Students gather to discuss Ames Climate Action Plan


Katelyn Squiers/Iowa State Daily

Student representatives for the Ames Climate Action Plan held a town hall meeting Monday to hear student input on the plan.

Katelyn Squiers

Student representatives for the Ames Climate Action Plan listened to student input and shared information at a town hall meeting Monday night. 

The event took place on campus in the Cardinal Room of the Memorial Union. There were four Iowa State student representatives and two city staff members from the Ames City Steering Committee, as well as around 20 student attendees. 

“Our goals were to inform students about climate action and to get input and I think we got that,” said Hector Arbuckle, a senior in biology and one of the student representatives. “Ideally we would’ve had a packed room, but it was still a pretty good turnout.”

The meeting began with an overview of the Climate Action Plan and a breakdown of the three groups with influence over the plan. These groups include the city council, a technical advisory committee and a supplemental income committee. 

“So far in this process, the target has already been set, and City Council has voted to aim for an 82% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030,” said Victoria Kyveryga, a sophomore in engineering and one of the student representatives. “So the next step moving forward is to define exactly what goes into this Climate Action Plan.” 

Following this introduction, the student representatives invited people to ask questions and voice their opinions. Ashley Kleve, a sophomore in environmental science, was one of the students who voiced their input on the plan.

“I was concerned about how much it would cost and if that would be sort of passed on to the renters and students in terms of tuition costs or housing costs,” Kleve said. “I also mentioned things about if there were any incentives that we could have as a community to get rid of plastic bags in grocery stores and retail stores.”

Several other students also shared their thoughts, including Josh Rossell, a senior in agronomy who wants cost-share programs to be more available for residential areas.

“What I think is very important is that we take care of our natural areas,” Rossell said. “I think it would be helpful for the city or some kind of conservation group to help out private citizens in residential areas by doing cost-share programs for installing native areas and pollinator gardens.” 

Further into the meeting, attendees participated in a Kahoot that asked a variety of questions about people’s preferred methods of sustainability. 

Input gathered through the Kahoot, and the rest of the meeting helped the representatives reflect on current issues. 

“Ames has a lot of zoning laws and one of the assumptions with them is that it’s a nuisance to have shops where people live and have houses,” Arbuckle said. “But it seems like students consider it to be an amenity, so perhaps the zoning laws should be rethought.”

At the end of the meeting, the student representatives encouraged people to continue getting involved in the Climate Action Plan and engaging with the city of Ames. 

“There’s been a lot of pressure in Ames, especially by a lot of older residents and that’s really catapulted this process,” Arbuckle said. “If students were to join in, as they already have been doing, I think the city’s actions would move a lot faster.”

In the upcoming week, a public input survey will be released for people to share the actions they want to see in the climate plan. The survey and additional information can be found on the Ames Climate Action Plan website.