7 Ways to Be More Sustainable at Iowa State

Sustainability is a hot topic these days, and an important one at that. Iowa State takes many initiatives to be a greener campus as well.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be difficult to be more sustainable. There are many ways to get started and make small changes in your daily life to be more sustainable, especially here at Iowa State! I’ve gathered seven different ways here:

Carry around a reusable water bottle. I personally always carry mine around, and I use a Camelbak because the built-in straw helps me drink more water! There are tons of water fountains and water bottle refilling stations around campus, and you can always find at least one in each building. Plus, it’s good to stay hydrated!

Reduce your car usage by taking the CyRide bus, riding your bike and/or walking! The CyRide is free for all ISU students, and I personally think it’s a great way to meet new people or catch up on your favorite podcasts. It will help you save money, minimize your use of gas, and CyRide makes sustainability efforts as well anyway. It might take a bit more time to get from place to place and you’ll have to walk a bit more, but I think that walking and spending time outdoors is really important for your health anyway and I always look forward to it. I personally always walk anywhere that takes less than 30 minutes unless it is over 90 degrees. (I don’t really like to work out… haha… so this is how I try to exercise).

Dedicate at least one day a week to eat a vegetarian diet. Many studies have shown the long-term harmful effects of consuming a lot of meat, both to your own health and to the planet. You can always pack a meat-free lunch, and ISU Dining always has plenty of vegetarian and vegan options that are delicious. I’m not saying that you have to give up meat completely if you can’t, but every effort counts! As a vegetarian myself, I have found that I have so much more energy after switching to a plant-based diet. 

Stop using the dryer when you do your laundry. I actually got a clothes hanging rack from my mom, and I hang all my wet clothes to dry when they come out of the washer. The dryer machine uses a lot of energy, and it actually can damage your clothes and make them wear out faster. Make your clothes last longer and save energy by hanging them to dry. It is also great in the winter time because it’s like a free humidifier! 

Support locally owned businesses. Big businesses and corporations often contribute more to waste and environmental damage, especially when it comes to food. Ames has a ton of cool little shops where you can buy food and gifts that are sourced locally. Check out this list of businesses in downtown Ames, and consider out Wheatsfield Co-op for locally grown food!

Be vocal. Have open conversations and discussions about sustainability with your friends and family. Use your social media accounts to talk about the environment and the steps you’re taking to make a difference. A lot of people are willing to take action if they know more about it or know someone who cares. 

Get involved at Iowa State! There are many different clubs and organizations here for people who want to take action and get involved. If you’re interested, here is a list of environmental/sustainability-focused student organizations here at Iowa State. You can also take an environmental science class or a class that teaches about sustainability. Click here for a list of those classes. 

The smallest actions can add up to a big difference! How will you get involved or make changes to your daily life?

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