ISU Students Working Towards a Sustainable Future

This last February, Iowa State University had it’s third annual symposium on sustainability. I attended the student brainstorming session and got to see former ISU GSB vice president Chandra Peterson in action.  Her energy and enthusiasm give me hope for the future!

A wonderfully diverse group of students came up with ideas for improving energy usage on campus, educating students and promoting sustainable student lifestyles, reuse of design materials by students, and continuing and improving our food system initiatives of large scale composting and use of locally grown foods.

Chandra Peterson in the middle, leading the student sustainability brainstorming session
ISU students planning a skit to illustrate sustainable practices
Over 60 students attended the sustainability brainstorming session

I never cease to be amazed by the rich diversity found at this university in the middle of the American corn belt.  We have a large population of students from China, India, Pakistan and Latin America.  How do they wind up in Iowa, a state many US east-coasters can’t even accurately locate?! When I asked an administrator about this once, he replied that word of mouth gets many students here.  We have a good university and Ames is a nice sized city of around 50,000.  For ISU, these students will bring many of the ideas and world views that we need to create a sustainable future. It is also impressive that our African-American population seems to be growing at ISU.   One book I am reading now speaks of the overdeveloped countries, like the U.S.  Is it possible to go from overdeveloped, excessive energy use, over-consumption, new technology at any cost, and massive amounts of waste to something more sustainable?  It will be to our advantage to have a diverse group of brainstormers in the conversation.

Networking and the Big World Out There

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On January 31st, I attended the ISU Study Abroad Fair. (check out the Study Abroad web page) http://www.studyabroad.iastate.edu/

One of my goals for 2008 is to expand my horizons and do some major networking. I like to meet new people and connect people with each other. It’s something I am good at and I want to do more of it! Above is Shelley Taylor, Director of the Agriculture Study Abroad program at ISU. She is an old friend from Slow Food Ames and one of those wonderful ISU women it is a joy to know. She married an Iowa farmer AND she travels widely AND she has small children. She’s a renaissance lady in my book! Here she is on the Ag Study Abroad page http://www.agstudyabroad.iastate.edu/about_us.htm

While at the fair I looked for opportunities that might bring me closer to my son who is now living in Poland. I also did some reminiscing about my dreams for the Peace Corps back in 1977 when I graduated from Purdue in agronomy.

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