Iowa State Hosts Regents’ Schools for Residence and Dining Sustainability Summit

AMES, Iowa—One of the best ways to find out information is to ask your colleagues. The sustainability committee for Iowa State University’s Department of Residence was talking through ideas and projects last summer. In the conversation, a theme began to develop.

“We thought it would be valuable to learn what our residence and dining colleagues at the University of Iowa and UNI were doing regarding sustainability programs, projects, education and how they engage students and staff in sustainability initiatives,” said Mary Beth Golemo, Community Manager of ISU’s Frederiksen Court Apartments. “That’s when the idea of a sustainability summit emerged.”

A group of nearly 40 staff members, including the residence and dining directors, from all three Regents’ universities convened at Iowa State on Jan. 22 for the first-ever residence and dining Sustainability Summit.

The day began with a keynote presentation by Steve Shupp from Alliant Energy. Shupp offered energy-saving tips and information about how Alliant can help all three universities reach their sustainability goals.

Participants then broke off into groups centered on facilities, residence life and dining topics. Roundtable discussions in each group brought up topics such as common challenges, new programs, the best products and other sustainability-focused initiatives.

“I learned more about what UI and ISU are doing to seek greater sustainability,” said Gale Carlson, Purchasing Coordinator with UNI Dining. “It was helpful to discuss best practices as this opportunity provided us with ideas for expansion or initiation of concepts and efforts on our campus.”
In the afternoon, the group was brought back together to share what they had discussed.

“Coming from a Residence Life background, it was refreshing to be at a conference with facilities and dining professionals to learn about our different perspectives on a common goal. I left the summit energized and enlightened on ways to help make our operations more sustainable,” said Ben Black, Mayflower Hall Coordinator at the University of Iowa. “Iowa State was incredibly generous to provide us with a day of networking and collaboration across many managerial levels in an open-dialogue environment.”