Hello!  Happy February!!

Molly and Maddie here for another monthly blog in honor of our year of Live Green! celebration.

Just as February is known as the month when love is in the air – we are loving this month’s celebratory theme.  We continue our 10 Year Anniversary Celebration of the Live Green! Initiative this month with the theme and focus of Embracing Green. This month focuses especially on social sustainability and all the many ways Iowa State University offers opportunities and supports initiatives that fully embrace the different perspectives, experiences, viewpoints and contextual considerations within and for our campus community.

Coffee and Conversations Event

In the spirit of this month’s theme, we are hosting an event aimed at offering the opportunity for informal gathering and casual conversation about things that matter and we collectively embrace. Since some of the best conversations we’ve had involve enjoying coffee with friends, you are invited to enjoy coffee (and Insomnia cookies) with us on February 13, from 3:30-5:30pm in Parks Library, Room 198. Along with good coffee (thanks to ISU Dining) and delicious nibbles, students and staff connected to various areas of sustainability ( on campus and in the Ames community) will host conversation tables  offering the opportunity for informal discussion and awareness building related to the diversity of sustainability throughout events, services, operations and resources. Free coffee and Insomnia cookies for all attendees.

Stop in for a few minutes or an hour – the event is set-up open-house style to allow for any schedule and engage all levels of interest and interaction. Don’t forget your coffee mug – no disposable cups will be available. However, if you do forget your mug – you can earn one, along with a complimentary (1 brew) bag of ground roast coffee provided by the Roasterie – especially for our 10 Year Celebration.

Conversation Tables (and hosts) include the following:

  • Be Well: Sustaining a healthy lifestyle physically and mentally – BrianVenderheyden, Assistant Director and Jazzmine Brooks, Violence Prevention Coordinator, ISU Student Wellness;
  • Bright Ideas: Understanding what it takes to fuel our lifestyles from energy resources – Jeff Witt, Director of Utility Services, Facilities Planning and Management;
  • Together WE Green: Building awareness of campus inclusion resources and opportunities – E. Jacob Cunnings, Equal Opportunity Specialist, ISU Office of Equal Opportunity;
  • Greener Together: Embracing social sustainability and the many benefits of being active within your community – Toni Sleugh, Director of Sustainability, ISU Student Government and Casey Cunningham, Former President, Ivy Business Council;
  • Plan for a Greener Tomorrow: Setting the course for the City of Ames new strategic plan – Kelly Diekmann, Planning and Housing Director and Eloise Sahlstrom, Planner, City of Ames Planning;
  • Waste-free Life: Learning about living waste-free, on and off-campus – Ayo Oluwalana, Recycling Coordinator, Facilities Planning and Management and Amy Lodes, Graduate Student, Family and Consumer Sciences
  • AND a bonus — Space to Embrace: an additional area to connect informally with other attendees or reflect personally.

Symposium on Sustainability – Envisioning Our Next Sustainable Decade

As well as offering the opportunity to embrace green through conversations, February also includes the 10th annual Iowa State University Symposium on Sustainability – an all-encompassing embrace of everything green and sustainable at ISU over the past year!!  This year’s event will be held Feb. 18-19, 2019 and includes events both at Stephens Auditorium and the Memorial Union.

This year’s event will be kicked-off at Stephens Auditorium, Monday, Feb. 18 at 7pm, by keynote speaker former NASA Astronaut Captain Scott Kelly. His lecture, entitled “The Sky is Not the Limit”, recounts his life embracing adventure and exploration and culminating in a record-breaking year spent living in the International Space Station. As well as offering the message that the sky is not the limit when it comes to the potential of the human spirit, Captain Kelly also shares a message of reflecting on how we affect our planet having witnessed firsthand an aerial worldview of the impacts of climate change.


The second night of the event, Tuesday, February 19th, will be held in the Memorial Union Great Hall, Oak Room, South Ballroom and Sun Room and begin at 5pm. Featured engagement opportunities on Tuesday include a sustainability tabling event (highlighting sustainability-focused organizations, initiatives and opportunities (on and off-campus), community clothing swap (including some of the HUNDREDS of clothing items collected during our Collecting for the Community Initiative during January), Green-It-Yourself Centers (offering hands-on “add sustainability into your daily routine” opportunities through aromatherapy pendants and keychains and upcycled keyboard keys and renovation materials magnets) and local foods and food ingredient sweet and savory food and beverages.

This year’s Symposium will conclude with a panel discussion, “Envisioning Our Next Sustainable Decade” among ISU leadership (past and present) engaged in sustainability since the Live Green! Initiative began, in a look back at the past 10 years of the Live Green! Initiative, as well as a look ahead at what the next decade could and should bring for sustainability at Iowa State University.

Panelists include:

  • Kerry Dixon – Sustainability Coordinator for Design and Construction Services, ISU Facilities Planning and Management
  • Casey Fangmann – Environmental Engineer, Schneider Electric (2013, Industrial Engineering)
  • Roger Graden – Associate Director of Residence, ISU Department of Residence
  • Randy Larabee – Assistant Director of Utility Distribution Services, ISU Facilities Planning and Management
  • Chandra Peterson – Trial Attorney, Federal Defenders of San Diego (2012, political science/philosophy)
  • Jerry Zamzow – Assistant Vice President, ISU Office of the Vice President for Research

Make sure to RSVP for this month’s events!

Cyclones Embracing Green

Iowa State University is a campus brimming with such a diversity of experiences, opportunities and resources to embrace that embrace a sustainability and a sustainable future. At the very foundation of our campus are all those who call it home during the academic year.  With nearly 35,000 students, including more than 4,000 international students, from 130 countries, there is a plethora of ethnicities, cultures, experiences and perspectives to learn more about, interact with and embrace. To facilitate opportunities for dialogue, learning and connection, Iowa State offers an impressive and dedicated array of resources through programs, spaces and engagement.

Programs Embracing Green

Division of Diversity and Inclusion

With the focus of critical thinking, the responsible management of people, professional skills development, innovation in research, teaching and learning, and the constructive expression of divergent viewpoints, Iowa State University’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion supports a broad range of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community constituents to build a model of inclusion that impacts every aspect of campus life and gives voice to all members of the university community. This is accomplished through three focused connection opportunities: collaboration, consultation and engagement, which in turn support dedicated committees, programming and associations.


National Center for Faculty and Development and Diversity (NCFDD)

Ensuring successful academics, toward ensuring full embracement of the Iowa State adventure, Iowa State University is a NCFDD  Institutional Member of this independent faculty development center dedicated to supporting academics in making successful transitions throughout their careers. Through this institutional membership, all ISU grad students, post-docs, and faculty are offered access to all NCFDD’s member resources including online trainings, seminars, learning communities, peer mentoring, and expert workshops. Another ISU program committed to success for academics, ISU Advance, focuses specifically on support for women and people of color.

Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

With the focus of effectively supporting and empowering multicultural students in their personal, community and academic development, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs offers support and empowerment opportunities and advocates for their holistic development across the University. This is provided through relationship building, personal and professional development, leadership opportunities, connections for engagement and empowerment and scholarship.


In conjunction with national college access and retention programs focused on ensuring equal educational opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstances, the TRIO Program at Iowa State includes outreach and support programs targeted to help disadvantaged students progress from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.


Spaces Embracing Green

Cultural Centers

The Multicultural Center, located in the Memorial Union, offers a space dedicated to cultivating, developing and nurturing a sense of community between all people of color on Iowa State’s campus. This is accomplished through offering education and increasing awareness about cultural histories and heritages of ethnic minority groups toward an overall intent of creating an environment where awareness of one’s cultural identity and a deeper understanding and respect of others’ differences with respect to culture, are readily accepted and embraced. The Black Cultural Center, located at 517 Welch Avenue, serves as a foundation for African American cultural identity, education and understanding between diverse communities at Iowa State University and serves as a great space to explore and debate ideas, hold study groups, plan and host meetings and events.

International Nest

A dedicated space for international students and those interested in getting to know them, the International Nest, is located in 34 Parks Library and offers areas (supplies and resources) for relaxing, socializing, and studying. Programs and presentations on basic library topics are also offered.

LGBTQIA+ Student Success Center

Committed to developing academic and personal success, community, and leadership for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, and allied students, the LGBTQIA+ Student Success Center, located in the Memorial Union, offers a diversity of resources, trainings and presentations as well a number of engagement opportunities.

LEED Certified Buildings

In additional to spaces embracing social sustainability, Iowa State University is also committed to embracing environmentally sustainable spaces through establishing a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification standard for all new construction and major renovation projects. Offering eco-minded and sensitive spaces for learning, teaching, working and engaging with others, LEED focuses on eight areas: location and transportation; sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; material and resources; indoor environmental quality; innovation; and regional priority. ISU currently has 21 LEED certified projects (3 silver, 16 gold and 2 platinum), across campus encompassing academic, residence, research and recreational spaces.


