Lauren Suhi, UN Ambassador

by Lauren Suhi

Hi, my name is Lauren Suhi and I’m a senior studying Environmental Science and Global Resource Systems from Batavia, IL. This past week, I packed up and flew to New York City to attend the 2018 Winter Youth Assembly held at the United Nations.

The conference focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were set in place by the UN as 17 goals to achieve by 2030. We had many panels by experts in the field, such as The Nature Conservancy, UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report, Safe Horizon, Google Jigsaw, and the WHO, just to name a few.

There were students, ages 16-28, from around the world. I got to meet some amazing students from Egypt, China, and Argentina, who all were driven and motivated to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. I attended with four other Iowa State students through my club, the International Association Students in Agriculture and Related Sciences (IAAS).   Here’s my group outside the entrance to the UN building.

We got to go into the General Assembly Hall, which historic diplomatic solutions have come out of. With our security clearance, we got to go into many different conference rooms associated with breakout sessions. We even got to test out some microphones and translation ear pieces and pretend that we were the highest dignified diplomats.

After the conference concluded, we also go the opportunity to explore the city. I got to try some New York style pizza (sorry, Chicago) and tried to look higher than my net worth while walking around Fifth Avenue.

I’m such a big advocate to being involved in clubs on campus, because my IAAS club has connected me to so many great opportunities that have shaped my passions and helped me grow as a person. In many of my classes, we focus on the SDGs and UN policies, and learning about them firsthand was an amazing experience that helped bring my classwork into the real world. And, after meeting so many young leaders at this conference, I have great hope for the future and where the world is going.


Running a Marathon: Tips from a First-Timer

by Madeline Keane

The story goes that following the Battle of Marathon, a Greek soldier, Pheidippides, ran 26.2 miles to Athens to announce victory over the Persians. After he delivered the message, he died. Today, a growing number of adventure seekers think it is a good idea to give this crazy physical challenge a shot. It fascinates me how humans continue to push limits and reach for higher and higher heights. My name is Madeline Keane, I am a senior studying Kinesiology and Health, and I ran the 2017 IMT Des Moines Marathon. I converted to running during college, and although I have been educated on the potential dangers of running insane distances, I decided I was up for the challenge. Here are a few tips in case you decide to cross “Run a Marathon” off your bucket list:

