Dining, Residence, and FP&M Receive Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award

AMES, Iowa—The sustainability efforts of three Iowa State University departments were rewarded with the state’s highest award for environmental excellence on Monday, June 28 at the Honey Creek Resort State Park. ISU Dining, the Department of Residence, and Facilities Planning and Management were jointly awarded the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award with a special recognition in Water Quality at the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition's Governor's Conference on Environmental Education.

Presented by Gov. Chet Culver, the award is the premier environmental honor in Iowa, recognizing leadership and innovation in the protection of Iowa's natural resources. The ISU departments’ combined efforts have led to a more eco-friendly campus with trayless dining centers, recycling programs throughout the residence halls, and multiple composting initiatives.

The impact of trayless dining has been noticed by both the university and its students, who last year voted to make all dining centers on campus trayless, an initiative that saved the university more than $800 per month during the past school year.

“We implemented trayless dining in one facility last year and discovered that waste was reduced by 50% for each person utilizing that dining center,” Levandowski said.

Students have also been involved in sustainability initiatives with the Department of Residence. Working closely with the GreenHouse Group, a collection of students who work on sustainability initiatives, the Department of Residence introduced a new recycling program that diverted 36 tons of recyclable material.

“For a first-year program of this magnitude, it could not have gone better, primarily due to the student leadership from the GreenHouse Group who created recycling chair positions for each house and community and partnered with our Department of Residence staff to educate residents on the program,” said Pete Englin, Director of Residence.

ISU Director of Sustainability Merry Rankin believes the award represents ISU’s commitment to serving both its students and the Ames community.

"At its heart and soul, sustainability is a thoughtful way of living and doing business,” said Rankin. "If we have less waste, we can put more money into different resources that can create a rich, diverse and full experience for students and community members.”