Engagement Embracing Green


As we have noted in past months, Iowa State University offers a diversity of courses (over 4000 each academic year). Of these courses, 20% offer an engagement opportunity related to sustainability (environmental, economic or social). In addition to on-campus engagement, courses ISU also offer off-campus engagement through service learning and place based opportunities. One especially unique opportunity is through a multi-year collaboration between the College of Design and the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, offering landscape architecture students direct connection in creating engagement spaces and opportunities for others to embrace green. While this opportunity included a direct connection to creating engagement, it is one of many examples of faculty commitment and dedication to identifying and supporting student opportunities to embrace green – as featured on the Office of Sustainability’s Headline News pages. Academic embracement of green also happens off-campus with over 700 programs offered through the Study Abroad Center.  


It is hard to find a day that does not offer events to take part in at Iowa State University (or in the Ames community). These events are focused on a variety of subjects and benefit a diversity of causes, but they are nearly always guaranteed to have one thing in common – embracing at least one facet of sustainability. Events span the gamut of lectures, how-tos, exhibitions, performances, fundraisers, volunteering and the list goes on and on. The experiences ISU students, faculty and staff are offered through campus and community events is noteworthy and impressive. Through the Live Green! Calendar of Events and Live Green! Monthly newsletter, the Office of Sustainability attempts to serve as a thorough resource for sustainable events at ISU – it is definitely a challenge (but an exciting one) to keep up with everything (and only gets more challenging each year)!

Student Organizations

Similar to events, if you are a student at Iowa State, it is hard not to find at least one student organization that resonates with something you embrace or are interested in learning more about.. Of the over 800 student organizations at ISU, 25% offer a connection for embracing sustainability – environmentally, economically or socially. From service and volunteerism to spiritual, from multicultural to recreation, from performing arts to activism and so on and so on… there truly is something for everyone to check out, experience and embrace.

Personal Engagement

Embracing green, is not just focused outward related to experiences and opportunities, it is also focused inward and connected to personal well being…embracing and showing love and respect to yourself (during this month of love and adoration). ISU offers a number of campus resources to assist you in this personal embrace, including ISU Student Wellness, ISU Wellbeing, ISU Recreation Services, ISU Student Counseling Services and the Employee Assistance Program. Each of these, offer beneficial services and support through resources, consultation, techniques and facilities to ensure every student and faculty and staff member reaches their full potential (and full embrace).

 Clubs Embracing Green

As we already have mentioned, there are SO many student organizations at Iowa State University that support this month’s theme of embracing green. To give you some indication of this impressive commitment, nearly 100 of the over 800 student organizations specifically identify themselves as having a multicultural connection in the ISU Student Activity Center student organization database. With this in mind, (as we found in January) it is really impossible to pick just two to highlight for this month’s blog. So, (as we did in January) we are once again offering a little glimpse at a few groups to more fully honor and celebrate the passion ISU students have for embracing green. We do encourage you to do your own discovery of the many clubs focused on embracing social sustainability, as the list goes well beyond what we have included.   

Bollywood Dance Club

Although known as Iowa State University’s official Bollywood Fusion dance performance group, Bollywood Dance Club’s goal is to promote cultural diversity while also getting more people of our university on the dance floor in order to promote community in an engaging and inviting social setting.

Bridges International

Seeking to assist international students embrace their Iowa State adventure, Bridges International offers service activities (conversational English, understanding/adapting to American culture, and additional transition needs), social activities, and spiritual resources.

ISU Multicultural Business Network

With the goal of informing, preparing, and exposing opportunities to multicultural students within the Ivy College of Business and across Iowa State’s campus, the ISU Multicultural Business Network offers professional development opportunities including mock interviews, panels for professional insights, networking opportunities, volunteering, and meetings with potential employers.

Sir Magazine

As a general interest publication for Iowa State University, Sir Magazine is focused on general interest topics and dedicated to giving culturally relevant information to its readers.


Students Advocating for Everyone

Students Advocating For Everyone (SAFE) Liaisons are student leaders in the Iowa State community who provide awareness, knowledge, and skills to organizations (clubs, resident halls, fraternities, sororities, etc.) to create a more positive and sustainable change within Iowa State University’s campus. SAFE Liaisons participate in conversations and dialogue with students and staff at Iowa State to encourage understanding and conversation about topics that are relevant to society today.

Students for Open Discussion

With the goal of not convincing, but understanding, Students for Open Discussion facilitates open discussion about complex worldly topics and encourages understanding between individuals with differing opinions toward creating a positive environment where people can effectively communicate their views and listen to others.

The Pride Alliance.

Based on a foundation of acceptance, the mission of The Pride Alliance is focused on providing a safe space where students and guests can discuss and learn about the LGBTQIA+ community toward eliminating homophobia and heterosexism in all aspects of life–on and off campus.

The Womxn of Colour Network

The Womyn of Colour Network is an organization for underrepresented, minoritized womxn and their supporters who come together to form bonds of support and empowerment for womxn at Iowa State University.

Monthly Challenge – Expand Your Embrace

To fully embrace any part of our lives, we have to challenge ourselves to move out of our day-to-day comfort zone and daily routines in order to discover all sides, viewpoints and perspectives. We all have been there – coming to Iowa State as a new student is a perfect example – taking the plunge and embracing something new.

Speaking personally, we remember how nervous we were, but how GREAT it turned out to be. We took the chance and embraced something new and then something else and then something else and it truly has made all the difference!! In fact, putting our applications in for this internship was absolutely diving in and embracing something new and it has been SO awesome!!  So, for this month we are challenging everyone to seek out some additional AWESOME to add to your life and embrace a new experience.

Clubs and Events

Try out one a new club or event that moves you beyond your comfort zone. Every club at ISU has information readily available to make learning more about them, when they meet and who you can contact for additional information SO easy!!  It’s also easy to find an event to check out or even one to actively participate in through easily accessible event calendars including those offered by the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of Ames, Iowa State University, Reiman Gardens, Story County Conservation and the Volunteer Center of Story County.  

Space, Place and Culture

If you are up for even more of a new adventure, look into studying abroad. It is a great opportunity to see and experience (and embrace) the world beyond your space and place, and there’s no better way to embrace a new culture than by living it. It’s so much different that going on a vacation and I (Molly) know that personally, having spent a semester abroad last year – what a great experience!! I learned SO much about myself and have a new respect and deeper understanding of the world around me (well beyond Iowa State University and my hometown in Minnesota) and all the people that share this planet with me. Check out the ISU Study Abroad Center website for information on the over 300 different study abroad programs in nearly 60 different countries, offered at ISU, and to read blogs from students currently embracing a study abroad experience.

If there are things currently limiting your ability to study abroad, you can still embrace a new space, place and culture through a multitude of events and opportunities hosted by the diversity of international student organizations at Iowa State. Visit and connect to the ISU Events Calendar (you can specify specific types of events (diversity, sustainability, etc.) that you are interested in, as well as viewing all events) as well as the Live Green! Events Calendar, Live Green! Monthly newsletter and Live Green! Iowa State University Facebook page for upcoming events.  Additionally, the Iowa State International Students and Scholars Office  hosts a number of great events and programs that embrace green. Connect to their Facebook page for the latest happenings.


For faculty and staff at ISU, as well as the opportunity to embrace new events there is a unique tool to embrace new experiences, adventures and perspectives made possible by ISU Wellbeing – the Adventure Portal. This online resource, allows everyone to discover unique and personal adventures for a fully expansive embrace, even if it is not through a class or a semester studying abroad. Among the many opportunities offered through the portal, the Office of Sustainability includes some throughout the year too. Not only does this portal offer adventure, it offers incentives too – to keep expanding your embrace and adventures.

What’s Next?

With March being the month that brings spring break and spring and finds us all SO excited to get out into the warmer weather (and to warmer places) and explore, we are celebrating March with the theme of Exploring Green. In embracing this theme, especially as it connects to connecting students in explorations of sustainability, the Office of Sustainability is hosting an all-Iowa student sustainability conference – “One Sustainable Iowa – Toward a Sustainable Future and Beyond”, on March 8, from 9:30am-4:30pm in the ISU Memorial Union. The event is open to any student (as well as faculty and staff) from all colleges and universities across Iowa. For more information and to register (space is limited), visit our Conference Facebook event. Hope you can join us!!

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

Enjoy embracing February!!


January: Giving Green

Happy New Year, Cyclones! It’s Molly and Maddie, and we hope you had a great 2018 and a well-deserved break. Twenty-eighteen was a great year in sustainability, that kept us moving towards new goals and accomplishments – all having a connection to giving… of time, effort, creativity and dedication. As we reflect on 2018 and look forward to what 2019 has in store, it seems quite fitting that this month’s celebratory theme is Giving Green.

