Black Hills State University Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, July 17, 2017/Categories: 2017

Dr. Abigail Domagall, associate professor of geology at Black Hills State University, instructs students in gathering water samples on Spearfish Creek. Black Hills State University has earned a STARS Silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for the second time. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

Black Hills State University has earned a STARS Silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for the second time. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

Black Hills State University's STARS report is publicly available on the BHSU Sustainability webpage:

www.BHSU.edu/sustain

Sustainability achievements at BHSU include the Sustainability master's program, events such as Earth Day and Sustainability Month, a robust recycling program, Green Restaurant certification in on-campus dining at The Hive and Buzz Shack, Tree Campus USA designation, purchasing policies in favor of Energy Star appliances and electronics, green cleaning products, recycled paper, and water and energy reduction strategies.

The STARS report highlights several innovative sustainability strategies the University has undertaken in the community. Bike Spearfish! is a unique collaboration between BHSU and Hills Horizon designed to infuse a culture of active living via advancing bicycle transportation, trail construction and completion, advocating safe cycling and complete street policies, and community cycling education and promotional events. Spearfish Local is a Black Hills State University initiative that brings together local producers, distributors, purchasers, and consumers of local food and other locally-sourced products. Black Hills Food Hub, a business incubated at BHSU and run by Cobblestone Science, coordinates the needs of cafeterias in the region with local food producers by serving as one point of contact for cafeteria managers to access produce from multiple local farms.

"Living in the Black Hills we place a high level of importance on protecting our environment. We encourage our students to engage in global issues and be engaged in solving environmental problems here and around the world," said Kathy Johnson, BHSU Vice President for Finance and Administration. "The effort and collaboration of many at BHSU has created successes in our sustainable growth including an enhanced recycling initiative and achieving the Tree Campus USA designation."

With more than 800 participants on six continents, AASHE's STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university's sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in four overall areas: 1) academics, 2) engagement, 3) operations, and 4) planning and administration.

"STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts," said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. "BHSU has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts."

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.

"We are very proud to have achieved a STARS rating for our sustainability accomplishments. We look forward to continuing to grow and improve our sustainability efforts through the STARS program," said Katie Greer, assistant director of facilities at BHSU.
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