Sustainapalooza heads to campus


courtesy of the Office of Sustainability

An annual celebration of sustainability at Iowa State and abroad will take place Feb. 24-25 at the Memorial Union.

Justin Lo

The Green Umbrella, Live Green! and the Council on Sustainability will put on the annual celebration of sustainability Feb. 24-25 at the Memorial Union.

The first day of events kicks off with a public lecture by Alan Weisman, author of the book, “A World Without Us,” 8 p.m. Feb. 24  at the Great Hall. Weisman will talk about population growth and how that affects sustainability on Earth.

“Alan Weisman is a really well-known author and has some really important things to say and will put things into perspective,” said Green Umbrella co-president Ali Ford, junior in environmental science.

At 1 p.m. Feb. 25, the Symposium on Sustainability will begin with opening remarks by Merry Rankin, ISU director of sustainability, and Jonathan Wickert, senior vice president and provost.

The symposium will offer lectures and panel discussions about the past, present and future of sustainability at Iowa State. Near the conclusion of this event, the 2014 Live Green! Awards for Excellence in Sustainability will be given to individuals making an impact on ISU sustainability efforts.

Sustainapalooza will begin after the symposium at 5 p.m. At this event, the public is invited to take part in “green it yourself” sessions on how they can be more sustainable in their everyday lives. These sessions will include topics on urban gardening, waste reduction, green transportation and upcycling.

“Upcycling is taking something that is no longer being used for its original intended purpose and using it for something else,” Rankin said. “At the event, they are going to upcycle old, empty containers for people to then take to the urban gardening center at Sustainapalooza. They are also going to take old T-shirts and make them into reusable bags.”

This offers a unique, hands-on experience for those who attend the event.

“This is one of the biggest ways for students to learn about sustainability,” Ford said. “Everyone will learn something, and there will be something for everyone.”

Along with the sessions, the public is free to view posters containing more information about sustainability at Iowa State and the Ames community, walk on the “green carpet,” write on the pledge wall and pledge to be more sustainable in everyday activities.

During Sustainapalooza, Frank Cownie, mayor of Des Moines, will present a lecture on improving preparedness for extreme weather conditions at the local level 6:30 p.m. in the Sun Room.

Cownie was recently appointed to the State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and participated as a local government delegate at the International Climate Meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Sustainapalooza is a great way to showcase the focus that students at Iowa State and members of the community put on sustainability,” said Caleb Swank, co-president of The Green Umbrella.

Anyone planning to attend the events on Feb. 25 is encouraged to view the schedule of events and register at It is also possible to RSVP on the Sustainapalooza event page on Facebook.