Collection for the Community Initiative

In line with month’s theme, one of our personal resolutions this January is to give more. Give more to those you love and those in need. Specifically, through the Office of Sustainability and Live Green! Initiative, to celebrate and empower the spirit and impact of giving, we are collecting non perishable food items, toiletries, and gently used clothing donations throughout the month of January. All collected items will be distributed to those in need through campus and community organizations, including (for food and toiletries) The SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers), a student organization we are also spotlighting this month, Food at First, a free meal program and food and supplies pantry and our local food bank in Ames. Clothing donations will be included in the annual Sustainapalooza Clothing Swap on Tuesday, February 19th from 5:30-7:30pm in the Memorial Union, Oak Room, as well as be distributed to those in need.


You can drop off donations at the following locations at following times:

  • Collection Box in East Student Office Space of Memorial Union from January 16-29th  *additional tabling and collection on January 16th 10am-2pm by the West Staircase in Memorial Union – look for the Live Green! display and again on February 6th from 10-2pm*
  • First floor of General Services Building January 2-30th 8am-5pm (weekdays only)
  • ISU Dining Centers (Windows, UDCC, Conversations, Seasons, and Memorial Union) January 28-February 1st 11am-1pm and 5-7pm



That’s not all!!    Giving Green through Dining Donations

During the week of January 28th, ISU Dining is offering a wonderful giving green opportunity through their brand new  “Give a Swipe” Initiative. Through this initiative, students can donate 1 or 2 FlexMeals from their meal plan or block plan, up to $16 Dining Dollars ($8 increments), or a combination (1 FlexMeal and $8 Dining Dollars) to help a fellow Cyclone. ISU Dining will collect all donations and work with campus partners to distribute the donated “swipes” to students in need. Donations can be made and any questions answered at ISU Dining Centers (Windows, UDCC, Conversations, Seasons, and Memorial Union), January 28-February 1st 11am-1pm and 5-7pm.

Cyclones Giving Green

There are a diversity ways- big and small that Iowa State University gives. And since every act of giving supports sustaining a community, whether our campus community, our community of Ames or communities across the US or around the world – each giving act is one that gives green. One of the primary means of giving green, of which we are especially proud, is our impressive and impactful commitment to philanthropy. Whether through volunteering our time or offering monetary commitment to our community’s annual United Way campaign and Day of Caring event; planning and engaging in a variety of non-profit fundraising initiatives through runs, frigid plunges, tasty treats and all-night dancing or lending time and expertise through serving in campus and community organizations with focus on leaving a sustainable future for the generations who follow us – we have a strong legacy of giving.

Giving Green through Greening Laboratories

Through a unique community partnership, Iowa State University laboratories are giving back through recycling glass. The partnership originated in 2012 when the City of Ames contacted the University about diverting as much glass as possible from the waste stream and save wear and tear on the City’s Resource Recovery System. Through the creative vision of a Live Green! intern, the idea of utilizing empty Tidy Cats litter containers (specifically the yellow containers with the red lids) was proposed in order to support the request of the city through ensuring ISU’s 1,800+ laboratories had adequate and reusable containers to use in recycling laboratory glass. The cause, saving money and reducing environmental impact, quickly took hold and container donations came to ISU from community members and alum. An especially significant donation came from Nestle Purina directly. Having read about ISU’s initiative, Nestle Purina offered the donation of 1000 containers of Tidy Cats litter to area animal shelters with the requirement that all empty containers being donated to ISU for laboratory glass recycling, an especially unique additional connection to giving back to community. Donations of containers (especially Cyclone color-inspired ones) are still needed and accepted. Contact livegreen@iastate.edu for more information.


Greeks Giving Back

Annually, Iowa State University students provide thousands of hours of volunteer service to causes and community. Especially noteworthy among our students are those belonging to Iowa State University’s Greek community (made up of 65 chapters and engaging 5,000 students). Sorority and fraternity members do a lot of giving through their chapters – annually averaging 50,000 hours of volunteer service and $450,000 donated to philanthropic causes.

Kylie Ahrendsen, member of Chi Omega, offered specific insight on how her sorority is gives back and the significance of the give back commitment embraced by the entire Greek community. “We support the Liz Kirke Foundation and The Make-A-Wish Foundation. Our Fall philanthropy, Chi O Corndogs is one event that supports our fundraising efforts for the Liz Kirke Foundation. This philanthropy raises money for a scholarship fund in the name of Liz Kirke, a late Chi Omega member. The scholarship is awarded annually to an Iowa State student in the College of Design. I think it is important for the Greek Community and all organizations to give back because it benefits the community we are a part of. Philanthropic events help us come together as a chapter to give to others in need.  Giving back and service to others is a key focus of Chi Omega and all chapters in the Greek Community!”


Supporting Communities in Need

Ensuring we can connect unneeded supplies to outlets in need is a focus related to all surplus items at Iowa State University. To achieve this, ISU Surplus works diligently to find these connections. First, efforts are focused on redistributing university assets to other departments, state funded entities or tax supported organizations throughout the State of Iowa. After those avenues of disposal have been explored, remaining materials are made available for sale to the general public. In the event items may still be available, connections are made to identify non-profit organizations to which items can be donated. Through a recent connection, over 187 tons of furniture (4,730 pieces) from a Department of Residence residential housing renovation (determined unsellable and otherwise destined for landfilling), were donated to communities in need throughout the US and internationally.

A community event for the City of Ames, in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, Rummage Rampage, offers a similar opportunity for unwanted, but useful, items that community residents find they no longer need. Taking part during late July into early August, this event offers a collection for any unwanted residential items and, in turn, offers a large-scale, 7-day garage sale. Last year (2018), marked the third annual Rummage RAMPage diverted 102,550 pounds of furniture and housewares (over 50 tons) from the landfill and raised $18,607 for Ames non-profit organizations.


Breaking Green

An especially noteworthy opportunity students are offered related to giving green, comes each year during spring break. While most may think of beaches, sun and pure relaxation during this annual time off from classes, there is an alternative. Starting in 2008 the Alternative Breaks Program was founded on the vision of providing unique leadership opportunities for students and soon established itself as significant give back experience. Though initially offering spring break connections, the program has now expanded to offer trips during fall and spring semester breaks and includes connections with a diversity of service organizations including Second Harvest Heartland in Minneapolis, Common Ground Relief in New Orleans, and SO many more.


Participating student volunteers not only feel like they are giving back, they find the experience gives back to them as well.

“My Alternative Breaks experience was one of the highlights of my year. Overall, the trip was unforgettable, but among my favorite memories are getting to know the other great students that got to share this experience with me.”

“All of it will be an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Not only did I get to experience every aspect of the organization, but I got to see how passionate everyone was with what they were doing. Just being around them and taking in their energy inspired me to want to help them make a difference.”

“It was an amazing trip filled with so much laughter and joy. We had unforgettable experiences no matter what we did. This trip was very eye opening as well as enjoyable. I learned a lot as well as a lot about myself as an individual. I was so glad I was able to go and help these men, and I will remember the entire trip forever, especially the conversations I had and the people I got to know.”

Keeping ISU Clean and Green

Keep Iowa State Beautiful, a university affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, was established, as its name implies – to keep campus clean, green and beautiful. Its mission – to create a culture of beautification on campus and encourage individuals and teams to monitor designated areas, and to host events for the campus and community to remove litter thereby beautifying campus and the surrounding areas. While Keep Iowa State Beautiful encourages a personal commitment to keeping campus beautiful, the campus community is also offered a unique give back opportunity toward keeping campus clean and green. The Adopt Campus Program offers students, faculty and staff – individuals, groups and teams the opportunity to “adopt” a specific part of campus to keep beautiful.

Giving Experiences

Though experiences are offered to our students through a plethora of ways, fundraising efforts and success through the work of the ISU Foundation has added significantly to the adventures from which students have been able to choose while at Iowa State. The Foundation offers giving opportunities to support specific university projects, colleges and scholarships. Currently of focus is The Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, with the goal of giving Iowa State students global leadership awareness and experiences through providing an education that seeks to solve the complex problems facing our world.

In consideration of scholarships specifically, more than 85% of Iowa State students receive some form of financial aid to support their pursuit of higher education. Thousands of scholarships are awarded every year, based on need, merit, and other focus areas. Through the University’s new OneApp scholarship portal, undergraduate students can submit scholarship applications in one system.

