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 webecoist.momtastic.com!

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!

Featured Image: pixelstalk.net
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
Featured Image: extension.iastate.edu

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 KCCI.com!


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 foodatfirstgarden@gmail.com. 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: foodatfirst.wordpress.com

Living Around Autism

Please welcome back Kathryn! Kathryn is a Live Green! intern, and she’s written multiple posts on her experiences at Iowa State. Today she’s here to share more information about autism awareness, which is related to social sustainability.

In our house, every month is Autism Awareness Month, not just April. I have been involved in many Autism awareness organizations both on Iowa States campus as well as in various communities. My family has been forever impacted by Autism and I hope others can grow to appreciate and understand autistic children better.

Living with someone who has Autism has been one of the hardest, most challenging but most rewarding experiences of my life. Autism has shaped my life in ways I didn’t even know were possible. It has taught me patience, kindness, unbelievable compassion, and most importantly, acceptance of others.

My younger brother, and best friend, was a fantastic little kid, always smiling and laughing. He was never a fussy child and always loved snuggling with my mother and me. It was at age four that my parents started noticing changes and quirks about my brother. He didn’t speak much, had trouble walking, covered his ears at loud noises, but could read chapter books, loved movies and music, and was fascinated with every kitchen utensil in the house. This was the introduction of the word “autism” to our family’s vocabulary.

Growing up together, my brother and I never played catch, or tag, or basketball. But we had marvelous imaginary games with knights, pirates, and conquistadors. We discussed the vastness of the universe and the age of the dinosaurs. We shared almost every childhood memory together and grew to be best friends.

“My brother is special,” I used to say to the other children on the playground. “He has something no one else in the world has.” In my house we never once treated Autism like a disability or crutch, but rather celebrated the different strengths it gave each member of my family.

Trying to understand what it is like for someone to have Autism is almost impossible to describe, and it is different for almost every child. Each child with Autism has different tendancies and idiosyncrasies.

I remember the first time my parents took my brother and me to Disneyland. Our excitement practically burst the doors off the backseat. We, like most children, had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but we hardly slept the night before imagining meeting all of our Disney idols face to face.


Image from miceshots.com

When we finally arrived at Disneyland, I immediately jumped out of the car and ran towards the front door – not realizing my brother was still clinging to my mother’s side. He hesitantly made his way towards the gate, hands covering his ears. Once inside, my brother did not stop crying the entire 3-hour visit. He had no interest in the roller coasters, the masked characters, or the thousands of other people and their kids. Only now do I realize why.

Autistic children are very sensitive to their surroundings. Large groups of people overwhelm them, causing panic and anxiety attacks. In my brother’s case, his senses are heightened, making every sound twice as loud and twice as scary. He is quite content to sit outside on a nice day and read a book, and there is nothing wrong with that.

My brother has taught me many lessons about life. He has taught me to cherish the small things and not worry about what other people think. He has taught me what unconditional love looks like, and that it is okay to be different than everyone else. He has taught me to celebrate our differences and embrace those who are different than us.


Image from thebullelephant.com

Autism is in no way a disability, disease, or curse. It is a unique lens for which many people view life. It is a different way to think about the world and reminds us everyday to be grateful for what we have. I love someone who has autism, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Written by: Kathryn Leidhal
Edited by: Laurelin Haas
Featured Image: littlesproutspeech.com

It’s On Us, Iowa State

Please welcome guest blogger Kathryn! Kathryn has been a Live Green! intern since the summer of 2015, and she wrote a wonderful piece on the College Creek Cleanup. She’s currently working with the STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, & Rating System), which is a framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. Today she’s back to write about the It’s On Us campaign, which promotes sexual assault awareness and social sustainability.

With April being Sexual Assault Awareness month, its not only important to raise awareness about sexual assault but also understand the meaning, the signs, and how to help prevention efforts.

The Its On Us Campaign is a national campaign designed to raise awareness about the issue of sexual assaults on college campuses and equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to step up and take preventative action. Iowa State joined the campaign in 2014 and it continues to build a strong, cohesive, and informative program at Iowa State.


