Sustainapalooza encourages greener ways of living


Jessica Darland/Iowa State Daily

The Office of Sustainability hosted this year’s “Sustainapalooza” in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union on Feb. 24. There were informational booths set up and activities for students to participate in, such as signing a pledge, make-your-own lip balm and pine cone air fresheners, creating hats for cancer patients and walking down the green carpet. Emily Scott, junior in landscape architecture, designed this year’s logo. 

Claire Norton

“The earth is not given to us from our ancestors, but is being borrowed by our children.” This is a quote that gives Randi Jenkins, junior in environmental science, empowerment and goose bumps each time she hears it.

Jenkins, who is a part of the Green Umbrella — an organization that attempts to bring together different student sustainability clubs to make ISU students more aware of sustainable efforts — was a volunteer at Sustainapalooza on Feb. 24.

The sixth annual Sustainapalooza event, put on by The Green Umbrella, the Office of Sustainability and the Council on Sustainability, was held to generate appreciation for everything efficient.

The Sustainapalooza event is meant to be an eye-opener for what can be made at home and be done daily to efficiently make use out of things that are regularly thrown away.

It incorporates the three elements that is in every Live Green event: engagement, education and empowerment. 

The engagement is executed by the “leaving no trace” aspect of the event. Nothing will be thrown away, but rather composted and recycled, just as it should. 

Making poster folders as well as making hats out of recycled T-shirts also allow for an engaging way of recycling.

The education portion of the event includes learning how to make your everyday life more efficient through use of posters and informational handouts.

Empowering those attending includes giving them things that they are able to take and use themselves. This allows for a useful and creative way for everyone to be green.

Booths were set up throughout the Memorial Union’s Great Hall, giving information on how multiple programs are making a difference on campus.

Other booths, called “Green-It-Yourself” included how to be efficient in the outdoor weather, how to create folders out of posters and how to make your own lip balm. There was also an opportunity for people to make ice cream by riding a bike.

There were also tables set up to make hats for patients at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

“Being here, you can actually see what you’re actually doing and your impact,” Jenkins said.

Other volunteers said they, too, felt a strong sense of responsibility for the environment.

Kayla Hasper, senior in animal ecology and environmental studies, said living sustainably is better for the future generation to live in.

“I feel like in order to preserve wildlife, you have to have a sustainable environment,” Hasper said.

Other programs at the event, such the Bike Share Program, reassure the university’s future with an efficient and sustainable bike system for coming years.

Sustainapalooza offered different positive reinforcements to the public. 

People could write a promise on a large thumbprint to represent the positive print people can leave behind. They could also write what they have contributed to a greener life on a leaf and place it on a tree to honor positive efforts people are doing to clean up their environment.

The director of events for The Green Umbrella, Megan Koppenhafer, said the turnout for this year’s Sustainapalooza is comparable to past years, but is hard to judge due to the walk-in, walk-out kind of structure.

Each poster, plate and all other crafts were recyclable.

Those who wished to continue to live a more natural, sustainable day-to-day life could take home handouts to learn that being green doesn’t necessarily take a lot of resources or effort.

Jenkins said the environment is something that she is going to prepare for her children and for the future.

Supporting the environment was something that she always pictured herself doing in her future.

“Knowing that this is something that I’ve wanted to do since high school is crazy,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins will take a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by traveling with the Green Program to Australia and Iceland this year to gain more information on how their companies achieve sustainability success and how she can help implement their ways in America.