Clubs Supporting Giving Green

Because a majority of ISU student organizations give back on an annual basis, it is really difficult to highlight just two for this month’s blog. So, instead… we are offering a little glimpse at a few groups representing a diversity of give back connections and opportunities. This list hardly scratches the surface and we encourage you to do your own discovery of the hundreds of clubs focused on philanthropy and make the connection that best fits your interests and vision of a sustainable future.


Alex Hawker from Iowa State Pay it Forward, a service and volunteer student organization at Iowa State University for the expressed purpose of revealing leadership through service, relationship and action, specifically through engaging college students in service and leadership over spring break, and throughout the school year in the Ames community, describes the overarching connection giving back offers to sustaining community and a sustainable future from the perspective of a student volunteer.

“As a volunteer organization, Pay It Forward really enjoys doing sustainability projects! Some projects we have done in the past include working in community gardens in Georgia and Missouri that use natural forms of fertilizers and picked up trash along highways and in forests in Arkansas, Texas, and many other states….A project coming up that we hope to participate in is doing some tree planting for the Ames community. In the long run, we just hope to continue doing more and more of these types of projects and even potentially partner up with green organizations on campus to come up with new ideas that we can help each other with be more green. Along with that, Pay It Forward is excited to do many more projects that cater to our earth in the future!”

Habitat for Humanity ISU Student Chapter

Through work with the Habitat for Humanity of Central Iowa and Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity, student chapter members assist with the construction of “simple, decent, and affordable” homes for families in need of housing, complete fundraising events throughout the academic year and participate in Collegiate Challenge trips and helping build homes in other states.

Iowa State University Best Buddies

Best Buddies is dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-on-one friendships through matching college students volunteers with persons with intellectual disabilities.

Iowa State University Dance Marathon

As the largest student-run philanthropic organization on campus, Dance Marathon raises funds and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, specifically the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Dance Marathon holds an annual signature celebration of life 15-hour dancing event in January to celebrate all of the benchmarks reached each year.

Oxfam America – ISU

Oxfam America focuses on the goal of righting the wrongs of poverty, hunger and social injustice through awareness, campaigns, and engagement and empowerment toward policy change.

St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn Iowa State

Part of a student-led, student-run, philanthropic program hosted by colleges and universities nationwide to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, this student organization is focused on educating the entire student body on St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and recruiting teams to participate in Up ‘til Dawn annual fundraising event that ends in an all-night celebration honoring the patients and families that have many sleepless nights in hospitals.

Students Helping Rescue Animals

With the mission of helping local homeless animals through fundraising, volunteerism, and education, this student organization is targeted towards all students who have an interest in helping animals in animal shelters. Activities include fundraising events and volunteering days for local shelters and educating the community about the benefits of rescuing animals from shelters.

The SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers)

The SHOP is student run food pantry, that is completely free for ISU students, facutty and staff, regardless of economic need. This organization is supported solely through donations from campus and the community. As noted above, The SHOP is one of the organizations benefitted through this month’s Collection for the Community engagement event. Last year, hundreds of items were collected for The SHOP through collection at Live Green! events. We are hoping to double that level of giving this year to make an even larger difference toward a sustainable future. Paige Aldrichs, Vice President of The SHOP, provides more insight on The SHOP’s specific connection to sustainability.

“The SHOP Food Pantry provides a more sustainable alternative to throwing out non-perishable food and toiletry items. Community members can donate goods to the food pantry, and these items will be available for students, faculty, and staff who need them most.”  

Monthly Challenge – Giving Some Green in the New Year

We challenge all Cyclones to add some giving into your resolution this year. This can be as easy as giving a smile to a stranger or committing time with a volunteer program. No matter what you give, it offers a green difference toward our collective and shared (with everyone on the planet) sustainable future.

If you do decide, you’d like to give through giving your time and giving back, it can be a little overwhelming trying to decide how to sift through all the opportunities. Here are some connection suggestions to help you navigate.

Campus Service Crew

Formerly known as CyServe Council, offers one-day give back opportunities through service days throughout the academic year. Specifically for Cyclones, these Campus Service Days offer opportunities to support various nonprofits and campus and off-campus organizations without the request or intent of a longer-term volunteer service commitment.

Volunteer Center of Story County

The Volunteer Center of Story County is a great organization, which offers an average of 80 volunteer opportunities per week and helps to mobilize over 8,000 volunteers per year for needs throughout Story County.  Anne Owens, Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of Story County, describes the Volunteer Center’s focus on community giving and their 10-year vision for a sustainable future through volunteerism.

“The Center supports individuals, groups and organizations by making connections between them to identify and address local needs.  We partner with 195 local organizations, offer 5 community-wide days of service, support the local network of employers who offer employee volunteer programs, coordinate custom service projects for groups, and provide resources for volunteer engagement professionals in our community.”

“Our dream for the Volunteer Center ten years from now is for the organization to be mobilizing 12-15,000 volunteers to give back annually through our referrals to partner agencies and days of service.  We hope to have a satellite office housed on the ISU Campus to better coordinate service in the classroom, on campus and in the community for students, faculty and the staff. We are also exploring the feasibility of expanding our service opportunities from being available in one county to four counties in the upper, central Iowa region.”


Make your Experience Count

In the midst of taking part in all the great give back and giving opportunities at Iowa State University, ISU also offers a great tool for students to highlight their commitment to giving through Co-Curricular Transcripts. Since 2016, students have had this additional professional portfolio tool available to showcase their full ISU portfolio, not just their academic ones. Suggested components to spotlight through the co-curricular transcript, include the following:

  •             Campus Involvement
  •             Community Service
  •             Honors and Awards
  •             Internships and Study Abroad
  •             Leadership Experience
  •             On Campus Employment
  •             Publications
  •             Recreational Activities
  •             Research
  •             Seminars and Workshops
  •             Student Organizations


What’s Next?

February is a month known for showing love and embracing what is dear to us and we are excited to celebrate with the theme of  Embracing Green. In engaging campus in our February theme, we are hosting a Coffee and Conversations Event focused on engaging conversation around sustainability and those issues that are important students, faculty, staff, and Ames community members – both as individuals and a collective community. The event will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 3:30-5:30pm in Room 198 of the University Library. Join us for coffee, light refreshments and discussion.

February is also the month for the Office of Sustainability’s annual Symposium on Sustainability event. This year featuring keynote speaker, NASA Astronaut Captain Scott Kelly, a panel discussion (including faculty, staff and alumni) reflecting on our past decade of sustainability and envisioning our next decade and the annually awarded Live Green! Awards for Excellence in Sustainability.

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

Have a wonderfully giving January!!  

December- Creating Green

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

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

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

In the Beginning

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


Channel Your Inner Green Creator at Our Sustainable Wrapping Event

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

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

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

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

Cyclones Creating Green

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

LEEDing in Sustainable Design

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

Projects that have achieved LEED certification include:

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

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

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

Raising the (Green) Roof

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

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

Campus of Trees

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

Land of the Upcycled Tree

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


Creating Green through Discovery

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


Clubs Supporting Creating Green

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

Creating Green Infrastructure

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

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


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

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

Preserving Green Spaces

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

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

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


Monthly Challenge – Creating Green by Gifting Green

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

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


Create a Greener Portfolio

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

What’s Next?

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

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

Good luck on finals, safe travels and happy holidays!

November: Buying Green

It’s Molly and Maddie back for our fourth month celebrating Iowa State University’s ten-year anniversary of the Live Green! Initiative!!

Molly: “I am so excited for this month of our 10 Years of Living Green! Celebration”

Maddie: “Me too! We’re celebrating Buying Green!”

Molly: “Plus, November is a great shopping month with Black Friday sales and the month of Small Business Saturday.”

Maddie: “Yes, I can’t wait! Let’s (shop till we) drop into our blog about buying green at a university level and personal level. Here we go!!”

Shopping Small for Big Impacts

Did you know $73 for every $100 spent at a local business stays in our community? It is pretty amazing what shopping locally can do for a community. Beyond adding inimitable personal touches to a community, small businesses are amazing economic forces. Additionally, nonprofits and local causes, on the average, receive 250% more support from small businesses compared to larger ones. We are pretty lucky in Ames to have such a wide variety of small businesses. Which was recently highlighted in a recent Livability article, noting Ames as the #2 best college town – due to a number of unique experiences and opportunities, including “tons of cute locally-owned shops and restaurants”.

 Buy Green! Shop Local! at our “Sust-Ames” Event!

To celebrate buying green through shopping local, we are SO excited to partner with Ames Downtown and the Campustown Action Association and host a ‘Sust-Ames Shop Local Day’, on Saturday, November 10. With the holiday shopping season officially here and ISU students on break the week of Small Business Saturday, we planned a day to offer the ISU and Ames communities the perfect opportunity to shop sustainably through shopping local! “Sust-Ames” is a part of this year’s annual City of Ames’ Snow Magic festivities and will follow the Downtown Ames Snow Magic Kick Off on Friday, November 9th.