Image from facebook.com/isu.stugov

I am currently the director of the Its On Us campaign here at Iowa State. I first got involved with sexual assault prevention through a Greek organization on campus as well as attending several state conferences that addressed the subject. I instantly became passionate about supporting survivors and doing everything in my power to help prevent future situations from happening on my campus.

Did You Know:

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
  • Most victims and survivors are assaulted by someone they know.
  • 42% of collegiate women who are sexually assaulted do not tell anyone about the incident.

Sexual assault is a serious issue on college campuses, and the It’s On Us Campaign is one small step to help change those statistics.

Iowa State is among 200 other universities that have pledged to join the It’s On Us campaign and end sexual assault on our campus. It is a campaign for students and by students – empowering everyone to stand up for one another and watch each other’s backs. It is a campaign for all students regardless of their race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation to unite and stand up against sexual assault.


Image from facebook.com/isu.stugov

Change can come from simply one person stepping up or interfering. It can come from a group of people proclaiming that they will not tolerate this type of behavior on their campus. That one voice or one group can start a revolution that can change the lives of thousands of people across college campuses.

We can make students across the nation feel more comfortable and safe on their campuses. We can teach people to intervene if they see a bad situation and diffuse a negative situation. We can help guide people who have been suffering to the resources they need to begin healing.

The Its On Us campaign strives to empower people to stand up for their peers and change harmful attitudes of society when it comes to sexual assault.

The It’s On Us Pledge states:

  • I pledge to recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.
  • I pledge to identify situations in which sexual assault may occur.
  • I pledge to intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.
  • I pledge to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

To take the pledge, please go to www.itsonus.org. If you, or someone you know is in need of help or resources, please go to www.sexualmisconduct.dso.iastate.edu.

If you would like to get involved with the Its On Us campaign at Iowa State, feel free to contact Kathryn Leidahl at kleidahl@iastate.edu.


Written by: Kathryn Liedhal
Edited by: Laurelin Haas
Featured Image: attheu.utah.edu

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

Celebrating Earth Month at Iowa State

Our wonderful Honors student, Lauren Young, is back writing a blog on her Earth Month experience! In celebration of the many sustainable activities that go on in the Ames community throughout the month of April, Live Green! creates a comprehensive calendar that highlights events at ISU and in Ames, and The Green Umbrella holds a week of fun activities throughout Earth Week! Now without further ado, here’s Lauren!

Hello, it’s me again! My name is Lauren Young, and I’m currently an undergraduate doing research with the Office of Sustainability. As you might know, the April 22nd was Earth Day but you might be surprised to learn that the entire month of April was Earth Month!

Over the past month, I tried to attend a multitude of events around the Ames area relating to sustainability in celebration of Earth Month. Since sustainability is made up of three main facets – environmental, economic, and social sustainability – the events varied from Greek community philanthropies to a speech by Bill Nye (I know, exciting right?!).

1. Social Sustainability Within the Greek Community

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As a member of the the Greek community I had the opportunity to attend numerous philanthropic events put on by Greek chapters this month.

The first was Alpha Chi Omega’s Quesadillas, which benefitted the Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS) and promoted sexual assault awareness. The quesadillas were terrific, there were chips and guacamole, and the meal was topped off with Insomnia Cookies! What more can a girl ask for?

My own chapter also put on a philanthropy event earlier this month, Pi Phi Taco Time. We served extra-large walking tacos, and the money raised benefits Read>Lead>Achieve, an organization that promotes literacy. We also held a book drive in which people could donate books for children in need and be entered in the a raffle for prizes.

The last Greek philanthropy I attended was Mac Attack, put on by Delta Delta Delta sorority and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. The event included delicious macaroni and cheese bowls and a complete topping bar (swoon). The proceeds went to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Each of these events cost $5 a ticket, and they were a great way to purchase delicious food while also giving back to some amazing causes (benefitting social sustainability) and supporting my fellow members of the Greek community here at Iowa State.

2. ISU’s Upcycled Fashion Wins Best in Show

I also had the opportunity to attend this year’s Iowa State Fashion Show. As a fashion lover, this was extremely exciting for me and I had a wonderful time. From the people backstage, to the designers and even the models, everything was organized by ISU students. The stage decorations were gorgeous, and I loved all of the runway garments.

