sustainapalooza 2020

Students attend the 2020 Sustainapalooza event.

Part of their larger Symposium of Sustainability, the annual Sustainapalooza hosted by Iowa State’s Office of Sustainability will be Wednesday night.

Merry Rankin, director of sustainability; Amanda Ortiz-Pellot, co-president of The Green Umbrella student organization; and Caitlin Tipping, student intern with the Office of Sustainability, discussed resources for students who want to get involved with sustainability efforts around campus.

“There’ll be a tabling opportunity for student organizations and also some community organizations that are related to sustainability,” Tipping said. “So that gives them the chance to network and maybe recruit new students to their club or help educate our students and faculty that attend the event.” 

Speaking on the networking aspects of Sustainapalooza, Tipping also mentioned happenings in the planned event to show students ways they can think about sustainability.

“We have our greening wall this year, which is usually like a pledge wall sort of deal we're doing virtually in the form of a word cloud,” Tipping said. “There’ll be a prompt, and then attendees can submit a word that helps respond to the prompt. Then, that'll be projected on a word cloud that will change as more responses get added to it.”

Also featured at Sustainapalooza are "Green it Yourself" centers that will give out kits of green projects you can do at home. One such kit will be for making beeswax wraps that will serve as replacements for plastic wraps.

Capping it all off will be a digital bingo/scavenger hunt for the activities at Sustainapalooza, which will serve as a tool to encourage attendees to check out all the event has to offer.

With a higher present necessity of single-use sanitary items, Ortiz-Pellot gave some advice on what students can do right now to limit their waste during the pandemic.

“Not eating out as much because if you eat out, that means they're gonna give you probably the plates, plastic cutlery and plastic cups,” Ortiz-Pellot said. “Also, buying local foods or buying from local stores not only does that, local stores tend to be more sustainable than big companies, but also you're helping the local economy and those businesses that have been affected by the pandemic.”

Iowa State’s Office of Sustainability also has resources that direct students to sustainable education. From classes with sustainable topics to student organizations, there are a slew of resources available to students who want to get involved.

While programs are there, the success of them are based on students getting out there and participating in sustainable efforts. Rankin cites students as being the most focused effort in the Office of Sustainability’s plans. 

“Making a list of what you do on a day-to-day basis and what resources you know that you need in order to do them,” Rankin said. “You need your lights, you need water, you need fuel through your car, those sorts of things, and then ask yourself: How can I reduce my impact by even a very small amount?”

In getting students to think about their effect on the environment, Rankin wants students to pull attention to what they are doing each day and try and make a difference, no matter how small.

Sustainapalooza will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

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