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Sharing sustainability ideas between institutions of Iowa

Mia Wang/Iowa State University
Merry Rankin, director of sustainability at Iowa State, delivers closing remarks. “Consider the future that lies in front of us,” Rankin said. “We all are a part of it. We all have a part in it. We all have responsibilities for it.” The All-Iowa Student Sustainability Conference took place on March 8, 2019 at the Memorial Union.

The 2024 One Sustainable Iowa Conference will be held for students, faculty and staff interested in learning more about sustainability in Iowa, specifically at the university level. The conference will include breakout sessions, panel discussions, networking opportunities and presentations, all for students to dig deeper into the topic of sustainability. 

The conference will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26 in the Memorial Union South Ballroom. 

Students, faculty and staff affiliated with any higher education institutions in Iowa are encouraged to register.

“It is a great way to share ideas between the state of Iowa,” Olivia Miller, a senior in environmental science and sustainability director of Student Government, said. “There are going to be so many fun options available to everyone.”

The conference was originally founded at Iowa State after students and staff began exploring ways to celebrate their sustainability program’s 10th anniversary in 2017. They aimed to connect students throughout Iowa who showed interest in sustainability. The first conference was held in 2019 according the One Sustainable Iowa website.

“Students can hop in and out of the conference all day,” Miller said. “Come, leave and come back as they please.” 

According to One Sustainable Iowa, the scheduled day is as follows:

  • Check-in and registration: 10:00 a.m.
    • Check-in for the Sustainable Iowa Conference and enjoy coffee and breakfast while viewing the featured artwork and research posters.
  •  Meet and greet/book signing: 10-10:30 a.m.
    • The opportunity to buy a book from the conference keynote speaker, Ben Jealous and have him sign it. Jealous is the former president and CEO of NAACP, which became the largest door-to-door voter registration operation nationwide. Currently, he serves as the executive director of the Sierra Club, a grassroots environmental organization with advocates and volunteers across the country. 
  • Opening Remarks: 10:30 a.m.
    • According to the conference website, this time consists of a “Welcome and Introduction of Student Government Sustainability Committee” by Miller.
    • Director of Sustainability and program specialist with facilities planning and management Merry Rankin will overview the conference.
  • Keynote speaker: 11:00 a.m.
    • Jealous has published several books, including “Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding” and “Never Forget Our People Were Always Free.”He is a very cool person, and his lecture is what I am most excited about during our conference,” Miller said. 
  • Networking lunch: Noon
    • Located in the Cardinal, Gold and Oak rooms, lunch will be sourced by ISU Dining and allow members to conversate casually. 
  • Breakout session one: 1:10 – 1:40 p.m.
    • Sustainability craft with the Workspace – Room 3512 
    • Sustainability-related Research Panel with Aaron Sadow, Pete Evans and Anne Kimber – South Ballroom 
    • How to create a repair café with Vikram Bhargava – Room 2630 
  • Breakout session two: 1:50 – 2:20 p.m.
    • Sustainability craft with the Workspace– Room 3512 
    • Whooping crane conservation presentation with Andy Caven – South Ballroom 
    • How to create your own sustainability audit with Rankin – Room 3580 
  • Breakout session three: 2:30 – 3:00 p.m.
    • Sustainability craft with the Workspace – Room 3512 
    • Campus tree walk with senior in forestry Sierra McCoy – Fountain of the Four Seasons, outside the Memorial Union entrance 
    • Joint presentation by Good Earth Student Farm and Mustard Seed Community Farm – South Ballroom 
  • Presentation of campus sustainability initiatives: 3:10 – 3:50 p.m.
    • Overview of the sustainability program highlights from Iowa State University, University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa

Registration is $15 for students and $40 for faculty and staff. The cost of registration includes a free meal and free parking. Registration closes on April 18. 

If the registration cost is an issue, students can apply for financial aid for the One Sustainable Iowa Conference here

Students may also create and submit a research poster or sustainability-themed artwork. Free admission is granted if their piece is accepted to be presented at the conference. Potential presenters are expected to fill out the form if they plan on presenting artwork or research at the conference. Research posters and artwork must be finished upon submission of this form.

Students can register for the event here

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