Sustainapalooza encourages students to reduce, reuse, recycle


Katlyn Campbell/Iowa State Daily

Olive McLean, senior in marketing, writes what she thinks is the most important social issue of our time that she can do tomorrow to make a positive impact towards ensuring resilient communities during Sustainapalooza at the Memorial Union on Feb. 28. McLean wrote “Education, call my representatives and tell them to increase education funding, and replace DeVos.”

Katlyn Campbell

The eighth annual Symposium on Sustainability concluded Tuesday night with the event “Sustainapalooza: There is no Planet B.”

The Symposium on Sustainability seeks to engage community members in discussions related to research projects, initiatives, events and operations that embrace a sustainable future.

The Symposium was sponsored by Iowa State’s Office of Sustainability and The Green Umbrella organization. 

Sustainapalooza consisted of a sustainability poster and tabling session that highlighted campus and community initiatives and accomplishments in promoting sustainability and living green.

Four Green It Yourself centers featured topics of green cleaning, upcycling, laminated posters and vinyl banners into products to keep your organized, on-the-go and extended shelf-life meals in a jar.

The event also included a clothing swap, donation of non-perishable food items for the ISU student food pantry, The SHOP, local food refreshments and giveaway items.

Paige Vanderleest, campus and community engagement intern for the Office of Sustainability, relates the importance of having an event like Sustainapalooza on campus to being able to educate people on what sustainability truly means.

“I think it’s important because a lot of students’ idea of sustainability is you have to invest a lot of money,” Vanderleest said.

Sustainability could be as simple as turning off the water when brushing your teeth, recycling on campus or reusing water bottles and mugs at dining halls, Vanderleest said.

Upon entering the Memorial Union, participants were met with a display showcasing questions related to how they can lessen their environmental impact.

On a sign that read “What changes would you make if you were to cut your consumption by 25 percent to help preserve our water?,” students wrote, “use less water when washing dishes,” “take shorter showers” and “use rain barrels for water garden and house plants.”

The SHOP, Students Helping Our Peers, collected non-perishable food items to spread awareness of its organization. 

“We try to help minimize food waste,” Daniel Rincon-Perez, secretary for The SHOP, said.

By donating food products that would otherwise go unused in the back of people’s pantries, they were encouraged to donate them to Iowa State students in need.

Cathy Twito, director of design and merchandise at Overflow, also was at the event.

Overflow, a non-profit thrift store in Ames, seeks to give back to the vulnerable people who need help, Twito said.

“We’re kind of like a Goodwill, only we’re clean, cute and creative,” Twito said.

Overflow donated more than $72,000 last year to those in need and gave away free T-shirts at this year’s Sustainapalooza event.

Twito referred to clothing swaps and thrifting as “the ultimate in recycling.”

Wheatsfield Cooperative, a natural foods grocery store, set up a booth during Sustainapalooza to bring awareness to students who are interested in fresh, local and organic food.

Andrew Minard, facilities manager at Wheatsfield Co-Op, said that because a lot of students don’t go off campus often, it’s important for them to see local green businesses.

A presentation of the Live Green! Awards for Excellence in Sustainability recognized members of Iowa State who are making an impact on campus sustainability.

The event concluded with a screening of “Painted Poison” and “Food Scarcity.”

The films addressed the relationship among social, economic and environmental sustainability. Dakota Olson and Lakshmi Karuparthy from the films gave their input on sustainability and how millennials can help make a change in the world during a panel discussion after the screening.