers’ markets, I was amazed by the selection of fresh, local produce (which is definitely one of perks of going to school in Iowa)! I was also surprised that the farmers’ markets had a lot more to offer than food! There was a wide variety of handmade goods, like upcycled aprons, jewelry, and soap, and there was also free entertainment! Local bands were playing covers of well known hits, and face painting was offered for children!

After strolling up and down the market several times, I left with a bag full of fresh produce and new ideas for my next meal swirling around in my head! I’m definitely going to start attending the farmers markets’ more frequently, and here are my top five reasons why you should check out your local farmers’ market, too!


1. Connect with the community

Farmers’ markets are a great way to connect with your community! Becoming more engaged can be as simple as asking the vendors about their favorite items, striking up a conversation with a fellow food truck enthusiast, or stopping to say hello to the performing musicians! During my time at the farmers’ market, I had a long conversation with a vendor about the different ways to produce organic honey. I learned a lot, got a free sample, and connected with someone I might never have met otherwise!

2. Learn where your food comes from

Farmers’ markets make it easy to learn where your food comes from! When I’m shopping for groceries at large supermarket chains, I find it difficult to figure out where the food I’m purchasing comes from.  But when I’m at the farmers’ market, I can get answers to my questions by asking the vendors directly about their products and production!


3. Get inspired to use new ingredients

Strolling around the farmers’ market can give you new inspiration for your meals! When I came across an ingredient I was unfamiliar with at the farmers’ market, I asked the vendor for more information about it. Not only did the vendor identify the mystery vegetable (kohlrabi), she also told me how it could be prepared and what other foods could be paired with it! Now that I’m empowered to learn about new foods, I can share my knowledge (and experimental dishes) with others!


4. Grab meals on the go

Farmers’ markets are a prime gathering place for food trucks! In addition to getting ingredients for future meals, I also love to pick up food on the go at the farmers’ market. I’ve made it my goal to try as many different food trucks as possible before I graduate, which helps support Ames businesses and lets me live out my dreams as a (local) foodie!

5. Enjoy the outdoors

With a full schedule of classes, clubs and organizations, and two part time jobs, I spend a lot of my time in a classroom, an office, or at my desk. The farmers’ markets give me a reason to spend an hour or two outside every weekend, and when the weather is nice, the combination of fresh air, sunshine, and the hustle and bustle of the market really do lift my spirits and help me unwind from the long week!

Although the farmers’ market season is coming to an end, you can embrace your inner local foodie all year round! Check out local businesses around the community, and keep searching out new experiences! I’m sure that your stomach will thank you for it!

Written by Laurelin Haas, Live Green! Special Initiatives Intern
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RAMPing Up Sustainability: “Greening” the July Move Out Season

Hello, everyone! My name is Laurelin, and I’m a Special Initiatives intern in the Office of Sustainability! I’m back today with a wrap-up post on the Rummage RAMPage, a city-wide rummage sale that helped divert household items from the landfill while raising money for local nonprofits! Check out the rest of the post to learn more about the event!

The end of July can be a stressful time for renters – especially in a college town. Students who have stuck around for the summer have a few weeks to move to different living spaces for the upcoming school year. Ames streets are filled with moving trucks stacked high with boxes, and unwanted furniture is left behind on the curb.

During these weeks, the Ames Resource Recovery Plant (RRP) often sees an influx of couches, wooden furniture, clothing, and more as renters attempt to meet their move out requirements. The Ames RRP is a waste-to-energy facility that receives garbage from Ames and surrounding communities, and the burnable portion of the refuse is used as renewable and local fuel to generate electricity. Unfortunately many move out items, such as large furniture, are classified as non-burnable material that is not beneficial to the Resource Recovery System and is sent to the landfill.

I experienced the hustle and bustle of July move-out season for myself this past year. Because I was working in Ames I lived in university housing over the summer, and at the end of July I was preparing to move out of my old apartment into a new space for the fall semester.

Looking around my apartment, I faced a dilemma: What should I do with my old household items that I wanted to throw away but were too large for my trashcan? I wanted to move out sustainably, but didn’t know how to put my old electronics and furniture to good use in the community.


The showroom of the Rummage RAMPage was located in the Ames Intermodal Facility

Luckily, the City of Ames had a solution – the 2016 Rummage RAMPage was held in the Ames Intermodal Facility parking ramp from July 29th to August 2nd, and the five-day event gave everyone in the Ames community a chance to reduce the amount of material sent to the landfill by partnering reusable household goods with new owners!

The Intermodal Facility was transformed into a showroom with separate sections for couches and chairs, dining sets, exercise equipment, cabinets and storage, and small household items. Once items were purchased, they were set aside in a separate area.

Throughout the event, volunteers kept the event running smoothly by manning a cash register, pricing items, and loading items in and out of the showroom.

