Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.09
Liaison Merry Rankin
Submission Date Aug. 30, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Iowa State University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Merry Rankin
ISU Director of Sustainability
Facilities Planning & Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

More than 200 of Iowa State's 850+ student organizations are related to sustainability. The Office of Sustainability website maintains a list of these active "green" student organizations based on which of the three facets of sustainability most closely aligns with their group's mission.

The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The Good Earth Farm
The ISU Good Earth student farm is a student-run Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that markets to the Iowa State Community. This model intends to create a relationship between the farm and customer. Rather than simply purchasing food, customers become “shareholders” of the farm. Shareholders invest in the farm before the start of the season and in return receive weekly dividends in boxes of produce.

The farm operates on half an acre at the Iowa State Horticulture Research Station. Many members are SUSAG students and professors.The Farm offer two kinds of membership: a paid-share and work-share option. Paid-share members pay $350 at the beginning of the season and usually receive 14-16 weeks of produce from mid-June to October. Work-share members pay $50 and contribute 3 hours of farm work per week in exchange for the same weekly box of produce. The duration of the season and amount of produce is weather-dependent.

The farm grew over 7,000 lb of produce for 50 members in 2018

Sustainable Agriculture Student Assocation
Sustainable Agriculture Student Assocation (SASA) activities include volunteering with the Food at First community food market, both in the community garden as well as providing volunteer support during market days. Activities are designed and planned as ways for the community of students in the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture program as well as friends of the program to build community and learn more about sustainable agriculture outside of the classroom.

Reiman Gardens
Iowa State University's Reiman Gardens provides a variety of sustainability-based workshops for local community, students, and faculty members, including plant propagation and pruning, therapeutic horticulture, sustainable crafting, and gardening.

The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):

Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

The SHOP was created by ISU students looking to give back to campus. Their mission is to help ISU students in need of food assistance, making it a peer-to-peer organization. Located on campus, the SHOP has regularly scheduled hours when volunteers distribute food that is obtained through donations. The service is available to all students, who receive food without record, allowing customers to maintain anonymity.

The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

Student Government Green Initiatives Fund
Iowa State’s Student Government encourages students to make a sustainable impact through the Green Initiatives Fund (GIF). The GIF supports student-initiated projects that promote environmental, economic and social sustainability. If students have a specific project or initiative that supports a sustainable future and Cyclone student experience, they can download an application online, detail their ideas, and submit it to Student Government for funding consideration.
Applicants must represent a recognized student organization. Funding is given to projects that align with the following goals: a) reducing energy consumption, waste production and the carbon footprint on campus, b) encouraging sustainable development and encouraging ISU to become a greener campus, c) Providing educational opportunities for students to learn more about sustainable lifestyles, choices, and options available to them, and d) benefiting a large part of the ISU campus or connecting the university to the Ames community. Applications will be reviewed by the student-led Green Initiatives Committee.


The Live Green! Revolving Loan Fund provides interest-free loans for campus projects that promote energy conservation and sustainability and provide a return on the investment through increased efficiencies including (but not limited to): resource use, financial savings, and emissions reductions.Loan recipients repay their loans through savings derived from the implementation of their project. As the loan fund is replenished, through loan repayments, the loan can “revolve” and fund additional sustainability more energy conservation projects on campus. After the loan has been repaid, the ongoing savings is retained by the loan recipient to use in whatever manner will most benefit their goals and priority initiatives. Students, faculty and staff make up the membership of the Live Green! Loan Revolving Loan Fund Advisory Committee.


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

Symposium on Sustainability
The Symposium on Sustainability is an annual event held each February dedicated to the celebration and showcasing of ISU student, faculty and staff sustainability commitment, initiatives and accomplishments. The Symposium on Sustainability features a keynote speaker highlighting excellence nationally and/or internationally in environmental, economic or social sustainability, a poster and tabling reception kicks off each year’s event, showcasing campus and community dedication to and engagement in sustainability, as well as offering opportunities for dialogue and connections.

The annual celebration is the signature event for The Green Umbrella, a network of student organizations that pursue and promote sustainability initiatives at ISU.