  1. Sign up
    First, you need to be crazy enough to commit to running 26.2 miles. Then, sign up for the race nice and early. I began preparing in late April for the October race. Typically, a portion of the entry fee is a donation, and in my situation, I could select the organization. I donated to the Children’s Cancer Connection! Not only did this help motivate me to start training, it gave me a purpose beyond simply to prove I could. When I saw the posters of brave children battling cancer during the race, I was moved to tears. Suddenly, I knew I could finish the race because my sore legs were nothing compared to the struggles these kiddos face.
  1. Get Started
    I suggest finding a training plan online that fits your needs for starting point, days/week spent running, and goal completion time. I built up miles for a few weeks until I was ready to start the training. You may want to refrain from totaling up the number of miles you plan to run along the road to the marathon. It is a bit intimidating. I like to have a path in place and music to keep my mind away from the not-so-fun parts of running. Create a good playlist, map out a route using an app on your phone, (I like RunGo or the Fitbit app) lace up your sneakers, and go after your goals!
  1. Support Crew
    Surround yourself with friends and family who will challenge you. During the preparation period, others held me accountable by asking how the training was going, running with, and even biking next to me as I ran. Running with a buddy is more enjoyable, more safe, and more competitive. I never wanted to be the one who admitted I needed to walk or slow the pace. Instead, I pushed myself to keep up, and this ultimately benefitted my performance. I always let someone know I was out for a run in the heat or at dusk and to come looking if I didn’t return in an allotted time. My parents and friends were awesome at pushing me to put in the training miles as well as holding my sweats and snacks on race day!
  1. Nutrition
    Dietitians from the USOC say that, “More marathon runners drop out of the race due to gastrointestinal problems than injury.” Staying hydrated and keeping up with calories are essential components of marathon running. During the training period, it is important to listen to your body. The most significant change to my diet was an increase in carbohydrates. I began to recognize what worked well for me, and ate similar things before and after each long run. I was sure to load my plate with lean meats, nuts, and multi-grain carb options. Chocolate milk is one of my favorite post-run snack components.Gatorade gets a bad rap because it is loaded with sugar and salts that are not necessary during normal amounts of exercise. However, running for several hours in the hot and humid Iowa summers justifies drinking Gatorade. I would often have salt crystals on my face after a long run. This indicated how necessary it was to include more than just water in my hydration routine to replace vital electrolytes and avoid hyponatremia. Especially when it is very hot, runners should pay attention to their urine color and weigh themselves before and after a long run to determine the necessary amount of fluids to replace. On race day, I drank water and Gatorade at every chance I had, and I still cramped up around mile 18. To avoid this, consider training with electrolyte gels and snacks like marshmallows, gummy candy, or jelly sandwiches. Nutrition can make or break your performance.
  1. Embrace the experience
    The atmosphere in Des Moines on October 15, 2017 was amazing. There were so many motivated people ready to rise to the challenge. The energy was contagious. I felt so much love from the cheering fans lining the road. Race day was the reward for not just running a marathon, but for the many miles of training, early morning long runs, blisters and lost toe nails. The training helped me memorize several playlists worth of music, discover new parts of Ames, and feel more in touch with nature. I even managed to get a decent tan along the way! Although my attempt at a smile as I crossed the finish line was weak, and I couldn’t walk very well for several days after the race, I am proud to say I ran a marathon. This unforgettable experience pushed my mental and physical limits, and taught me that I can go the distance.

Even if you have no desire to run a race this ridiculous in length, set your goals high and don’t stop until you crush them. Dedicate yourself to a cause greater than yourself, set small goals on the way to bigger ones, surround yourself with people who make you a better you, do your research and take care of your body, and trust the painful process because the view from the top is worth the tribulation.

College Student Travel: Or, How to Go to Boston for $300

by Katie Fleming

So, you met your best friend through Honors! Now that you understand everything about them, you know exactly where they want to travel. Why not go on a bestie vacation? Bailey Mooney and I figured out how to fit travel into our college student budget, and I’ll walk you through how we went to Boston for under $300!

Find your flights 5-6 weeks in advance. This is the prime time for airline tickets, aka, when they will be at their lowest price. Also, use websites like Kayak, which compare a whole bunch of airlines and travel websites at the same time. This way, you can organize your flight options by price, departure, etc. Bailey and I each spent $100 on airfare.

Airbnb! This is a safe option for students that is highly affordable. Bailey and I found a residence for $40 a night, and our 2-night stay translated to both paying $40. This Airbnb also fit our geographical needs as well; when we arrived in Boston at the airport, we were able to walk straight out of the airport and to the residence. The next couple of days, we took a five-minute Uber to where we wanted to go, since our Airbnb was in East Boston.

Views from East Boston

Uber. This service is becoming more common, and understandably so! Uber comes to you (which means no time wasted searching for a taxi) and is very affordable. You can choose what level of service you want, so for us money-saving city slickers, we used the economy (cheapest) option, which was approximately $7 a ride. In total, we spent $30 on Uber.

Do your research on free activities. If you want to travel to a city, like Boston, tons of free activities exist. For example, the Freedom Trail in Boston is a spectacular way to get acquainted with the history and layout of the best city on earth. It is literally a red line on the sidewalk that leads you to the most popular historical and tourist sites in the city. Entering all the historical sites may require an entrance fee, but if you are like us, just being there and reading about them is enough! That being said, some museums are free! We checked out the free U.S.S. Constitution museum and decided we would not mind sleeping in hammocks like sailors used to do. If you are not a museum person, research free music entertainment, parks and beaches, or whatever else you are interested in!