As a community member, the donation process was simple. Donors could either drop off their items in person at the Intermodal Facility or pay a small fee to have volunteers pick up their items from their curb. And visitors purchasing items were able to conveniently park next to the showroom and load their new items into their vehicle.

The items that were accepted at the Rummage RAMPage included furniture, small electronics, flat screen televisions, housewares, kitchenware, and non-perishable food. All items were “priced to move,” at $1, $5, $10, and $20, and the proceeds were divided up among the non-profit volunteer groups that donated their time to the event.

By the end of the week, the Rummage RAMPage had managed to:

  • Divert 22 tons of furniture and housewares out of the landfill
  • Raise almost $6,000 for local non-profit agencies

I spent some time working at the Rummage RAMPage on the very first day it was held, and I was absolutely taken aback by the community’s outpouring of support for the event. As I moved couches, tables, exercise equipment, entertainment systems, and even the occasional child’s viola into the showroom, I couldn’t believe how many people were willing to donate their items to a good cause!

The level of excitement continued to grow throughout the week as the sales began. Items brought in were quickly turned over to new owners – and some items didn’t even make it to the showroom floor before they found a new home!

It was a lot of fun to walk through the showroom each day and check out the new arrivals. There were so many hidden treasures that caught my eye, including a bright pink exercise bike and a homemade ice cream maker. And towards the end of the event I purchased a used door mat for my apartment that’s sensible and matches my decor!

The Green Umbrella President, Megan, as well as Live Green! interns Kathryn and Sindhuja also volunteered during the event! Check out their stories and most memorable moments below:

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Megan Kathryn Sindhuja
The Rummage RAMPage was a truly unique experience. Part of what made the event so incredibly unique is that each day I got to watch items that would have sat in someone’s garage or gone to the landfill become re-purposed into something much more useful. A group of us got creative and would talk to visitors about how they could fix up different items in order to make them more functional or beautiful. People thought we were a little ridiculous, but it was fun and several folks liked our creativity enough to try it for themselves! It was amazing to see how many community members donated their items instead of selling them for few extra dollars or simply throwing them away. It was a wonderful to watch the selflessness of the donors and see the joy on visitors’ faces as they were able to afford and purchase lightly used furniture and other household items. I worked one of the last days of the Rummage RAMPage, and I was completely surprised that items were being donated and sold almost until the last minute of the event. Each person who attended the event expressed how much they enjoyed it and encouraged us to host the event again! One of the most powerful parts of volunteering at Rummage RAMPage was seeing all the happy faces of the visitors after finding and purchasing a hidden treasure. The event felt a little chaotic at times, especially during the peak hours of the RAMPage over the weekend. But the wonderful efforts of volunteers helped to keep the event running smoothly. Members from various service groups did everything from pricing donations to loading up buyers’ cars. The event was truly a great showcase of the community coming together!

Event planners are already working on Rummage RAMPage 2017 beginning at the end of July and extending into early August, so if you missed the event this year there will be many opportunities in the future to participate!

Hold onto your old couches, bed frames, tables, electronics, lamps, microwaves and more and donate them to next year’s Rummage RAMPage event! And who knows? You might even find new-to-you treasures to take back home!

Written by Laurelin Haas, Live Green! Special Initiatives Intern

Check out more pictures of the event at our Live Green! Facebook album.

Learn more about the event at!


Gardening 101: A Newbie’s Guide to the Food At First Garden

Hello, everyone! My name is Laurelin, and I’m a Live Green! intern currently working for the office over the summer! You might remember me from previous blog posts, and I’m happy to say that I’ll be here throughout the fall semester as well! Today I’m back with a new post on gardening – let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Every Wednesday after a long day spent in front of a computer screen, I don my gardening gloves and knee pads and reconnect with nature. I’ve spent hours fighting with weeds, planting seeds, and chasing rabbits through a maze of raspberries – and I can honestly say that my experience as a volunteer at the Food At First Garden has been one of the highlights of my summer!

At the beginning of the season I started interning full time, and I found that I had significantly more time on my hands without the pressures of schoolwork. I knew that I wanted to volunteer in some way and I’ve also always wanted to try my hand at gardening, so I signed up to help at the Food At First Garden.


On that very first Wednesday, I was the first one to arrive. I paced around nervously to kill time, and I was filled with doubts about the experience. I’d never really gardened before, and I could barely tell crops from weeds. I imagined pulling up all of the wrong plants and killing everything in the garden – I was worried that I’d be the worst gardener in the history of mankind.

Soon enough, some of the wonderful volunteers from the Sustainable Agriculture Student Association (SASA) arrived, and they put me straight to work! I quickly learned that my lack of gardening experience didn’t really matter – every task was explained to me very clearly, and I was able to ask all sorts of questions if I still didn’t understand something.

Really, the only qualification necessary was willingness to work hard at work worth doing.

