Green Umbrella, Live Green! celebrate National Campus Sustainability Day

Todd Wegter, senior in computer engineering, sits within the PrISUm solar car, which was on display during Sustainability Day in front of Parks Library on Wednesday, Oct. 23. The car, built by Team PrISUm, placed third at this year’s American Solar Challenge “Formula Sun Grand Prix” race.

Caitlin Deaver

In its fifth year of celebration at Iowa State, National Campus Sustainability Day took place on Oct. 23 in the Free Speech Zone outside Parks Library.

Sustainability Day is a collaborative event sponsored by The Green Umbrella, a student organization, and the Live Green! initiative program. Originally, the celebration was only open to student groups. In 2011, Live Green! interns suggested bringing in sustainability businesses, creating what was Wednesday’s event.

“At Iowa State University, under our Live Green! initiative, our vision is to incorporate sustainable practices and features into all of our operations and experiences we offer our students in our journey toward a sustainable future,” said Merry Rankin, director of sustainability at Iowa State.

The event attracted approximately 250 attendees, despite the weather, and included 20 businesses and student organizations that advocate green ways of living.

Other than visiting with clubs and businesses, students could also get a free bike tune-up and win prizes throughout the three-hour event.

The student organizations and businesses used displays and interactive activities to highlight their green initiatives and get sustainability-related information out to the public. The Sustainability Day was also a tool for club recruitment and volunteerism.

“When you have all these groups together, it really is so impressive what is happening on campus and in our community,” Rankin said.

Some of the student groups in attendance included ActivUS, EcoGreek and The SHOP. Some of the businesses present included Volunteer Center of Story County, Wheatsfield and Worldly Goods.

“National Campus Sustainability Day was a huge success for every organization involved,” said Ali Ford, co-president of The Green Umbrella and junior in journalism and mass communication. “We see more and more students and faculty joining us each year with interest in finding out how they can live more sustainably.”

The free bike tune-ups, performed by Outdoor Recreation, attracted approximately 100 bike riders. Outdoor Recreation was tuning up about seven bikes every 15 minutes.

Also, the prizes offered at event had to be earned; a card was picked up at the welcome table, and after visiting each group, the card would be marked. Every four marks enabled the cardholder to win certain sustainability-related prizes. After 12 marks, they were eligible to enter a drawing for shirts donated by Dogtown University or for solar bike lights and bike repair kits from Skunk River Cycles. Attendees could also get marks by getting a bike tune-up.

“National Campus Sustainability Day was a great success and was wholly reflective of the great progress ISU is making in sustainability,” said Caleb Swank, co-president of The Green Umbrella and sophomore in pre-business. “Students have shown that they are very interested in sustainability, and we can expect to see more and more attention being given to the field in the future.”

The next events for The Green Umbrella and Live Green! are Sustainapalooza and Symposium on Sustainability, which will take place Feb. 24 to 25.

“For The Green Umbrella and Live Green!, our focus, vision and intent is about letting campus know about all the many groups and businesses supporting sustainability, and the diversity in how they each have a very unique approach to making ISU, our community and in many cases the world, more sustainable for our current and future generations,” Rankin said.