Check out seasonal activities. Bailey and I traveled to Boston right before Christmas, which meant the city was all decorated and ready to celebrate! They also created free Christmas-related activities, such as a music and light show, a Santa’s Market (like a farmer’s market), and ice skating in the city plaza.

Christmas-themed ice skating in City Hall Plaza


Santa’s Market featuring local vendors and handmade goods

Eat cheap! Try not to waste a ton of money on less than incredible food, and bring your own snacks! My bag got held at security because Bailey and I packed so much food. We brought our own granola bars, cheese sticks, fruit, nuts, bread, and (for me) coffee. This allowed us to not spend any money on lunch and have a larger dinner. Even still, we met some locals who pointed us in the direction of off-the-beaten-path restaurants within our budget. We also looked up menus online to figure out which restaurants were in our price range. In total, we each spent about $30 on food during our trip.

Bromance dinner at L’Osteria, a fantastic restaurant in Little Italy

Splurge on what you love! Using all the tips and tricks of cheap travel means you have some extra money to spend on something you have been dying to do, which in my case was attending a Boston Bruins game at TD Garden (we crushed the Blue Jackets 7-2, in case you were curious). Tickets for the most amazing experience of my life were about $70 each.

Our first game at TD Garden means I cried a bit

$100 airfare + $40 Airbnb + $15 Uber + $30 food + $70 Bruins tickets = $255 total!

You still have $45 to spend on souvenirs, other entertainment, or more food! If you want to go even cheaper, take a camping trip or find a place within driving distance (without paying too much on gas). Now get out there and travel the world!


2017: End of the Year Thoughts Brought to You by My Spotify Year in Review

by Phaedra Lipsey

We all made it to finals week, and the time flew by as usual! It is getting to be the time of year when the reminiscing starts, so instead of studying for finals, I took some time to check out my music habits from 2017. Spotify recently released its analysis of my music. (If you are a Spotify user and have not checked out your year in review yet, go to!) Since I have been listening to a lot of music while finishing up my last assignments and preparing for finals, I am going to use my Spotify year in review as an inspiration for this post.


I swear this isn’t an advertisement… I just really like Spotify!

Keep Discovering

This year I listened to 1,648 different artists and explored 25 genres. I know what kind of music I like, but I still appreciate finding new singers and songs to listen to. This year I have taken the time to discover new things beyond music as well. For example, I tried new study spots on and off campus. I also tried hot yoga and almost passed out! I think discovering something new is important because it helps you step out of your comfort zone.

Remember the Good Times

Spotify created a playlist for me that includes my top 100 songs from 2017, and I absolutely love listening to all of them. A lot of songs remind me of concerts I attended, people I sang with, and other great memories! I think taking time to remember all the fun you’ve had is a great way to lift your spirits! I also like reading my journal from time to time… it is really easy to forget what all has happened in 2017.

Enjoy this picture of me walking around campus and listening to music back when it was warm!

Don’t Let the Good Ones Get Away

Another sweet playlist Spotify created contains songs that I have never listened to but are similar to my favorite songs. Now I can catch up and listen to the songs I somehow missed during the year. To me, ‘don’t let the good ones get away’ means reflecting on what I missed this year, and the first thing that comes to mind is talking to family and friends. Take some time once your finals are done to reach out to the people you haven’t talked to in awhile!

Be Brave Enough to Share

Spotify really wanted me to share my listening history with you, so I did! I think being brave enough to share is a great goal for 2018. Share your thoughts and opinions; it will absolutely lead to more meaningful conversations. Also, choose to share your time with others by volunteering on campus and around Ames!

That’s all for now! If you see me around campus I will probably be listening to music! Good luck on the rest of your finals! See you in 2018!

Your Guide to Surviving Winter at Iowa State

by Sarah Bennett

Hi all!