Everyone at the garden was friendly and welcoming, and I learned a lot about plants and gardening in the two hours that I spent there on my first day. I left feeling excited to return, and I’ve been going back each week ever since!

Gardening to me is a way enjoy the outdoors, learn new skills, and take a break from the rest of the world. Some days (depending on the task), it’s also a great way to get in a workout! And because the Food At First Garden donates most of its produce to the local community, it’s a wonderful way for me to give back in my spare time.

Food At First is an organization that offers a free meal program and a food pantry program. Fresh produce from the garden is incorporated into the Food At First meals and is also available for distribution at Trinity Church on Saturday mornings!


Live Green! intern, Adam, made Mexican Lasagna at Trinity Church for Food at First using some ingredients from the garden! 

So for all you hesitant gardeners out there, I encourage you to give gardening a try! Here are some things I wish I’d known on my first day at the garden:

  • No gardening experience is necessary
  • Come dressed to sweat in clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty
  • Put on sunscreen and bug spray before arriving
  • Bring a water bottle
  • Gloves and knee pads will be provided
  • Be prepared to eat as many overripe raspberries as you want

The Food At First Garden is located behind the Trinity Christian Reformed Church at 3626 Ontario St. Garden work days are Wednesdays from 5-7pm and Saturdays from 9-11am! Sign up online or just show up ready to work! And for more information, email This year the garden will be open until about mid-October and will pick back up in the spring!

Gardening has been one of the best and most memorable experiences of my summer, and if you have some extra time on your hands it could also be the highlight of yours, too!

Written By: Laurelin Haas, Live Green! intern
Featured Image:

I Pledge to be Sustainable

Madi: Hello everyone!  Laurelin and I are back with one final blog post for you all!

Laurelin: The year has sadly come to an end and while I won’t miss the stress of finals and classes, I’m definitely going to miss working as a Live Green! intern.

Madi: To wrap things up and bring the blog full circle, Laurelin and I wanted our final post to be a reflection on what we learned about sustainability.

Laurelin: We also wanted to highlight the many ways ISU students have pledged to live sustainably throughout the school year.

Madi: So we hope you enjoy this quick post, and thank you so much for your interest in ISU Live Green! and sustainability!

Sustainability Pledges

At each of our events this year, we asked all of our attendees to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability through some sort of prompt and pledge wall. This activity empowers students, staff, and faculty members to think critically about sustainability and how they can make an impact on the environment through changes (large or small) in their lifestyle!

At National Campus Sustainability Day in the fall and Earth Day in the spring, attendees wrote their pledges on our trifold chalkboard.

At Sustainapalooza, attendees wrote their pledge on a large pledge wall!  This past year, we challenged attendees to think critically about the different facets of sustainability. We created large graphics and prompts for five topics related to sustainable lifestyles: water conservation, energy conservation, economic sustainability, social sustainability, and waste reduction.


The pledges from Sustainapalooza were very unique and diverse. To showcase the wide range of pledges, we’ve created infographics containing all of the different ways Sustainapalooza participants will live more sustainably.

How will you conserve water?

Water Conservation Wordle

How will you conserve energy?


How will you practice economic sustainability?

Economic Sustainablity Wordle

How will you give back to your community?

Community:Hand Wordle

How will you reduce your waste?


Madi: Reflecting back on this past year, it astounds me how much I’ve grown through this internship. My knowledge, appreciation, and passion for sustainability have all increased.

Working for the Office of Sustainability taught me a lot about myself and that I can always strive to be more sustainable.  I am also now convinced that I need to invest in a Bokashi composter.

Working as a Live Green! Campus and Community Engagement intern not only taught me how to be more sustainable, it also taught me how to inspire my friends, family and colleagues to live more sustainably and how important it is to promote more sustainable lifestyles everyday.

“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”

– Howard Zinn

Thank you for reading our posts. I’ve loved and enjoyed writing them for you all to read!

Laurelin: From tiny houses to Valentine’s Day chocolates, I’ve had a really fun time writing and researching the Live Green! posts throughout the year! Although I have an environmental studies background, I was surprised to find that I learned new things every day as a Live Green! intern.

My hands-on experiences with the Zero Waste Week Challenge and planning all of the different sustainability events also helped connect what I’m learning in the classroom to my everyday life.

Sustainability is a huge, broad topic that can seem a little intimidating at first – with environmental, economic, and social problems around the globe, how can one person make a difference?

As a Campus and Community Engagement intern, I think my biggest takeaway is this: No one has to solve all the world’s problems alone – if everyone starts with one thing, we can collectively work towards a more sustainable future.

FINAL Start with 1

Like Madi mentioned earlier, thank you for reading all of our posts and following the blog throughout the year! It’s been a pleasure to write for Live Green! and I look forward to keeping up with the blog in the future!

Written by: Laurelin Haas and Madi VanGundy, Campus and Community Engagement Interns

Photos by: Grace Lee