Coffee and Conversations
Embracing a sustainable future requires conversations about things that matter. Coffee and Conversations offers students, faculty, and staff the opportunity for open-house style coffee conversations that offer the chance to have informal discussions, ask questions and share perspectives on topics including: renewable energy and energy conservation, wellness and wellbeing, waste management and zero waste, making campus and community connections and giving back and planning for and envisioning our next decade of living green at Iowa State University.

One Sustainable Iowa Student Sustainability Conference
Brought together students from colleges across Iowa for the first-ever Iowa Student conference on sustainability.

National Campus Sustainability Day
National Campus Sustainability Day (NCSD) offers students easy and simple ways to live sustainably. The event brings together clubs, organizations and businesses that support sustainable goals, practices and events, in turn encouraging participants to become more involved with sustainability on campus and in the Ames community.

Local Food Festival
In order to expose Iowa State students to the wonderful benefits of locally grown foods, a variety of sponsors hosted an event to help students make a connection between foods they consume and where the food is grown. The event featured educational displays, food samples, recipes using local foods developed by Iowa State dining chefs and locally grown and produced products for sale by vendors and ISU clubs.

Earth Day
Earth Day features interactive displays from sustainability-focused student, campus and community organizations and businesses, as well as free bike tune-ups, refreshments and the opportunity to take part in the Live Green! Earth Day Challenge to earn unique and sustainable prizes.

The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):

Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

GET is a mixed media installation project put together by Bilawal Khoso which compiles the stories of individuals who do not make up a majority of the population, specifically including American Muslims, African Americans, the LGBTQA+ community, as well as international students from countries affected by travel restrictions. GET aims to negate the stereotypes and encourage people to eliminate social constructs and preconceived notions by experiencing conversations through interactions with a physical project through stories about their lives, struggles, and both personal and professional triumphs.

UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage
UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage is an exhibition put together by writer and former Iraqi refugee Ahmed Badr and nationally acclaimed artist and Iowa State alumnus Mohamad Hafez. The exhibition features mixed media with audio clips from the refugees along with replicas of homes the refugees left behind in suitcases. The suitcases and audio are also accompanied by written panels that further describe the refugee's experiences in leaving their home countries and coming to the United States.

Day Without Art
At Iowa State, Day Without Art was held on the Wednesday before the actual day in order to get more traffic through the event. The sculpture “Shoulders of Giants,” the clay horses sculpted by Nina Ward on the first floor of Parks Library, was covered with a black cloth as part of the event. Red ribbons, symbolizing the solidarity of people living with HIV/AIDS, were handed out to passers-by.

ReACT Gallery Pop-Up Events
The ReACT Gallery at the Christian Peterson Museum in Morrill Hall has held several pop-up events in response to traumatic public events in order to allow campus patrons the means to process their emotions through art.

International Food Fest
Fundraising event with cultural meals, snacks, desserts, drinks, art exhibits, and performances from over 11 different countries. Presented by the representatives of international student organizations.

Global Gala
Global Gala is an annual celebration of the Iowa State University campus and Ames community. Through food, music, dancing, and a fashion show, a variety of student organizations promote their culture and heritage

ISU Diversity Resources Fair
The Iowa State University Resources Fair is an annual event that gives students an opportunity to explore services and leadership opportunities offered by various student organizations, university departments, and community groups. The fair encourages an increase in knowledge regarding services offered by the University while fostering an environment of inclusion and belonging.

Green Dot @ reACT Gallery
Green Dot is the pairing of the ReACT Gallery’s mission to “express and explore reactions, opinions, and perspectives of national current event issues that are relevant to the ISU community…in the form of an exhibition of fine visual arts and engagement opportunities that foster social relevance” and Green Dot, a program at Iowa State whose mission “…aims to decrease power-based personal violence on campus by utilizing education, outreach, and development as mechanisms for increasing awareness and competency around bystander intervention skills.” Various prints, sculpture, paintings, and photographs personify the union of ReACT and Green Dot and invite visitors to wrestle with the three divisions within the gallery meant to represent Red Dots, Barriers, and Green Dots. Additionally, Green Dot features weekly challenges to keep visitors engaged and involved throughout the exhibition’s entirety.

