Outdoor Spaces

Since its founding in 1858, Iowa State has built and maintained a vast array of outdoor spaces enjoyed by generations of students, faculty, staff and visitors. These campus greenery areas serve as beautiful and safe gathering spots for patrons, as well as provide unique hands-on learning opportunities that directly honor our mission as the nation's first land-grant university. However, due to various factors, such as increasing student enrollment and the rise of wireless technologies, more Cyclones than ever before are using outdoor spaces as multi-purpose classrooms, offices and recreational areas, in turn increasing the everyday burden carried by our campus environment.

To address these modern challenges, Campus Services adopts numerous sustainable strategies in its duties related to design, construction, landscaping, plant care, sidewalk maintenance and pedestrian/bicycle safety, among others. In developing these solutions, Campus Services collaborates with other partners within Facilities Planning & Management (FP&M), as well as with students themselves. Other green initiatives include buying local plants from nurseries located within 250 miles of Ames, building bioswales that use water-loving plants to prevent soil run-off from entering waterways, as well as participating with students in annual tree plantings on Earth Day and Arbor Day. Additionally, downed and damaged trees are repurposed into furniture and art via the on-campus TreeCYcle program, as well as into mulch that meets 95% of Iowa State's needs.

Campus Services is always looks for feedback and innovative input from its customers. For example, the department is currently working on a pilot project with Student Government to install solar-powered recharge stations on outdoor tables. To provide input and ideas for Iowa State's outdoor spaces, contact Cathy Brown, Assistant Director for Campus Services, at csbrown@iastate.edu.


"We were given a gift. This campus was intentionally designed with the organic flow of trees and evergreens, with long views and short views and controlled views of architecture, and there's hardly a building you can walk around without seeing some sort of green space. So there's some thematic things that were there since the very beginning, which have subsequently allowed the rest of us to to study, understand and build on those concepts."

-Cathy Brown, Assistant Director for Campus Physical Planning