A Visionary Journey of Sustainability for Iowa State University

Our Vision

In recognition of our influence on educating and shaping life-long Aerial view of Iowa State University's Central Campus.behaviors, decisions and actions of its future leaders and its civic responsibility at a public institution, we envision Iowa State University as a national leader in developing and embodying sustainable practices that integrate excellence in education with institutional accountability for our natural, economic and human resources.

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Our Commitment

Iowa State University is committed to protecting and enhancing all aspects of our university community. Through teaching, research, outreach, service, administration and facilities planning and management operations, we will engage in short-term actions and long-term goals in planning and decision-making to sustain ecological systems, educate campus citizens, promote local action, support sustainable business practices, as well as encourage global thinking.

The university will create, share and apply knowledge that incorporates sustainability concepts throughout the curriculum and research, promotes sustainability literacy among students, faculty and staff, as well as ensures that campus facilities, policies, planning and management are efficient and environmentally appropriate.

The university is mindful and respectful of the delicate and vital balance that must be pursued and maintained between economics and stewardship during this journey.


Our Areas of Focus


The university strategizes to go beyond compliance with environmental laws and regulations by integrating values of sustainability, stewardship and resource conservation into activities and services. Iowa State University develops and promotes practices that maximize beneficial effects and minimize harmful impacts of operations, research and activities on the global and nearby environment. Additionally, the university maximizes the efficiencies of its operations and services while minimizing its wastes and footprint.


Iowa State incorporates value assessment of the impact of its construction and development projects and the use of sustainable building, design and management methods as they affect the needs of future generations of the university community and its greater Ames setting.


The university strives for excellence in sustainability education and research by integrating sustainability concepts into curricula; supporting interdisciplinary scholarship, research and faculty hires; and increasing faculty and student awareness of sustainability issues. Iowa State aims to produce scholars who are literate in sustainability, research that illuminates and advances sustainability, as well as graduates who will carry the mission of sustainability into the state, the nation and the world.


Iowa State endeavors to catalyze productive relationships and wide-ranging participation among students, faculty, staff and professionals to create new ideas and solutions to current and future sustainability challenges; to foster linkages among and within campus departments, both operational and academic; to promote awareness of sustainability goals; and to foster sustainability literacy among the entire campus community. Iowa State nurtures partnerships between ISU students, faculty and staff and Iowa communities to provide research-based learning opportunities that create a sustainable quality of life in Iowa.


The university identifies dynamic sustainability goals that inform administrative policies and procedures in the areas of planning, decision-making, assessment, reporting and alignment. These policies and procedures rely on scientific and technical analysis and support efforts to develop objectives and targets for operations, indicators and measures to assure accountability, as well as reports on progress, with the overall goal of integrating knowledge of sustainability with actions to promote it.


Iowa State supports and cultivates a proactive and engaged student body involved in opportunities and experiences in sustainable living, education and professional development and experience through events, initiatives, curriculum, research, strategic planning and decision-making. Empowerment gained through engagement in sustainability transfers to stewardship actions and goals far beyond the campus community.


The university will partner with Iowans to integrate environmental and sustainable measures into community economies and entrepreneurial endeavors. Refer to our Envisioning Excellence in Sustainability at Iowa State University document for specific information on targeted achievement areas, practices and behaviors, as well as short- and long-term goals that further define our sustainable journey.