The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):

Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

Outdoor Recreation
Iowa State Outdoor Recreation Services offers several workshops, weekend trips, and extended trips to students and employees of all skill levels. Workshops include topics such as rock climbing, bicycle maintenance, wilderness first response, and a free-of-charge Leave No Trace workshop. Trips may also feature a sustainability component, including civics engagement during a walking tour of the Iowa State Capitol, planned cultural immersion activities for various overseas trips, and abiding by the Leave No Trace principles during all sponsored outdoor activities.

The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

2018 marked the tenth year of the LiveGreen! Initiative at Iowa State. To commemorate this event, the LiveGreen Team planned a series of monthly sustainability-themed on-campus events, lectures, and initiatives. These themed months were supported by a social media campaign which included daily posts featuring various events, activities, recipes, practices, research, and news featuring the monthly topic. Each month's theme was also further highlighted by the monthly newsletter and blog posts.

August: Moving Green - Yoga on the Lawn Event
September: Dining Green - Dining Green Event, Local Food Festival
October: Learning Green - Economic Sustainability Lecture with Mike Draper
November: Shopping Green - SustAmes
December: Creating Green - Sustainable Gift Wrapping
January: Giving Green - Food and Clothing Drive
February: Embracing Green - Coffee and Conversations Event; 10-Year Symposium on Sustainability
March: Exploring Green - One Sustainable Iowa Conference; Learning Green Environmental Sustainability Lecture with Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
April: Celebrating Green - Earth Day Celebration/Ten Year Grand Finale

The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

GreenHouse Group
Established in 2009, The GreenHouse Group is involved in educating students living in university housing about recycling and sustainability, involving residents in sustainability activities and events, and serving as the student voice to the ISU Department of Residence regarding sustainability issues.

Student Loan Education Office
The Student Loan Education Office offers a number of workshops through the year for students to learn the ins and outs of paying for their college tuition. Budgeting, informational presentations regarding private and federal student loans, and developing strong credit are a few of the topics touched upon. http://www.loaneducation.iastate.edu/

Biofeedback Center
At the Student Counseling Services Biofeedback Center, students can see, hear, and become more aware of their body’s stress response and learn to turn on the relaxation response. Through Biofeedback, students can reduce chronic stress and anxiety, improve general well-being, increase emotional regulation, and develop better coping responses. http://www.counseling.iastate.edu/biofeedback-services

The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

Live Green! Internships and Assistantships
Each year, the Live Green! initiative within the Office of Sustainability offers undergraduate interns and graduate assistants each academic year.

Within each of the residence halls, there are students who are responsible for overseeing the ‘green’ efforts within the halls.

The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):

Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

Community and Economic Development
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development (CED) program empowers communities to shape their own futures through research, education, community engagement, economic development, community planning and design. This program serves as an essential conduit between Iowa’s communities and the resources of Iowa State University through synergistic partnerships with private and public sectors for the betterment of Iowans.

Included within Community and Economic Development's programs and services are:

University Community Design Lab
The Community Design Lab (CDL) works with community leaders, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies throughout the state of Iowa, using design knowledge and research expertise to help shape vibrant and empowered communities. The team works across scales, connecting regional issues to local solutions and finding synergy between urban and rural issues.

Community Food Systems
The Community Food Systems program provides three different areas of practice: technical assistance, research, and certifications. The program began as a multi-phased, multi-year process that works in partnership with communities to develop and design their local and regional food systems.

PLACE (Partnering Learning And Community Engagement) aims to enhance and promote the quality and character of Iowa's communities. The College of Design engages with communities in collaborative efforts to understand, envision and promote a fundamental enhancement of their physical environment.

Community Visioning
The Community Visioning Program integrates landscape planning and design with sustainable action to empower community leaders and volunteers in making sound, meaningful decisions about the local landscape.

The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):

Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.