I was worried when I had the idea for this blog because it was still unseasonably warm but luckily the cold is here just in time for Finals Week! A quick note for those who don’t know me, I’m from Florida so coming up here was a huge change. My first year here, my friends always said they were excited to see how I would handle winter since I’ve never experienced things like below zero temperatures and ice…everywhere. Some days it was definitely a struggle, like the first day my nose hairs froze (who knew that could even happen). However, I survived and here we are now. As I enter my fourth “real” winter I have some tips for you, whether this be your first winter or you’ve been doing this all your life.

My roommate and I at St. Augustine Beach, Florida on a “cold” day last December!

One of my best skills is knowing which buildings to cut through on campus. From my apartment in Freddy to the lab I work in in Sukup, I can go through 8 buildings. You may say this is ridiculous but when it’s cold enough you’ll do anything for a few fleeting moments of warmth. You can cut through most buildings on campus but my top 3 routes are:

  1. HDFS Building through MacKay all the way to LeBaron Hall
  2. Physics through Office and Lab to Gilman

Now even the most seasoned winter veteran can experience icy mishaps on campus. You may think you’re ready but the ice on campus can get pretty bad. I recommend ALWAYS taking your time because even if you think you’re safe, you will fall (though of course I’m not talking from experience). The map below has areas in red and I highly recommend AVOIDING THESE! I have watched countless people fall in these areas. Once you walk across Central Campus once heading an 8 A.M. in January, you’ll never do it again.

Pink = buildings to cut through Red = avoid Yellow = warm places to hide from the cold

This next part may seem pretty obvious to some but for those (like me) who aren’t familiar with winter, keep reading. Always dress in layers. Some buildings on campus crank the heat up and others don’t seem to know that heat exists. Combine this with being in and out of the cold all day and you’ll appreciate being able to lose a jacket or sweatshirt. Scarfs can become your best friend, try to wear one. Always carry a hat, even if you don’t think you’ll need one. The wind can go from nonexistent to “hiking across Antarctica” in a matter of minutes and your ears will thank you. Hydration is key during winter. Make sure to carry lotion and chapstick; it still surprises me how dry the air is in winter and I always regret days when I forget them.

Be smart. Don’t dress like freshman Sarah

Now for the fun parts of winter in Ames:

  • Building snowmen on Central Campus (and everywhere else)
  • Sledding on the hill outside the President’s house
  • Game nights with friends
  • Waking up every morning knowing someone else will shovel the snow (something I’ve still never done but I hear isn’t fun)
  • Lots of dining hall hot chocolate
  • Movie nights in Jischke
  • Snow tubing at the hill in Boone
  • Snow ball fights

Snowmen outside President Leath’s (now President Wintersteen’s) house

Even though I’m still getting the hang of this winter thing, I love it. I know I’m the weird one here but I love the cold and the snow so I try to enjoy it as much as I can. It’s still exciting and different and walking around campus after it snows is one of my favorite pastimes. Good luck getting through winter everyone!

One of the best parts of winter in Ames are sights like this

Study Breaks on the Eve of Winter Break

by Hannah Astarita

Happy Holidays Everyone! I hope there aren’t any Scrooges out there who think it is too early for me to be saying that, but it is past Thanksgiving after all. Winter break is almost here and the only thing holding us back is all those exams and projects. Since I am procrastinating a project myself right now, I decided I would share some study break ideas with you.