On Saturday, November 10th ONLY, you can take advantage of these “Sust-Ames” specials at these participating businesses:

….and MANY more businesses and discounts to come!

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For every store you visit, when shopping during the “Sust-Ames” event, make sure to sign-up at the store check-out areas to win unique local shopping gift packages put together by participating businesses. In addition, shoppers will receive FREE reusable and “pouchable” shopping bags made from recycled water bottles (while supplies last).

Cyclones Buying Forward

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP), or Green Purchasing, refers to the procurement of products and services that have a reduced effect on human health and the environment, when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.For this month, dedicated to Buying Green, it is so exciting to highlight Iowa State University’s dedicated efforts in green and sustainable purchases encompassing recycled content, recyclable, compostable, reusable, energy efficient and locally sourced products and services as well as “take back” options for products at the end of their useful life. In addition, the implementation of a Vendor Code of Ethics as well as paperless purchasing offers additional sustainable commitment to providing goods and services to ISU.

Iowa State University constantly strives to find the greenest way to ensure our purchases assist our collective efforts toward a sustainable future.

Here are some examples included on our green shopping list:

  • At Iowa State University 94% of purchased office paper is made from 90-100% post-consumer recycled materials.
  • More than 95% of all university cleaning supplies are third party green-certified.
  • Local landscape stock is prioritized for all plantings on the ISU campus, with 100% of all plantings being procured locally in 2017.
  • Of ISU formally bid construction contracts, 85% have been awarded to Iowa companies.
  • Graduates of Iowa State University have the option of graduating in gowns made from recycled water bottles.
  • The Iowa State University Bookstore provides an option of purchasing e-books or (most recently) obtaining course materials through immediate access on Canvas. This option offers the student a cost break as well as saves on resources encountered with traditional books.
  • ISU Surplus offers a redistribution opportunity for unneeded university assets to other departments and through public sales as an alternative for landfilling.
  • ISU Dining is committed to offering students, faculty and staff a diversity of dining experiences through the purchase of organic, alternatively-produced and local agricultural products, including thousands of pounds of vegetables from the Horticulture Research Station.

Summer Buying Green

As noted above, no matter the time of year nor the product or service on the shopping list, Iowa State gives dedicated consideration to allow students, faculty and staff to buy green, professionally and personally.

An especially unique buying green opportunity for students happens each summer – offering a great outlet for unwanted items when moving out and finding low-cost items when moving in. Rummage RAMPage, finishing its third year in 2018, is a community sale designed to keep reusable items from being landfilled. A partnership between the ISU Office of Sustainability and the City of Ames, the event highlights commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability. In 2018, environmentally, the sale diverted 102,500 pounds of gently-used and very usable furniture and housewares from being landilled, as these items are not beneficial fuel for the City in producing electricity through a system that combines processed (beneficial fuel) garbage and natural gas. Economically, with most items priced between $1 and $40, from couches to toasters, move-in budgets could stretch that much further for ISU students. Socially, all event earnings, a total of $18,607, were given to local non-profit agencies who provided volunteers to work at the event. In addition, items including linens, bedding, clothing, books, nonperishable food, and school supplies were collected at the event and donated to community organizations whose missions focused on redirecting these supplies to individuals and causes.


Rummage RAMPage 2018 by the Numbers

Specific impacts… both diverting items from the waste stream and providing for our community include the following:

  • More than 5,000 pounds of housewares, electronics, and kitchen items donated and sold.
  • More than 22,000 pounds of side chairs, coffee tables, dining room tables, kitchen tables, and office chairs donated and sold.
  • More than 1,500 pounds of clothing and shoes donated to Goodwill.
  • Approximately 1,000 pounds of linens donated to the Ames Animal Shelter.
  • Less than two percent of all donated items were landfilled (after fully vetting donation, reuse or recycling options).

Rummage RAMPage is set for July 28 – August 3. Save the Date! And… Save your Stuff to donate!!

Clubs Supporting Buying Green  

There are a number of ways to support buying green, as is illustrated in Iowa State’s diverse and comprehensive commitment. This diversity extends to the commitment made by ISU student organizations – both in their personal consideration of the materials and services they purchase to further and fulfill their missions and the focus of their missions and goals. To exhibit this impressive and impactful creativity, two student organizations are highlighted this month.

Charting a Sustainable Course

When thinking about buying green through buying local, small businesses often come to mind. Which brings to mind the Entrepreneurship Club. This club’s meetings often involves speaking to local Ames businesses – learning about how they got started, their success stories and challenges. With entrepreneurship at the center of the heart and soul of a small business and a key factor of economic sustainability for a new business as well a key contributor to sustainability of a community’s local economy, the work of this club contributes uniquely and pivotably toward a sustainable future.

The second group we chose to spotlight embodies buying green in a different way — fashion! Read below how the Iowa State Fashion Show consistently “greens” their show.

Greening the Show

The Fashion Show, now in its 37th year, embodies buying green in a different way – through purchasing decisions in design and fashion. The Fashion Show, is a student-run event put on every year that attracts 2,500 attendees and showcases 150 student designs. Each year, the show builds upon its success and each year that includes striving to leave the smallest impact while highlighting opportunities to support sustainability during their show and beyond their show.

Outreach Producers, Josie Brownmiller & Emily Clark, describe the Fashion Show’s sustainability commitment like this. “A common theme in our planning has been to educate students on the importance of sustainability and the value of their voice in environmental issues.”


When discussing the impacts of the show, Brownmiller and Clark encourage sustainable education, design, and mindfulness. “As a leading apparel design program, our students will have a future impact on the management of textile waste and will influence their companies on this important issue.  More importantly, this event will increase awareness to all students on campus, encourage them to buy quality products, and inspire them to keep their clothing out of landfills.”  

The 2018 theme of the show was resilience, focusing on minimalism and greenhouse inspirited elements. How exciting to see what the 2019 show has in the works!

Shop Local, Shop Smart

In addition to buying green through shopping local, Ames shoppers have an added opportunity to buy green through shopping smart.

The Smart Business Challenge is a City of Ames initiative that began in 2014 as part of the City’s Sesquicentennial. Smart Business is one of the City’s highlighted Eco-Smart programs focused on efforts to increase and enhance efforts that will contribute to a sustainable future. The Challenge is based on businesses’ consideration of and actions within all facets of sustainability (environmental, economic and social)  including energy and water conservation, transportation, waste reduction, indoor and outdoor environmental quality, carbon footprint, and community engagement. There are currently 34 participating businesses.

Smart Business icons-02

Beyond joining the smart business challenge, businesses can achieve different levels of certification showcasing the commitment sustainability in their operations and the products and services that they offer.

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Monthly Challenge- Buying Green

Take a day to explore some of the local businesses in Ames. Whether you’re interested in shopping, dining, or recreation, you can discover a local business perfect for you. Check out this list to find a new business to stop by. Of course one of the VERY best opportunities to take on this month’s challenge is on November 10!!


What’s Next?

December is our month dedicated to Creating Green. From a commitment to creating green buildings to opportunities to inspire the green creator in all of us, we are excited to highlight a decade of green and sustainable creations and creators. As December is also an especially significant and celebrated month in terms of gift giving and reflecting on a year accomplished and all those who were a part of that accomplishment, we are excited to “Wrap up” the year and the semester in both a festive and sustainable way with an upcycled (create your green) wrapping event.  

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

Smart Business Challenge Takes on AASHE 2018!

Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 10.50.14 AMThis fall the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from October 2-5. AASHE is an organization that focuses on advancing sustainability in institutions of higher education by spreading knowledge and helping universities across the world to reach a “STARS” certification. With the mission “To inspire and catalyze higher education to lead the global sustainability transformation,” AASHE works to empower and engage universities to be models of change and to be leaders in a sustainable future. Iowa State University is currently a member of AASHE and has achieved a Gold level on the “STARS” certification.

This year at the annual AASHE Conference and Expo, the Smart Business Challenge Team, a division of Live Green!, had the opportunity to present during a 30 minute session. The goal of this presentation was to spread the mission of the Smart Business Challenge to faculty and students of other communities and collaborate for new ideas and methods that could be installed in the Challenge. The team spread knowledge on how the Challenge engages a small community and implements practices of environmental, economic and social sustainability into many local businesses. This was an amazing opportunity to represent Iowa State Live Green! and the City of Ames. The team also brought home many new ideas that will be utilized in the Smart Business Challenge and other Live Green! operations.  

The team enjoyed their time in Pittsburgh and were able to learn and connect with students and staff from universities all around the world. The presentation engaged a small group of individuals that had a passion for sustainability in a business setting. Here is a link to the presentation they gave at the conference: AASHE Presentation Final. Also read more about the Smart Business Challenge, including its mission, the current participants, and its community impact at this link!

