National Campus Sustainability Day participants discuss what it means to be sustainable

Students participate in National Campus Sustainability Day outside Parks Library on Oct. 26.

Katlyn Campbell

Students flocked to Parks Library South Lawn on Thursday, Oct. 26 for National Campus Sustainability Day.

With free food, prizes, and poster boards from environmentally conscious groups at Iowa State, the event was in full swing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event was coordinated by Live Green! and the Green Umbrella.

Sustainability means something different to everyone whether they decide to practice smalls eco-conscious habits in their daily life or if they live with environmental decisions at the forefront of everything they do. 

The Daily spoke to the following community members on the topic: 

Katie Holmes, Student Government co-director of Legislative Ambassadors; 

Kelsey Culbertson, Student Government senator for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;

Alana Platte, Oxfam America president;

Kara Gardiner, Oxfam America vice-president;

Ben Marcus, Story Country Conservation technician and

Paige Myers, Campus and Community Engagement intern for the Office of Sustainability spoke to the Iowa State Daily in regard to their views on sustainability.

ISD: What does Sustainability mean to you?

Kelsey Culbertson: “Thinking in a way that like is beneficial to the planet… While you’re going throughout your daily life making conscious decisions to be environmentally friendly.

Kara Gardiner: “Basically its doing something in a way that doesn’t degrade the environment and can be done for a sustainable future.”

Ben Marcus: “Basically creating something that is sustainable on its own so that it will have minimal work in the future. So, put the work into it right now so that it can be left alone by itself and still maintain, grow and increase in productivity.

Paige Myers: “So, on the social side people matter and relationships are important and sustaining our communities and their human elements is a really important part of sustainability. And then economic sustainability as I’m learning more about, you can’t get companies to change necessarily just because it’s good to do. There needs to be a financial incentive.”

ISD: How do you practice sustainability?

Katie Holmes: “I’m really bad with food waste, so like always making sure that whatever I can do I don’t have something that I’m going to throw away or something that I’m not going to use again.” 

Alana Platte: “At Oxfam we have these ideas that what you do in your household can really impact what is going on around you and so specifically we talk about different recipes you can do. Simple things such as going meatless Mondays. It saves a lot of water which can be used for production elsewhere or gives access to resources for someone else that is maybe struggling to receive that water.”

BM: “Currently we’re doing several projects right now. We’re basically restructuring that whole streamline with renewable resources…We do a lot of water quality on our beach in Hickory Grove.”

PM: “I think it happens in like a lot of little ways for everyone… It’s a reward to get coffee if I have my reusable mug you know like if I don’t have it then I don’t get coffee so I’ve kind of trained myself to take it wherever I go.”

ISD: Why do you think it’s important to have an event like National Campus Sustainability Day at Iowa State?

KC: It’s really easy for everyone to just walk by even if they don’t stop to see anything they will see some signs that are like ‘green initiatives’ ‘green this’ ‘green that’ and it would make them want to stop for a second and be like ‘oh this actually really important there’s a lot of people here’.”

AP: “Having an event like this just to bring that question to the surface of ‘what is sustainability and how can I be a part of it?’ I think that’s really important for students to get that experience and the opportunity to learn about the issues that are going on throughout the world.”

BM: “Everyone has different viewpoints on sustainability or ideas of how to do it. This just gets the word out for everyone… In the end we’re all trying to achieve the same goal by just creating a better future for our future generations.

PM: “I think its first of all really cool to have all these different organizations come out. I think it’s really cool that we have the opportunity to hold such a big event on campus. It doesn’t look like it takes up that much physical space but we get over 500 people here every year.”