Live Green! Award for Excellence in Sustainability

The Live Green! Excellence Awards recognize Iowa State University students, faculty and staff who make an impact on campus sustainability efforts by generating awareness and interest through initiatives that focus on teaching, research, outreach and/or operations. These awards celebrate efforts across all aspects of the university, whether student, faculty, staff, individual or team efforts. Winning projects are awarded based on proof of excellence in sustainability efforts and are not limited by category. Nominations are evaluated within six areas:

  1. Cultural Impact
  2. Impact on Natural Resources
  3. Economic Impact
  4. Transferability
  5. Legacy to the Live Green! Initiative
  6. Overall Award Merit

Nominations are evaluated collectively by a panel of external reviewers. Winners are determined based on overall points awarded. Awards are presented annually during the Symposium on Sustainability and reflect contributions and accomplishments from the previous calendar year.

2020 Winners

Three winners of the 2019 Live Green! Award for Excellence in Sustainability were announced during the 2020 Symposium on Sustainability, February 24, 2020. Nominees are evaluated within six areas:  environmental, economic and cultural impact, transferability, a legacy to the Live Green! Initiative and sustainability, and overall award merit.  To be eligible for recognition, nominees must have demonstrated evidence of impact during the 2019 calendar year. All awards were presented in frames made of a Bur Oak tree, that once stood on the Veenker Memorial Golf Course, sheltering the first tee.  This tree was part of a group of oaks known as the “Three Sisters”. Through the university’s TreeCYcle program, that tree now honors the three award winners.    

Facilities Planning and Management

Facilities Planning and Management Planning Services, through a request from campus departments and President Wintersteen to incorporate pollinator-friendly habitat on campus, went above and beyond to complete three distinct campus pollinator gardens that are not only visually appealing and attractive but also include specific and diverse grass and forb species to ensure the greatest number of pollinators are served at each individual site.

As well as supporting a variety of native pollinators, the gardens assist in slowing and utilizing stormwater runoff, reducing maintenance needs by 50% (and also virtually eliminating fossil-fueled maintenance) and offering unique immersive educational experiences for ISU students, as well as all campus visitors. 

ISU Dining

The Give a Swipe program, kicked off in 2019, offering students the opportunity to donate Dining Dollars or Flex Meals, or a combination of both, from their own meal plans, to be converted to meal swipes and passed to other students. During the kick-off 2019 donation period, 176 meals were donated. Recently this number nearly doubled with 335 meals donated for the 2020 donation period. 

As well as facilitating the Give a Swipe Program, ISU Dining works alongside a variety of departments and organizations throughout campus, as a member of the campus Food Security Work Group, with focus on continually seeking out and identifying additional opportunities to combat student food insecurity

ISU Transportation Services and ISU Parking

In 2019, ISU Transportation Services and ISU Parking joined together to install electric vehicle charging stations and address parking customer requests for having a place to charge their electric vehicles on campus. As well as offering unique transportation service to students, faculty, staff, and campus guests, Transportation Services also used this opportunity to add electric cars to the daily rental motor pool and “green” ISU’s fleet through lowering the University’s carbon footprint (reducing CO2 emissions by nearly a ton in the first six months) and increasing the fleet’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards.

In addition to on-campus impacts, these efforts have actively engaged transferability for off-campus opportunities. Entities including the Iowa Department of Transportation and the State of Michigan have made contact and visited campus toward their own consideration and investigation of incorporating electric transportation services to their programs.

The Story of the Award Frames 

Oak tree leaves and acorns.


The frames given to our award winners have a special significance and unique connection to the Live Green! Initiative. The award frames are crafted from a Burr Oak tree that once stood in Ames on Veenker Memorial Golf Course, sheltering the first tee. This tree was part of a group of oaks known as the “Three Sisters,” and through ISU’s TreeCYcle program it has been given new life via these award frames. This is especially significant given that the Burr Oak is also the state of Iowa’s official tree. The frames’ designer and builder is Peter Brue, an alumnus and staff member here at Iowa State.

Previous Award Winners