October: Learning Green

Happy October, Cyclones! This is Molly and Maddie from the Ten Year Celebration!

Thank you all for participating in last month’s celebrations of Dining Green. We don’t know about you, but we loved learning where our food comes from and the sustainable operations that serve it to us –  at the ‘Dining Green Food & Features’ event. We also definitely took advantage of that extra “bring your own mug” discount on coffee at the campus cafes, ISU Dining offered. And all the fabulous YUM at the Local Food Festival!! What a GREAT month! Followed by another fabulous month of celebration, October: Learning Green.

Join our Learning Green Celebration – Sustainability Speaker Series

This month our 10 Years of Living Green! celebration is all about LEARNING GREEN. October is a perfect month to feature Learning Green because we have all settled into our current classes and we are also already looking ahead to register for spring semester. To celebrate this month, We are hosting a lecture series highlighting the three main facets of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social. In focusing on each facet individually through these speakers, we are excited to make sustainability connections to every major and every facet of operations at Iowa State University, as well as each an every individual, on-campus and in our community. Sustainability truly connects and is connected to us all. In addition, hearing about subjects through another’s perspectives and experiences is such a great way to learn outside of the classroom, and in such a fun and engaging way.

We are SO excited to offer three unique speakers to help celebrate our month of Learning Green.  They each have fascinating stories and such a diverse consideration and interaction with sustainability.

Art and Our Culture of Ephemerality

Andrew Kozlowski , kicked off our lecture series with a focus on social sustainability. An artist and teacher, who focuses on nature and sustainability through his art with a unique and powerful focus on our relationship with ephemeral (lasting for a very short time) things and experiences, Andrew offered such an interesting lens through which to consider social sustainability. His exhibit Under (Printed) Construction was display at the Design on Main Gallery September 10-20.  Following the exhibit, a public workshop was held on September 21 that dismantled his exhibit and used it as feedstock to make sheets of paper that was left for the community to have and use. Andrew spoke at ISU on Thursday, September 20 at 6:30pm in the Memorial Union South Ballroom. Special shout out to the Iowa State Print Society for spearheading Mr. Kozlowski’s visit to ISU and offering us the opportunity to partner with them.


Learn about the artwork and teaching of Andrew Kozlowski. Kozlowski’s exhibit Under (Printed) Construction will be on display at the Design on Main Gallery September 10-20th.

Making T–Shirts Out of Pop Bottles

Mike Draper, CEO and owner of Raygun, is the second speaker in our series. He will share the story of founding Raygun and diversity of sustainable considerations that goes into his business, with a focus on economic sustainability. As well as hearing Mike’s story, attendees can purchase Raygun gear which includes a specially designed (recycled and organic content and fair trade certified) t-shirt to commemorate our ten years of working to Live Green! and our ongoing vision for a sustainable future. **Cool factor!!  Half of the profits from all t-shirt sales will go to the ISU Student Government Green Initiatives Fund that supports sustainability student projects and initiatives. After the lecture, t-shirts will be for sale at the University Bookstore in the Memorial Union. Mike will speak on October 4 at 7pm in the Memorial Union Sun Room.  

We Rise: Building a Movement that Restores the Planet

Xiuhtexcatl Martinez will finish our sustainability speaker series by sharing his story as a warrior for environmental justice and sustainability since the age of 11. His work has been featured on PBS, Showtime, National Geographic, Rolling Stones, Upworthy, The Guardian, Vogue, Bill Maher, Skavlan, CNN, MSNBC, HBO, VICE, and more. Check out his book “We Rise” for a preview.

Due to a post-ponement, Xiuhtexcatl will speak to the public March 7th and then to our All-Iowa Sustainability Student Conference March 8th. Stay tuned for details!  

As an added component for all lectures, sustainability-focused student organizations representing each facet of sustainability will be tabling 45 minutes prior to each speaker’s presentation.  We look forward to seeing you!!


Xiuhtezcatl Martinez has been fighting environmental injustice since he was eleven. Come hear about his journey, and check out his new book “We Rise” for a preview.

Cyclones Learning Forward

There are so many opportunities at Iowa State University to incorporate sustainability into your education, both in the classroom and through extracurricular activities.

Green Your Degree

Every college at Iowa State University offers courses related or focused on sustainability. To learn more about sustainability courses, check out the Live Green! Sustainability Course Directory. Students at ISU are offered over 1000 sustainability-focused and related courses having environmental, economic, and/or social sustainability connections. Through this impressive collection, you can find electives that interest you or discover unique classes offered in your own major. With spring classes registration coming up, even adding one “green” class could be a great way to expand your knowledge on sustainability and add some unique dimension to your portfolio.  

To showcase our faculty’s impressive commitment to offering sustainability connections through classroom experiences, we are highlighting sustainability courses and “Did You Know?” learning green facts on posters and TV screens throughout numerous campus buildings during the month of October.

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We have personally taken a number of sustainability classes and highly recommend adding a “green” dimension to your adventure at Iowa State. To offer some additional detail to what ISU has to offer, we wanted to spotlight two classes that we have had first hand experience with and highly recommend.  

There are many courses offered in the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business that focus on business and sustainability. Dr. Priyanka Jayashankar, also a prominent sustainability researcher in the College, taught the course, Sustainable Supply Chain (SCM 471X), and stresses the importance of using sustainability research in the classroom. When looking at ten year goals for the next decade of sustainability at Iowa State, Jayashankar aspires to “help students become managers, executives, and entrepreneurs who can make a positive impact on society with best practices.”

Exploration of Environmental and Sustainability Issues (ENSCI 202). This is a one credit class offered in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the focus on exploring and gaining insight on a diversity of environmental challenges through a lens of all facets of sustainability. This course is one of our favorites to highlight because it is really was a great class for us that gave us such an overarching consideration of sustainability.  And, it doesn’t have a number of prerequisites required – so, it really is open to everyone!!

If you are looking to go a step further than just adding sustainability classes to your portfolio, consider adding a sustainability minor into your current coursework. At ISU, we have two interdisciplinary minors in sustainability, a minor in Sustainability, and one in Wind Energy.  The really unique “Did You Know?” about our Sustainability minor is that it only has two required classes and then you get to “build your minor” after that, according to your interests and career goals.

Other sustainability degree programs at Iowa State include: a minor in Energy Systems. Master’s programs in Urban Design, Sustainable Environments and Sustainable Agriculture. ISU also offers a PhD in Sustainable Agriculture.

Join a Community

In addition to taking classes or diving into a major/minor degree program related to sustainability, ISU offers sustainable learning communities to take part in. There are over 75 learning communities at Iowa State University that allow you to join a community of students pursuing the same degree as you or having the same interests.

Examples specifically targeted to sustainability include the Science of the Environment and Sustainable Systems Learning Community and The Sky is the Limit Learning Community. Offering a great way to meet new students devoted to sustainability!


Join a Green Group

Approximately 1/3 of our 800+ student organizations, at Iowa State University, have a connection to sustainability through their mission and goals. To gain some experience and connection to sustainability outside the classroom, join a sustainability student organization. The Office of Sustainability has created a listing of all sustainability student organizations and designated their connection to sustainability (environmental, economic or social). With opportunities to build solar-powered cars, volunteer with wildlife, learn a new language or help communities in need, joining a green student organization is fun and rewarding.

To give a bit more insight into what sustainability student organizations do, we have highlighted two that have especially unique approaches to sustainability and learning green.

The Environmental Education Club offers the opportunity for students of any major to learn more about sustainability and help others learn as well. President of the Environmental Education Club, Jillian Kurovski, mentioned, “The Environmental Education Club seeks to promote sustainability through inspiring children and fostering a love an appreciation for the Earth. Teaching people to love the environment from a young age encourages them to protect it as they grow to realize the problems that humanity faces in taking care of the earth. This could also grow into a passion that brings a child to a university to make things like sustainability their career. Our hope is that after each program, at least one child walks away with an appreciation for an aspect of the earth that they didn’t have before.”

The Engineers for a Sustainable World  student organization combines a passion for engineering and sustainability that extends internationally. With a mission focused on the belief that engineers and community members can work together to identify and solve technology-based problems, this organization commits to seeking, developing and employing solutions that can be locally sustained, whether in Ames Iowa or across the globe, leading to an improved quality of life.

There are green groups, in addition to student organizations, to join at Iowa State as well. Green Teams, made up of faculty, staff, and students all interested in furthering sustainability at Iowa State University, focus on a variety of opportunities to increase and enhance engagement in and commitment to sustainability through operations, initiatives and events. Currently, there are 29 Green Teams at Iowa State University, representing colleges, departments and business units. And there is always an opportunity to start a Green Team of your own.

