Sustainability Definition:

Conscientious development and integration of environmental, social, and economic goals to meet current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.


Morningside College presents the 2019 Sustainability Lecture (03/07/19) by Ken Ilgunas - 
Mr. Ilgunas is the author of several books including Trespassing Across America, Walden on Wheels, and This Land is Our Land. His talk will be free and open to the public at 7pm on March 7th in UPS Auditorium (Lincoln Center) on campus. Seating may be limited. Of particular note to students and faculty, Mr. Ilgunas will be joining us at Friday is Writing Day on March 8th!

Morningside Welcomes Sioux City Director of Utilities to Campus for a Q&A session - 
Sioux City Utilities Director, Mark Simms, will be on campus Wednesday, February 27th to present "How Green Energy Makes Money." All students interested in the new green economy growing up in our region as well as those planning for careers in the natural sciences, agricultural and food industries, or engineering are strongly encouraged to attend.

Recycling notes - 

• Morningside’s single-stream recycling program has begun its second semester, and participation rates have been better than anticipated! 

• We can now recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, and steel in any recycling container on campus. We are still unable to recycle glass at this time.

• Large amounts of recyclables can be deposited directly in the recycling-specific dumpsters at Roadman, Walker, Dimmitt, and Eppley.

• Be on the look-out for informational events and exciting opportunities surrounding recycling during calendar year 2019!

• With recycling rates climbing, it is important to prevent contaminating our recycling waste streams with food waste or overly dirty containers. It is especially important that students not use recycling bins as regular garbage cans. If you don’t know what can go in the recycling bins or dumpsters it is often better to simply put it in the regular trash. For questions about recycling contact John Helms (helmsj@morningside.edu)

• Paper coffee cups from Starbucks and fast food restaurants are NOT recyclable due to the plastic coating inside the cup that makes it waterproof. HOWEVER, plastic lids and cardboard sleeves ARE recyclable.

Morningside College Agriculture and Food Studies Program gardening project in the news - 
If you haven't noticed it, go check out the recently constructed garden on Garetson Ave!! Or, check out this cool video from the local news: LINK  ... or this one on facebook: LINK.

Morningside Chemistry Professor receives professional certificate in Campus Sustainability Leadership - 
The Sustainability Committee would like to congratulate its current Chair, John Helms, on his completion of an intensive weeklong course at the University of Vermont last June. The class gave Dr. Helms the opportunity to meet sustainability professionals from institutions all over world and get a first-hand look at one of the greenest state universities in the country. Hopefully he can bring some of that know-how back to Sioux City!  For anyone interested in the program, more information can be found here.

Plastic recycling returns to the Morningside campus after a one semester absence - 
Keep your eyes peeled for four new dumpsters for co-mingled recyclables arriving on campus Monday Feb. 5th. Recyclables includes plastics 1-6, aluminum, paper, cardboard, and grocery bags, but will not include glass. Please rinse all food and drink containers before disposing in recycling bins and recycling dumpsters. More information will be available soon about the upgraded recycling program. Thanks for your help keeping Morningside clean and green!

Morningside begins pilot project to reduce food waste and help the Siouxland Community - 

What started as a seemingly simple idea among students working in the cafeteria at Morningside College has developed into a pilot scale project to avoid wasting left-over food prepared for students, but destined for the landfill. Once each month for the Spring 2018 semester, these leftovers will be delivered to the ongoing food ministry at Radiant Life Church and distributed to people at the Sioux City Warming Shelters and elsewhere. In the first month of the project forty pounds of protein and seven loaves of bread were distributed to those in need. The project was conceived by Samuel Padilla Castro (sophomore from Columbia) and has been enthusiastically implemented by Sodexo General Manager, Casey Benton; Morningside Alumni, Pastor Doug Collins; Chaplain, Rev. Andy Nelson; Sustainability Committee Chair, John Helms; and VP for Student Life, Terri Curry. We hope to expand campus and community involvement over the course of this pilot and beyond, so feel free to contact John Helms at helmsj@morningside.edu if you are interested in getting involved.

Morningside's annual Into the Streets day of service included many projects that promote sustainability! - 
Omicron Delta Kappa set a new record with 88 partnering organizations. This wasn't just good for the community, but also great for the environment! In the process of working with the City of Sioux City's Environmental Services and Transit departments, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, Spalding Park Elementary, and several other agencies, Morningsiders collected more than 8 cubic yards of litter, removed invasive plant species, promoted mass transit, and facilitated outdoor education. In all, 12 different projects were sustainability related. Way to go!

