Are you interested in learning more about sustainable and green efforts on campus? If so you should check out the Iowa State Student Organization, The Green Umbrella at the Live Green! tent at VEISHEA Village this Saturday located near the Jischke Honors Building. The Green Umbrella (TGU) is a student led organization who seeks to bring together different student sustainability and green-oriented groups under the “umbrella” of sustainability; hint “The Green Umbrella”. Some of these organizations include ActivUs, Engineers for a Sustainable World, Team PrISUm, The Student Organic Farm (SOF), Leaders for a Sustainable Community, Closets Collide, The Greenhouse Group, Engineers Without Borders, The SHOP (student food pantry), Greeks Go Green, EnactUs, The Sustainable Agriculture Student Association (SASA), ISU BioBus, and the Lorax Troop, among others.
TGU is dedicated to promoting awareness of sustainable efforts practiced both on campus and in the Ames community. In the TGU mission statement, they explain how the group functions to promote these efforts. For example, they facilitate open forums for discussion about the green initiatives on campus, they act as a mediator between administration and students who are concerned with sustainability issues, and they help teach students about how to live more sustainable lives, how to participate in green efforts, and helps them voice opinions on issues surrounding campus sustainability.
The Green Umbrella is taking part in VEISHEA Village for the second year in a row. VEISHEA Village and Main Street Village (featuring local businesses) will be set up this Saturday from 9AM until 5PM on Central Campus. The Live Green! Tent is for people of all ages, so alumni, students, and community members can all be involved and empowered to live a greener lifestyle. The Green Umbrella in conjunction with the Office of Sustainability, are hosting several student sustainability groups who will each have their own booths and tables set up with interactive presentations, activities, and prizes. Groups taking part this Saturday include The Shop, EnactUs, ActivUs, Student Organic Farms, Sustainable Agriculture Student Association, Design Across Boundaries, Ducks Unlimited, NECA Green Energy Challenge, and Leaders for a Sustainable Community. This year TGU will be giving away “Live Green” buttons, reusable neoprene water bottles, and postcards with seeds embedded inside for planting. You will find plenty of fabricated decorations at the village such as wind chimes made from recycled materials and repurposed bicycle parts donated from Skunk River Cycles, a local business in Ames. There will also be recycling bins located in the tent for your use. This is a great opportunity to learn more about missions of these organizations and to sign up as a new member, if you are interested in getting involved.
Sustainapalooza is The Green Umbrella’s annual spring event and acts as the official kickoff for Iowa State’s Symposium on Sustainability, which is held each February sponsored by the ISU Council on Sustainability. Sustainapalooza is an event intended to engage and empower students and staff in sustainability. This year’s Sustainapalooza event included empowerment stations on urban gardening, making your own green cleaning supplies, how to avoid falsely labeled green products, how to understand health information on food labels, and hosted a clothing swap in collaboration with Closets Collide. One way TGU markets this event in the weeks leading to the Sustainapalooza is by catching people “green handed” (in the act of doing something sustainable around campus) and recognizes them for practicing sustainability by taking a picture with them and inviting them to walk down The Live Green! Carpet (made from recycled Astroturf from the Bergstrom practice field.) and find their picture featured on the Wall of Cardinal, Gold, and Green at the event. This wall is also a place where attendees can write down what they already do to live sustainably and then make pledges about what they will do to live green throughout the year. The Green Umbrella’s 2013 Sustainapalooza event was recently awarded the Outstanding Event of the Year at the VEISHEA opening ceremony on April 16th, 2013. “This award is a result of all the hard work and determination that TGU puts into its events. Our success is directly attributed to our amazing members that volunteer their time and effort day in and day out. Each year our organization continues to grow in numbers and awareness which is extremely inspiring.” noted Dylan Gaudineer, Co-President of The Green Umbrella.
TGU also participates in National Campus Sustainability Day, which is a national celebration that promotes awareness for sustainability on college campuses. All green-oriented student groups and local businesses with green elements are invited to take part–it is designed like a mini-Club Fest for green oriented groups as well as serving as an opportunity for businesses to advertise to students what makes them sustainable. They also held a plastic bag recycling drive (which donated hundreds of bags to Plastics Recycling of Iowa Falls to make recycled plastic benches). This event will be held again next October in front of Parks Library.
The Green Umbrella has had a lot of positive impact on the ISU campus and Ames community. They have truly connected the campus and the community by bringing people together and teaching them about how to live more sustainable lives. If you are interested in joining or learning more about The Green Umbrella, you can contact the club’s presidents, Alexandra Gustafson (email@example.com) or Dylan Gaudineer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or feel free to attend bi-weekly club meetings held every other Monday at 8pm in the multicultural room in the Memorial Union.