Learning Through Service

Service Learning is a great way to enhance classroom learning by connecting to the community. Service learning consists of three essential elements: community service, curriculum connection, and reflection. This type of learning is a great way to do hands-on work and have a rewarding experience all in one – and offers a unique connection to all facets of sustainability!

Service-Learning Models

Model: Description: Example:
Civic-Based The learning objective for the Civic-Based Service-Learning Model is to promote civic engagement. Residence Halls that are participants of the Fresh Start Program.
Problem-Based The learning objective for the Problem-Based Service-Learning Model is to solve real, community-based problems. Students in the College of Engineering engage in designing rehabilitation engineering equipment for clients with a mental and/or physical disability.
Consulting-Based The learning objective for the Consulting-Based Service-Learning is to apply technical expertise to community needs. Students in the College of Business create marketing plans for nonprofits.
Community-Based Action Research The learning objective for the Community-Based Action Research Service-Learning experience is when a content-based or research methodology course focuses around research performed by the students in conjunction with the faculty member and community members. Community members and students contribute equally to setting the research agenda and determining how the results will be used. Students in an American History course collect and record oral histories from older members of the community. Together the students and community members establish an exhibit on the topic for children at a local museum.

Connecting Through Research

Iowa State University is noted as “the nation’s most student-centered public research university.” ISU students and faculty research a multitude of complex issues and ideas affecting the world. As well as work through our 1,200+ laboratories on campus, the Iowa State University Research Park supports additional research efforts through its 220+ acre development with more than 550,000 square feet of building space.

ISU’s commitment to research in sustainability (environmental, economic or social) is impressive with over 90% of all academic departments engaged in sustainability research and nearly half of all research at ISU having a sustainability connection.  Students are able to participate in research in class, through employment opportunities and as part of organizations – nurturing and supporting the development of mentoring relationships, improvement of skills, availability of experiences and connection of theory to practice.

Enjoying Public Lectures

A collaborative effort between the Student Government and the Office of the Provost, the Iowa State Lectures Program brings over a hundred speakers to campus each year, offering a broad spectrum of lectures, political debates, and academic forums; cultural events, including musical performances and art and dance programs; and entertainment, such as film and comedy. Offering all events free and open to the public.

Numerous sustainability speakers have come to ISU over the past decade (and beyond), representing a variety of perspectives and offering a plethora of insights and experiences, through the support and partnership of Lectures – that includes this month’s Sustainability Speaker Series. The Lectures Program just celebrated an anniversary of their own, 60 years of educating and entertaining students, faculty and staff at Iowa State University, the Ames community and communities across Iowa. This is a such a fabulous resource to take full advantage of at ISU!

Monthly Challenge – Learning Green

For the month of October, students, faculty and staff are “green challenged” to attend a sustainability lecture. We would, obviously, love for you to choose one (or all) of our sustainable lectures series, but if you are not able to attend those, choose one (or more) that is of interest to you and that offers you a new understanding of and connection to sustainability. There are SO many lectures available on dozens of different subjects, you definitely won’t have difficulty finding options to choose from. In addition, for all students, an extra challenge – add some “green” to your schedule. This could be signing up for a green course next semester, joining a sustainability club, or event or even just adding a new green habit to your schedule, which could be moving green or dining green. Whatever you choose to do, consider it an opportunity to learn something new and different. Embrace the experience, invite a friend or family member to join you and have fun with it!

What’s Next?

In November, Green is the New Black. Next month, our focus is on Buying Green and all the many ways ISU has committed to more sustainable purchases and purchasing operations. To offer a unique “buying green” engagement opportunity, as well as add to November’s National Small Business Saturday, we are hosting our own unique and “green” twist aimed at sustainable buying and community sustainability, by hosting our own local shopping day, “Sust-Ames” on November 10. We are excited to partner with Main Street and Campustown businesses to offer students the opportunity to shop local, get some unique gifts, enjoy special discounts and support local businesses before heading home for Thanksgiving break.  

Until then, we hope you can find a way to green your day through class or extracurriculars, and we cannot wait to see you all at the lectures this month!  **Bonus Opportunity – You can learn green AND start your buying green adventure at the October 4 lecture by picking up your unique Live Green-inspired Raygun t-shirt. Stay tuned to the Live Green! Facebook page and join the Ten Years of Living Green Facebook group for more information and “need to know” tidbits.


Ames Businesses are Living Green!

Have you ever wondered if any of your favorite Ames businesses are trying to be more sustainable? The Smart Business Challenge (SBS) works with businesses on just that! Live Green! partners with Ames’ government to provide services for both businesses and the community members of Ames to operate and be recognized as a sustainable businesses.

The Smart Business Challenge focuses on evaluating businesses based on their current operations in all three facets of sustainability (environmental, economic, and social). The SBC interns assess businesses on criteria such as energy efficiency, waste management, and water use, as well as community involvement and engagement. From the results of this assessment, the Smart Business Challenge team ranks businesses involved in the challenge at a bronze, silver, gold or platinum level. These rankings are used to recognize businesses for their achievements and motivate them to increase their sustainability practices. A checklist is used to measure the business’ current involvement and gauge what additional improvements or changes they can make to increase their ranking.

Currently there are twenty-seven businesses involved in the Smart Business Challenge, eight of those have achieved the platinum certification. There is a wide variety in the types of businesses participating in the challenge, so the certification criteria has to be adaptable for any type of business. Over the past four years, the challenge has developed into a recognized and well-respected program in the city of Ames and many businesses have experienced benefits in energy conservation, community involvement and reduced business costs.

As the Smart Business Challenge grows, we encourage all community members to support the businesses who have made a commitment and effort to be a more sustainable business. We hope all community members will spread the word of this great opportunity to their favorite store, restaurant, or other business in Ames. More details about the challenge and a list of the businesses participating can be found on the Smart Business Challenge website!


September: Dining Green

Welcome to the second month of our year of celebrating 10 Years of Living Green!

Molly Breen, one of the 10 Year Celebration Live Green! team members, here. I am so excited to feature all things Dining Green over the past 10 years, as well as all sorts of events this month that highlight adding some green to your dining, in this blog post. September is absolutely OUR Month to Dine Green!

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 at the Dining Green Foods & Features Event

We are officially back into the swing of the school year. For me, this means fall and all the wonderful fall produce is here to enjoy. It is such a great time of year to dine at Iowa State, as there are so many locally grown foods offered in a number of fun and unique recipes in our dining centers and cafes. In addition, through our local Ames farmers markets, there are so many opportunities to purchase local foods and enjoy them through your own cooking. One thing that helps me get back into cooking is to check out the Ames Farmers Market and the Iowa State Local Food Festival. As Iowa State students, faculty and staff, we have so many opportunities to DINE GREEN and we are excited to highlight them, as well as a number of student organizations whose missions support a greener dining experience.  We hope you can join us!

What: Green Dining Foods and Features Event

Where: East Marston Lawn

When: Monday, September 10, 11am-1pm

Who: ISU students, faculty and staff

How: Drop by, enjoy a cookie (made from scratch by ISU Dining) or apple (grown at the Horticulture Research Station), learn about all the many ways ISU Dining has added some green to their operations and your dining experience over the past decade, meet some of the amazing ISU student organizations committed to nutrition, food and food security and pick up some unique sustainability giveaways to green your everyday dining experience.

**Bring a non-perishable food item with you (to donate to The SHOP, ISU student food pantry) and be entered into a special green dining prize drawing. Faculty and staff can also earn Adventure2 credit for bringing a donation.

AND… there’s more!!  All day on September 10 at all campus cafes, bring your own mug and receive a 50 cent discount!!  

Other Green Dining Events in September

In addition to joining us at the Green Dining Foods & Features Event, there are three additional opportunities to celebrate green dining during September.

Local Food Festival, An Adventure in Eating – September 19, 9:30am-1:30pm, Central Campus. The annual event, in its fourth year, features educational displays, food samples, recipes using local foods developed by Iowa State dining chefs, and locally grown and produced products for sale by area vendors and ISU clubs. Scheduled to allow a delicious adventure between classes and over the lunch hour. Free reusable and “pouchable” bags, while they last!

Ames Farmers Markets – through September (and also October), Ames offers two Farmers Markets with a diversity of locally grown and made foods. The Ames Downtown Farmers Market, taking place on Main Street, is open Saturdays in September from 8:30am – 12:30pm and in October from 9am – 12:30pm. The Ames North Grand Farmers Market is open Wednesdays from 3-6pm and Saturdays 8am-12:30pm, through the end of October. Something for every palate!

