What is the Live Green! Initiative? 

Live Green! is Iowa State University's campus-wide sustainability initiative encouraging all students, faculty and staff to be fully committed to and engaged in making our campus, its operations and initiatives as green as possible.

The Live Green! Initiative began in 2008, and offered two challenges:

  • To be a leader in sustainability among land grant institutions, and
  • To recognize that the involvement and dedication of every member of the Iowa State University community is critical to achieving this goal.


How We Define Sustainability

Sustainability presumes the planet's resources should be used conservatively, wisely and equitably – toward ensuring “…meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs.” Brundtland Commission, 1987

The Iowa Board of Regents references sustainability guidance and vision in the preamble of the annual Campus Sustainability Report, and therefore, guides all three regent institutions:

“Iowa’s public universities are committed to a sustainable future through academics and research, operations and economic development. Respect for the impact on the environment is part of decision-making at all levels. Regent institutions broadly apply campus sustainability in the general operations of each institution, in curriculum and in experiences of students and employees. Sustainability is also utilized effectively when partnering with industry leaders, joining with all levels of government and transferring technology within the institutions.”


The Three-Legged Stool of Sustainability

To meet the needs of the present while not compromising the needs of the future, we can further define sustainability as a Three-Legged Stool -- each leg is home to a different component. The first leg, environmental sustainability, ensures ecological integrity. The second leg, economic sustainability, ensures economic vitality. Finally, the third leg, social sustainability, ensures social welfare. 

To stay upright on the stool, we must have all three legs securely in place -- simply having one or two solidly in place will not suffice. Sustainability requires the full and simultaneous integration of all three components to create a truly sustainable world.


Sustainability Infrastructure

The Live Green! Initiative is supported by an extensive and committed infrastructure of university committees, teams and organizations.