641-472-7000 ext. 2291
641-472-7000 ext. 3306
641-472-7000 ext. 2139
Student Led Projects
The Sustainable Living
Department is lead by the students. Almost every project within the
department is spearheaded by our amazing students in one form or
another. Our program strives to offer every opportunity for students to
get involved with projects, and eventually lead projects themselves, all
while gaining credit towards graduation. Below are just a few of the
most recent accomplishments and projects students have achieved within
the Sustainable Living Department:
Students Install Renewable Energy in Remote Alaskan Village
– Several current and former students, and Sustainable Living faculty
member Lonnie Gamble spent a month in a small village on Admiralty
Island in Alaska installing sustainable energy technology as part of a
project to help indigenous Alaskans deal with the crushing energy costs.
Students Design and Build Industrial Can Crusher –
Their goal was to make a can crusher that would work without
electricity. The result: a human-powered press that flattens a can in
eight seconds. Total cost? About $500.
Permaculture Students Plant Edible Forest on Campus
– It’s intended to be a display of self-sustainability based on
contemporary permaculture principles — the design of productive habitats
for people that have the stability, diversity, and resilience of
Students Build Low-Cost Solar Tube – Students built a solar tube — a project initiated during a course in high-performance green building.
Students Help Build Greenhouse – Sustainable Living
students enrolled on the University’s track in sustainable agriculture
participated in the construction of a 35-by-96-foot greenhouse, a
“barn-raising” event organized by the nonprofit organization Practical
Farmers of Iowa.
Students Learn Beekeeping, Build Bee Hives – In a
first-of-its-kind course at MUM on natural beekeeping, students learned
the foundations of biodynamic beekeeping from a visiting top expert,
Gunther Hauk of Spikenard Farm in Illinois.
Student Projects: “Living Machine,” Wood-Fired Oven
– Sustainable Living students created a range of Earth-friendly
projects, including a “living machine,” a brick oven capable of making
20-30 loaves of bread at a time, a solar collector, a website that
monitors the energy performance of their classrooms, and a solar hot
Student-Built Wind Generator Provides Power to Classroom
– A wind generator built by students capable of producing up to 2,000
watts of power is helping to provide power to the Sustainable Living
Students Have Big Plans for Biodiesel Processor –
Students in the Sustainable Living Program completed construction of a
biodiesel processor capable of producing up to 500 gallons of fuel a day
and are now hoping to use the fuel it makes to power University
vehicles and to eventually set up a co-op to make fuel available to the
Student Garden Offers Field Experience – The
project, called the “student garden,” is designed as a large circle
composed of many growing beds (3’ by 12’ each) where students grow a
diversity of organic vegetables, culinary herbs, soft fruits (berries),
and flowers, as well as fiber crops, various medicinal plants, and more.
Students Create Renewable Energy Projects – In the
context of doing these projects, students consulted with and learned
from some skilled craftsman in town. They learned to weld and to do
blacksmithing, plumbing, and electrical work. They also learned basic
woodworking skills and visited an Amish sawmill, using the lumber in
Students Retrofit Building Wing with Green Technologies
– Students completed a six-month project to renovate the Sustainable
Living wing in order to provide more workshop space, to create an
attractive environment, and to retrofit it with green technologies such
as motion sensors, skylights, sun tubes, and high-performance fixtures.
Students Advise Fairfield, IA on Use of Alternative Energy
– The City of Fairfield created a commission to plan a strategy to save
money via alternative energy, thanks to a research project by students
in a course on management and the environment.
Annual Eco-Fair Brings Leading Experts – Students
first organized an Eco-Fair in 2000, and it has since become an annual
traditions, often bringing in leading experts in a range of areas, from
sustainable agriculture, to renewable energy, to living off the grid. The Eco-Fair inspires everyone to join the global shift to sustainability through visiting speakers, workshops, vendors, and the EcoJam Fashion Show, as well as an EcoJob Fair, EcoBand Stage, Kids Corner, and booths hosted by sustainability clubs from other schools.