Screening of An Inconvenient Sequel at Sioux City Public Museum October 26th at 5:45pm- 
The Morningside Sustainability Committee is collaborating with Northwest Iowa Sierra Group which is sponsoring a public screening of the live webcast Q&A with former Vice President Al Gore starting at 5:45 pm followed by a Screening of his new documentary film "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power". The film will be screened at the Sioux City Public Museum 607 4th St. downtown Sioux City. The event is free and open to the public, but seating will be limited (capacity is 120, approx. 20 seats will be reserved for Morningside students). Doors open at 5:15. NOTE THE VENUE CHANGE.

Morningside College Awarded Iowa DNR SWAP grant for water bottle filling stations - 
Under the Solid Waste Alternatives Program (SWAP), Iowa DNR has awarded Morningside College $6,525 for the purchase and installation of water bottle re-filling stations in an effort to reduce plastic waste. The grant also provides funding for supplies to help a group of students, faculty, and staff clean up litter along local waterways during this years Into The Streets day of service. The proposal was authored by Marilyn Eastman, John Helms, and Laura Florio.

AASHE presents new guide for project based sustainability learning - 
A Guide for Applied Sustainability Learning Projects was written by Fletcher Beaudoin of Portland State University and Katja Brundiers of Arizona State University, and was edited by AASHE. Additional information is available on the AASHE website, and the guide can be downloaded here. While the guide is intended for educators, students are also encouraged to check out all the great ideas in this free publication.

SEA President named to inaugural class of Principal Community Scholars - 
Congratulations to Jessica Paxton - president of Morningside's Sustainable Environment Association and Junior Elementary Education Major - on being named one of twenty 2017 Principal Community Scholars. All of the scholars in this new program will complete projects that benefit their communities. Jessica will be developing and implementing a PR campaign to raise awareness of sustainability and environmental issues on the Morningside campus and working with Spalding Park Elementary School to develop grade-appropriate signage for recycling facilities at the school.

Bee a friend to our pollinators - 
It's gardening season! Why not devote some space in your garden to plants that attract native pollinators and threatened species like the monarch butterfly? Many species of native pollinators are threatened which has far reaching potential consequences with respect to agricultural productivity as well as biodiversity, but this is one sustainability issue that almost anyone can try to improve!  Here's a list of plants that are helpful to monarchs, and here's some advice for planting a honeybee friendly garden. Much more information is available on the web: such as here, here, and here.

New Water Bottle Fillers - There are three new water bottle fillers on Campus! HPER, Nursing/Education/Ag, and the Learning Center all have water bottle fillers. Please fill up, save $$$$, and avoid single-use plastic water bottles.

New Facebook Group Started - Are you on Facebook? Are you interested in sustainability issues? Join the discussion Here.

Past Events

Morningside College to celebrate Earth Week April 23rd through 26th - 
SEA would like to invite the entire campus community to come out and share our advocacy and appreciation of environmental responsibility!!

Des Moines–Based Author and Consultant Adam Hammes to give the 2018 Morningside Sustainability Lecture - 

Adam will be delivering a lecture titled "Sustainable Business in Iowa: How Leading Companies are Profiting from Environmental & Social Responsibility" in the UPS auditorium of Lincoln Center at 7:00pm on April 25th. The event is part of Morningside's Earth Week celebration, and is free and open to the public.

Sustainability professional and author Adam Hammes founds Iowa Sustainable Business Forum - 

As the former Manager for Corporate Sustainability at Kum & Go, Hammes oversaw award winning programs to reduce energy, waste, and water costs throughout the convenience store chain. He has also published two books: 2015's Stress-Free Sustainability and this year's Sustainable Business in Iowa. His new position as Executive Director of Iowa Sustainable Business Forum sees him coordinating efforts of sustainable businesses throughout the state and providing educational and consulting resources for new business and established businesses that seek to improve their environmental and fiscal sustainability. More information about the ISBF is available at: http://iowasbf.org/

Cornelia F. Mutel Public Lecture - 
Morningside's Biology and Chemistry Department and chapter of Beta Beta Beta hosted noted ecologist and author Cornelia Mutel in the Weikert Auditorium  April 10th for a talk titled: A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Communicating Climate Change, Composing Hope. Her presentation encompassed the main topics of her recent book, A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland, as well as advice for students for communicating effectively about science and the environment, and coping with climate change anxiety. The title of her talk will be: .