AND… one more!!  Look for us on September 4, outside of Curtiss Hall from 12-2pm, we will be tabling and can answer questions about ALL of these great green dining opportunities.  AND… we will also be sharing information about ALL of the 10 Years of Living Green events, offering a sweet treat as well as some Live Green! celebration giveaways!!  

Although not in September… a GREAT October Dining Green Celebration!! 

Iowa County Fare – October 22-25 (Lunch and Dinner time), Friley Windows Residential Dining Center, featuring local foods like you have never experienced or tasted them before! Open to students, faculty, staff and community members. Entry fee at the door or can be included in a meal plan. Enter your name into a drawing at the Foods & Features event on September 10, for free tickets to this, oh so tasty, event!


Our Moves to a Greener Dining Future

Green dining has most certainly been a focus for many years prior to the start of the Live Green! Initiative in 2008; however, some impressive strides in the past ten years are definitely worth celebrating!! For example, in 2007 ISU Dining kicked off a local foods initiative, Farm to ISU and in the ten years since thousands of pounds of locally grown food have been a part of the daily dining experience for thousands of Cyclones. With each passing year ISU Dining focuses on increasing its purchases of local, organic, and alternatively produced agricultural products from Iowa farmers, currently partnering with sixteen Iowa producers. In 2017, ISU Dining secured a unique partnership with the Horticulture Research Station, and with assistance from the Good Earth Student Farm, to utilize station plots, not being utilized for research, for growing produce for dining operations. This resulted in nearly 5,000 pounds of green peppers being provided for ISU diners. This year 8,000 pounds of yellow onions are anticipated for delivery and enjoyment.

Cyclones Dining Forward

In addition to green dining through food, ISU Dining is committed to ensuring we all leave a lighter “plateprint” in dining, as well. With all dining operations, food waste is one of the areas of consideration in efficiency and savings. ISU Dining has approached this in a multi-faceted approach.

ISU went trayless in all residential dining centers in 2010. By removing trays, an average reduction in food thrown away of .30 pounds per visit has been achieved. This savings passes to all students, faculty and staff – since reduced food waste equates to reduced cost of handling food waste and purchasing the food that has been wasted.

Additionally, through partnerships with a local community free meal program and food pantry, Food at First, and commitment by an ISU student organization, the Food Recovery Network, to collect all unsold pre-made and packaged food from our campus cafes, as well as campus events, nearly 12,000 pounds of food, as of spring 2018, has gone to those in need instead of into the dumpster. A great cause, positively impacting Ames families and the community. Now that is appetizing!

For all the food waste that does not have a donation option from ISU dining centers and also ISU dining and catering kitchens from meal preparation, composting is an option. Starting in 2009, ISU Dining connected with the University Compost Facility to compost all pre and post-consumer residential dining facility food waste, as well as the pre-consumer catering food waste (and post-consumer by request). At the compost facility, food waste is mixed with yard waste from campus operations, biological research waste from our greenhouses and animal manure and bedding from our animal science facilities to create a finished product used on campus and at the Horticulture Research Station to help grow more food – quite an impressive full-circle system.

In addition, through recycling food packaging and other operational supplies, including uniforms, waste from operations is able to further minimized and offered a beneficial use beyond the dumpster. As well as saving through waste, ISU Dining is also very cognizant of saving through energy use and demand. Researching the most energy efficient equipment, utilizing high efficiency lighting features and simply turning off and unplugging items, when feasible, while not in use are all standard considerations in the day-to-day operations of our campus dining facilities.

Reusing Makes Cents

There is another unique way to dine green at ISU, reducing your dining packaging, like water bottles and mugs. Bringing your own mug and reusing it, makes CENTS at Iowa State. By bringing your own mug/cup, you’ll receive a $0.35 discount on all drinks at all campus cafes and c-stores. Through this commitment, an average of 35,000 fewer disposable cups are kept out of the waste stream annually. Now, that’s sweet! This cents-ible idea is also something that many coffee shops throughout the Ames community also have incorporated into the customer experience. Next time you grab coffee, on or off-campus, be sure to ask about discounts for using reusable mugs. If you do not have your mug, but are “drinking in”, request a non-disposable mug, instead of a disposable one. And don’t forget about the 50 cent discount, all day across campus, for bringing your own mug!!  

Eat Greener with Recreation Services

ISU Dining is not the only department committed to dining green at ISU. Recreation Services partners with Iowa State Dietetics to provide students, faculty, and staff with green dine options, ideas and tools through Smart Eats. Through this resource, you can sit down with a knowledgeable dietetics student and learn about dining green, for all of dining done on-campus as well as off of campus. Take advantage of this tailor made Iowa State program, as well as other unique tools and opportunities such as Culinary Boot Camps and blogs, to enhance your nutritional knowledge and develop healthier habits.


Know your Food

A new publication, soon to be released, the Foodie Magazine is designed for all foodies! More than 100 pages long and offering SO many delicious recipes and cooking tips, as well as stories and good-to-know info about sustainability, wellness & well-being, and nutrition, it is a must have for everyone who eats and loves to eat. The magazine’s goal… to bring together a love of food with nutrition and well-being, while also being mindful of our “plateprint”. Not only does the Foodie Magazine highlight food, it features student groups, directors, and various departments whose mission, vision and work is committed to well-being through food wellness/well-being. To receive the publication when it is completed, send an email to livegreen@iastate.edu, subject line “Send me the Foodie Magazine!”.

Clubs Greening Your Plate

Iowa State University has a diversity of student organizations cooking up sustainability initiatives. As we do every month of our Ten Years of Living Green! celebration year, we are excited to highlight two clubs, among SO many, that share a vision of a food secure, healthy food for all, sustainable future.

The SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers), is a student-run, on-campus food pantry for students, faculty and staff at Iowa State University. Celebrating their eighth year, January 2019, The SHOP began as a group of students in the Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) transfer learning community and has grown to include students from a diversity of majors. Their mission – to increase food security on campus and offer non-perishable food and other personal hygiene items to all ISU students and faculty/staff in need.

Through donations from individuals, campus organizations, local churches, and more – they have even been listed as a donation option in lieu of gifts for weddings and other celebratory occasions. With this annual outpouring, that grows every year, a wide variety of free, non-perishable food and, most recently, personal care items are available. And their reach is impressive and also humbling. During an average month, The SHOP will serve in access of 100 students. Their outstanding efforts, through volunteerism, were recognized in them being awarded the Story County Youth Volunteer Award in 2011.

Food Recovery Network is an organization that values every morsel of food. Their mission is to reduce food waste and help end hunger in the Ames community through collecting excess food to offer it to those in need. Collectively, The Food Recovery Network is part of a national organization with 230 chapters in college campuses all over the country. Their primary objective as a college chapter – to act as a link between food providers and food pantries to help reduce food waste and feed those in need.

Colin Welk, the president of Food Recovery Network, notes their unique connection to sustainability and their next decade vision for Iowa State, “Our organization works to promote both environmental and social sustainability by recovering food from dining locations around campus and delivering it to food pantries in Ames. This supports environmental sustainability by cutting down on food that would otherwise be wasted. Composting and recycling do provide many benefits, but finding other ways to use food before it is composted is more energy efficient and generates less greenhouse gases and waste. Our volunteerism also contributes to the social sustainability of Iowa State by strengthening partnerships between Iowa State and the Ames community and addressing social injustice and inequality. Food security is a huge issue in Iowa, especially in Story County where 15% of people (~14,000 residents) are food insecure. Our work helps provide a continuous supply of calories and healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, to those in need.”

“Iowa State University is committed to sustainability goals and is a perfect place to organize sustainability-minded individuals to serve local communities. We would like to see a zero-waste Iowa State campus in 10 years and a big reduction in the prevalence of hunger within Ames, Story County, and Iowa communities. Our organization hopes we will continue to grow and play a role in helping Iowa State tackle those challenges and meet its sustainability goals.”

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Monthly Challenge – Dining Green

Thanks for learning about Dining Green at Iowa State University. We hope you get out and stay active! Here’s a challenge to keep you greening your dining experience!!

For the month of September, students, faculty, and staff are “green challenged” to bring and use your reusable mug and water bottle toward a goal of consuming no disposable cups this month. You will save money, conserve resources and reduce our disposable cup waste stream! And, you can help us reduce disposable cup use by even more than 35,000 cups per year. That is enough to cover the Football field at Jack Trice almost 25 times, let’s make it 26 times, Cyclones!

What’s Next?

October is our month dedicated to Learning Green. Join us for a sustainable lecture series, featuring speakers focused on environmental, economic and social sustainability and look for our posters throughout campus buildings highlighting the many opportunities to green your class schedule and portfolio through over 900 sustainability courses offered to students throughout all of our colleges. Remember to join our Ten Years of Living Green Facebook group for more information on events, giveaways, and all things live green!!


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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