Water guru, business, colleagues and students highlight sustainability symposium

The national reporter who literally wrote the book on water; leaders from sustainability-conscious Iowa-based companies; and students, faculty and staff involved in all kinds of green research and activities will tell their stories during the Feb. 25-26 Symposium on Sustainability.

"At the symposium, we'll see what our colleagues and students are doing to make this university more sustainable," said Merry Rankin, director of sustainability. "And we'll come away with some ideas on how we can continue to build a greener Iowa State."

Logo: Working toward sustainability

The university community is invited to attend all or part of the symposium, Monday evening (5-9 p.m.) and Tuesday (8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.). All events are free, but participants are asked to complete an online registration form by 5 p.m. Feb. 22 to help planners provide adequate event materials and refreshments.

Following are some symposium highlights. All events are in the Memorial Union. More details and a full schedule are available on the symposium website.

The future of water

Feb. 25, 8 p.m., Great Hall

Charles Fishman knows a lot about water. In his book, "The Big Thirst," he points out that our tap water is 4 billion years old, that "molecular water" is fused into rock hundreds of miles inside earth and that the golden age of free, safe water is over. Still, he concludes that if we're smart, we needn't have a global water crisis. The former Washington Post reporter will kick off the symposium with a talk on "The Future of Water."

How to be fashionably, nutritionally, pristinely sustainable

Feb. 25, 5:15-7 p.m., Sun Room

At four stations, campus and community experts will offer sustainable tips for everyday living. The experts will discuss:

-- urban gardening, sometimes known as container gardening

-- slow fashion, which calls for skipping short-lived fads for classic, long-lasting clothes

-- reading food labels, which helps you make food choices that sustain your body

-- green cleaning, which can range from making your own supplies to buying more sustainable products

Post your green deeds, get a prize

Feb. 25, 5:15-7 p.m., Sun Room

Those who write and post their "Live Green!" contributions and commitments on a special wall will receive a sustainable gift in return.

Poster sessions

Feb. 25, 5:15-8 p.m. and Feb. 26, 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., South Ballroom

Faculty, staff and students will show their sustainability initiatives and research projects in poster presentations. The deadline for submitting a poster idea is Feb. 15.

Corporate leaders commit

Feb. 26, 8:30-9:30 a.m., Great Hall

Leaders from four Iowa-based companies -- Kum and Go, Becker Underwood, Hy-Vee and WebFilings -- will discuss their corporate commitment to sustainability.

Energy innovations start here

Feb. 26, 10-11 a.m., Great Hall

Robert Brown, Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering and director of the Bioeconomy Institute and Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies, will discuss Iowa's cutting-edge research in sustainable energy innovations. Jeff Witt, director of utilities services in facilities planning and management, will give an update on green projects around campus. Grad student David Correll will discuss the ISU BioBus project, in which students turn used vegetable oil into biofuel that helps power a CyRide bus.

Classroom, lab experiences

Feb. 26, 11 a.m.-noon, Great Hall

ISU instructors will talk about sustainability experiences under way for students. On the panel are Cinzia Cervato, professor, geological and atmospheric sciences; Arne Hallam, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of economics; Tom Neppl, lecturer in landscape architecture; and Mary Harris, assistant professor in natural resource ecology and management.

Awards program

Feb. 26, noon-12:30 p.m., Great Hall

Live Green Awards for Excellence in Sustainability will be awarded to individuals and groups who have made an impact on campus sustainability efforts. Nomination forms and supporting materials are due by 5 p.m. Feb. 12.