ISU celebrates Earth Day with “Love Your Mother” event


Nate Camm/Iowa State Daily

A representative from the Dance Marathon signs a students prize card at the Earth Day event on April 19, 2018.

Paige Anson

Food. Air. Water. Energy. Economy. Life.

All were topics of conversation at the Love Your Mother celebration today in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. Various clubs, organizations and individuals gathered to celebrate nature in honor of Earth Day, which is April 22.

“I think [the event] is a really nice reminder of how everything we get is from the Earth,” said Paige Myers, senior in global resource systems and community engagement intern who helped plan the event.

Organized by Myers, her fellow community engagement intern Heidi Kalb from the Office of Sustainability and members of The Green Umbrella (TGU), a sustainability networking student organization on campus, the Love Your Mother event was planned to encourage community thought about human relationships with the environment and how humans can live more sustainably, Myers said.

Myers and Kalb’s hope for those attending the event was that through their participation in the activities, conversations and giveaways at various booths, they would be able to take away a better understanding of their ability to be sustainable.

“Empowerment is really something I hope people take away. Whether that’s through signing the pledge wall or [making] a new time investment in a club. I hope they leave knowing how to change themselves [to be more sustainable],” said Kalb.

The pledge wall, a traditional component of Live Green! and TGU events, is a green wall where people can sign a pledge to be more sustainable, Myers said.

Motivation to sign the pledge wall was encouraged through the information provided by the volunteers running activities and booths at the event; through their explanations on why people should care about the environment and sustainable living and through their examples of sustainable lifestyles.

Jacob Handel, freshman in environmental science, was a volunteer at the event who helped run a booth with the Iowa State Environmental Science Club. Handel told attendees how the club has partnered with the Story County Conservation Center to help restore nature trails around Story County.

The importance of restoring and maintaining trails applies to environmental sustainability, Handel said, as they are maintaining a recreational feature that centers around the maintenance of a natural environment.

Trail restoration also contributes to social sustainability because it help people more easily get outside, get exercise and connect with nature, Handel said.

The value in these activities, according to Handel, rests with their ability to enable people to see the natural world in a way that gives them more appreciation for the resources people get from nature.

“I think it is easy for people to take for granted the things [resources] we have,” Handel said. “People don’t care about what they don’t see. Getting outside helps people connect with nature and care about nature.”

Also among the various organizations representing environmental sustainability at the event were four groups operating booths that similarly promoted environmental health and wellness paired with human health and wellness.

These groups included  Conservation Club, ISU Dining, The Workspace (a craft organization housed in the MU) and the Cellular Agriculture Society.

The Conservation Club’s booth described the need for insect pollinators as they help Iowa’s crops grow. The club handed out “pollinator pouches” with wildflower seeds meant to help pollinator populations have more flowers to collect pollen from.

The benefits of supporting these species, according to the club’s vice president Stephanie Filkins, includes the environmental benefit of all plants having more pollinators and the economic benefit of farmers having a more productive crop yield.

ISU Dining promoted environmental efficiency and conservation in describing their composting program using pre and post consumer waste created in the dining facilities on campus. This helps the dining center sustainably deal with the approximately 285 tons of food waste they create annually, according to a sign at their booth.

At their booth, The Workspace promoted a waste-elimination petition involving straws, called “The Last Straw.” Signers were allowed to pick out a shell to color with markers at the booth.

The Cellular Agriculture Society promoted research involving synthetically manufactured proteins such as milk, meat and eggs at the event. The ecological, societal and economical benefits of synthetically creating these proteins involve reducing the energy, land resources and financial costs usually used in creating these products and helping with agricultural human labor issues, said club President Natalia Arnold.

Also present at the event was Iowa State Dance Marathon.

Although the organization promoted a message of charity, community and compassion that revolves around fundraising rather than the environment, they volunteered in support of the Earth Day celebration as a representative organization for social sustainability, said Andrew Nurse, senior in mechanical engineering and Dance Marathon representative.

Along with information promoting nature appreciation and sustainable living, also provided at the event were free fruit-infused waters from the dining centers and Insomnia Cookies.

Giveaways at the event were comprised of sustainable, reusable merchandise, including water bottles, forks and straws.

Stamp cards were also available for students to stamp at each booth they visited in order to win a free sustainable gift basket.

Also available at the event was the opportunity for individuals to help Iowa State participate in a national personal care product recycling challenge, called “Rinse, Recycle, Repeat”, by donating their washed personal care product containers to a bin within the Great Hall.

The winning college out of the 49 competing will receive a $2,000 scholarship and a free garden, furnished by the competition’s sponsors. Winners for the challenge will be announced after April 31.