Sandra Steingraber's 2016 Morningside Sustainability Lecture - Dr. Sandra Steingraber delivered this year's Sustainability Lecture: The Hazards of Environmental Runoff from Chemicals Used in Agriculture, Home Lawn Care and Industry. The lecture was free and open to the public. Morningside students, staff, and faculy had the opportunity to meet Dr. Steingraber over dinner before the lecture, and audience members enjoyed getting to meet with Dr. Steingraber individually and in small groups after her enlightening and thought provoking talk.

Photo Credit: Laura Kozlowski  www.laurakozlowski.com
Photo Credit: Laura Kozlowski (

Leadership Training for SEA students - Morningside Sustainable Environment Association members, Jessica Paxton and Sarah Schwartz, attended the Sustainability Leadership Institute at Luther College April 8th and 9th. 

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Trashion Show! - The Trashion show was held Wed. April 20th, 2016 featuring original designs by Morningside students that featured recycled and repurposed materials. Winning designers included Eleka Joseph (3rd Place), Johnny Culver (2nd Place) and Sheila Ruiz (1st Place). The event was covered by local news outlet KTIV.

2015 ECO ART Show at HJF Learning Center- April at Morningside has typically been the time to celebrate & discuss environmental sustainability. As one of the activities around campus this year, the Committee on Environmental Sustainability sponsored an Eco Art show for the first time. We had 10 pieces from 11 different artists. Click here to see photos

2015 Sustainability Lecture- The 2015 Morningside Sustainability Lecture was given by New York City-based fashion designer and technologist Natalia Allen. The lecture titled "Are Clothes Modern?" discussed young entrepreneurship, design, wearable technology and robotic design processes for moving toward zero-waste manufacturing. 

2014 Trashion Show-


Earth Week Activities 2014

In the week of March 31st - April 4th, Morningside hosted speaker Allison Cook (The Story of Stuff), Friday saw a Friday is Writing Day dedicated to environmental writing and the Trashion Show. Saturday was the official opening of the community garden.

2014 Sustainability Lecture, by Allison Cook (March 31st, 2014)

Allison Cook, the coordinator media, outreach, and engagement strategies at "The Story of Stuff," will present on being an agent of effective change within communities. She will give a talk in the Yockey Room at 7pm. At 12pm in Roadman Formal, she will hold a community development clinic. Both events are open to the public. Please contact Patrick Blaine for more information.

Our Recycling Crew in Action

Morningside College's recycling is done by Bruce Weaver and a crew of student workers. Click "Read More" to read the student workers' leader, Ryan Tellinghuisen. READ MORE

The Student Recycling Crew  Inside of Recycling Truck

Christmas Light Collection!

Christmas lights will be collected FRIDAY JANUARY 18th. Please see email from Terri McGaffin for more info!

Last Year:

Professor Terri McGaffin and her husband Alan collected the holiday lights, boxed them up and took them to the mailroom to send to Midwest Electronic Recovery in Walford, IA.  85 lbs!  Quite a bit more than last year, although they weren't weighed last year. They seemed to be double the volume, though. Good job, everyone!

Recycled Christmas Lights Photo by Terri McGaffin.

Photos by John Kolbo

Alec at Podium

On Monday, November 7th, 2011, Alec Looz brought his message to Morningside College. He spoke to a group of 85 students, faculty, staff and community members in the UPS auditorium.  He described his work, inspiring youth around the world to get involved in bringing about change in their families, their schools and their communities.  He has organized marches, and is suing the US government to fulfill its obligation to protect the atmosphere as a public trust for his generation.  He arrived in Sioux City from Washington DC, where he had joined the protest of the planned routing of the Keystone XL pipeline through the sand hills of Nebraska.

Alec in Crowd

 Loorz’ passion was evident in his presentation, in which graphics and video creations were used to illustrate and emphasize his challenge. He has said, "Our generation is the one who will be most affected if nothing is done about global warming, so we need to be the ones leading the movement to bring change. Our voices do matter."

Alec Crowd 2

 Alec Loorz, founder of Kids vs. Global Warming, is one of the leading young voices in the US on the issue of climate change.  A senior in high school in Ventura CA, Alec has been a climate change activist since the age of 13.  He recalls seeing the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, and realizing that he needed to respond through action.  He has spoken to over 200,000 people on panels with experts, in presentations at schools, museums, conferences, and the UN. 


POWERING TOMORROW. Morningside College hosts forum on the future of energy use.

Photo from Powering Tomorrow Event