  • My personal favorite break idea is to watch cheesy Christmas movies, especially if they are Hallmark. My roommates make fun of me for it but that doesn’t stop me! As a person who didn’t grow up with cable, I feel like I was deprived for so long. I’m just trying to make up for lost time. They are always just what you expect and it gets you in the holiday mood.
  • This is probably an obvious one, but I suggest getting active! Go to the gym whether it be for a festive fitness class, your own thing, or challenging your friends to racquetball. Studies have shown that this is an effective way to boost your productivity. If that isn’t your thing, there’s always the relaxing hot tub at state gym.
  • In case you missed Winterfest, you could have your own countdown. It’s super easy! All you have to do is gather a couple friends and go to the tree outside of Beardshear. When there’s 10 seconds left before it lights up, start a countdown and celebrate the beauty of it all.
  • Here’s another easy one for you: pile into a car with your friends, some snacks, and good music to just go around town and look at all the Christmas lights.
  • Now that I am starting to run out of my own ideas, I will share some suggestions from my good friend Buddy the Elf. Buddy suggests making snow angels for two hours, going ice skating, eating a whole roll of Toll House cookie dough as fast as you can, and snuggling. However, I just want to remind you that Buddy is an expert and you might need to pace yourself with the cookie dough.

In conclusion, I just want to say that if you need a bit of a miracle on any of your finals, always remember this quote from Miracle on 34th Street: “Faith is believing in yourself even when common sense tells you not to.” Thanks for reading! I hope you found some of this helpful 🙂 Have a great break!

Me and a group of friends at a holiday ornament exchange!

Which Comes First: Studying or Decorating your Apartment?

by Alex McPhail

It’s that time of year again; time to put on some Michael Bublé tunes, drink plenty of hot cocoa, and decorate for the holidays! The end of the semester is always a bit of a rough point, what with all the project deadlines and final exams crammed into such a short period of time. One way I like to enjoy the end of the semester amidst this stressful time is to decorate my apartment and fill it with holiday cheer! It’s no secret that I love Christmas and look forward to decorating every year for it. Whether you have a small dorm room or a full apartment to decorate, here are some easy ways to add some holiday flair to your living space!

First and foremost, you can never have enough lights! String lights are super popular outside of the holidays, so if you don’t have any up yet, you can get some up now for the holidays and then just keep them up for the rest of the year and enjoy the ambiance they provide!

Another easy thing to add to your space is holiday-themed blankets and towels! Especially with the winter looming upon us, having too many blankets is not a problem you’ll need to worry about. Blankets are also super cheap around this time of year since they make great gifts. Just casually drape one over your bed or couch and you have some instant holiday flair! If you have a space that requires hand towels for the bathroom or kitchen, towels are another great and easy way to incorporate holiday décor to your space in a functional way.

If you’ve never checked out the dollar spot at Target, you need to go there asap. There is always a good selection of cheap holiday décor for every major holiday here, and Christmas is no exception. Small trees and fun garland are easy finds and can make great additions to small spaces, such as your dorm room.

If you’re into DIYs and making your own décor, Christmas is a great time to take on some hands-on projects! We even have Thanksgiving break conveniently close to this season, giving you a perfect bit of time to put together some projects to bring back and put up in your living space. One easy project I’ve done involves only two things and takes just minutes to put together. All you need to do is grab some small ornaments and glass jars, and then fill the jars with those ornaments. This project is super easy and can easily be customized to whatever color scheme you would like based on what ornaments you buy. You can also buy other things to add to the jars, such as garland or bells.

Another thing you need to know about me is that I can’t keep plants alive. I’ve had a plant in my apartment since the start of the school year and every time my mom asks me about it I have to admit that I have no idea because I haven’t checked on it in weeks. So fake plants are another great option! I received this one as a present last year (after telling the gift giver my sad plant stories), but this could make another great DIY project if that interests you.

Last thing to mention is that if you missed the chance to decorate this year, it’s never too early to start preparing for next year! Buying Christmas décor during the time after Christmas is the absolute best time to shop because everything will be super discounted. If you aren’t particularly picky about what things you want, you can find some great things for an even greater price. Look at this cute little guy I snagged on sale last year:

The fun thing with decorating for the holidays is that you can do as much or as little as you’d like! Depending on your interests, you can add a little bit as a subtle reminder of the season or go all out and decorate everywhere. Whatever you do, remember to enjoy the time and think about all the joy that comes once finals are over~

Happy holidays everyone, and here is my Christmas tree to end this post!