At the end of the program, awards were given to the designers, including an award for Best in Show. The Best in Show award was given to a young woman who created looks inspired by and created with recycled office supplies. It was awesome to see such beautiful garments made from upcycled materials like post-it notes. And best of all, the designs were eco-friendly!

3. A Call to Action from Bill Nye

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One of my favorite events from Earth Month was attending a lecture by Bill Nye. It was a bit of a drive since he was speaking at Drake University in Des Moines, but the lecture was definitely worth it, and I reduced my carbon footprint by carpooling with friends! (Yay, sustainability!)

The lecture took place in Drake’s basketball stadium, and the venue was absolutely packed. I ended up standing on a railing because all the seats were taken. Bill Nye’s lecture covered a variety of topics. He began with his family history and his father’s fascination with sundials, then he spoke about his work on the Mars rovers, and finally he addressed climate change.

Nye recently released a book about climate change, and during his lecture he really stressed that we, as young college students, have the responsibility to make a difference. Halfway through the program, Neil Degrasse Tyson called Nye and we got the hear their conversation over the microphone. My inner nerd has never fangirled so hard.

Nye then took questions from the audience, which included an intense discussion about terraforming other planets and also Bill wonderfully explaining to an adorable young child why he believes in infinity. It was an amazing experience and eye-opening overall and I hope he comes to speak at Iowa State in the future.

4. Showcasing Diversity at the ISU Cyclone Market

On a beautiful Saturday morning, I headed over to the Cyclone Market. This was an outdoor event held in the Jack Trice Stadium parking lot. Organizations set up tables to promote their cause, and some sold food and gifts to fundraise.

I personally though that Team PrISUm’s solar powered car was really cool. There were also cute little succulent plants for sale that caught my eye. I bought a heavenly mango smoothie for $1 from one of the multicultural organizations, and it was a perfect icy treat as the day started to heat up. The spring football game followed Cyclone Market, and I managed to get seats in the very front row – where I also got a wicked sunburn.

5. Celebrating Earth Day on the ISU Campus

On April 22nd, the Green Umbrella student organization and the Office of Sustainability hosted Earth Day at ISU! Held on a Friday this year, the event was located on the south library lawn.

The venue was full of campus and community organizations that support sustainability and eco-friendly living. There was a small pledge wall where students were prompted to share how they are friendly to the Earth. There was also a stationary bike that produced enough energy to power a computer, high tech solar panels, and a wind turbine! Unfortunately I could not stay at the event for very long (since I had to hurry off to class) but it was still fun to walk around even for a little while.

I celebrated Earth Day in my own way later that afternoon by enjoying the outdoors and having some zen time laying in my hammock.

6. Exercising for a Cause with Happy Strong Healthy Magazine

The last event I was able to attend during Earth Month was a 5K put on by Happy Strong Healthy magazine, which is a new campus organization. The magazine features lots of articles on mental, physical, and emotional health in a college setting.

When I first signed up for the 5K I fully intend to run the race, but when I got there I found some friends and we decided to just walk together. It was a beautiful spring day and the 5K took us on a great route on and off campus. I got to spend some time talking with friends while meeting my daily step goal on my FitBit. It was a great way to end the month!

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Overall, going to all of these events was immensely rewarding. It forced me to really get out of my comfort zone and appreciate what goes on in and around our community every April. Instead of just sitting inside studying or watching Netflix, I got to explore campus, learn about the environment, meet new people, experience new adventures, and give back to the community – all while being sustainable!

It was a very successful Earth Month, and my experiences are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s an incredible diversity of sustainable events and opportunities here at Iowa State University if you just start looking!

I’m so happy to have been given the chance to work on this project. I have learned so much about sustainability and have gotten some wonderful and unique research experience. It has been rewarding to do something that positively impacts ISU and I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity. I hope getting to see some of my experiences through this blog have inspired others. So long!

Author: Lauren Young
Editor: Laurelin Haas
Featured Image: Grace Lee