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BHSU highlighted in 2017 Sustainable Campus Index

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, November 20, 2017/Categories: Students, Awards, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Staff

Black Hills State University is highlighted in the 2017 Sustainable Campus Index in the Food & Dining section for its efforts in advancing sustainability in higher education.

Kathy Johnson, vice president for finance and administration, said that BHSU being chosen as a focus university for the national publication reflects the cutting-edge sustainability practices happening at the University.

“We’ve made great strides in promoting and producing sustainable initiatives at BHSU,” said Johnson. “We are proud to be a university leader in sustainably that extends even beyond campus with the Black Hills Food Hub featured in the Sustainable Campus Index.”

Excerpt from page 35 of the Sustainable Campus Index published by AASHE featuring a photo of Bear Butte Gardens in Sturgis:

Black Hills State University and Spearfish community partners are working together to expand the reach and depth of the region’s local food economy. The Black Hills Food Hub, a business incubated at BHSU and run by a locally- and women-owned small business, 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. The Food Hub benefits a large number of citizens from a wide demographic, and large-quantity commitments from buyers lend unprecedented support to the local food economy.

“Black Hills State University’s feature in this report shows its significant leadership and commitment to advance sustainability,” said AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “We are excited to recognize Black Hills State University for working to secure a thriving, equitable and ecologically healthy world through its comprehensive sustainability efforts.”

Other recent sustainability-related initiatives and/or achievements for Black Hills State University include BHSU offering an online master’s in sustainability degree program, the only degree of its kind in the western half of the U.S. The University was also named a Bicycle Friendly University, a Tree Campus USA, and is rated STARS Silver by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Several campus buildings are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. BHSU recycles over 50 tons of material every year, runs a Campus and Community Garden, and organizes Spearfish Local and the Black Hills Food Hub promoting locally-grown food. 

The 2017 Sustainable Campus Index, a publication of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from colleges and universities that submitted a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) report in the 12 months prior to July 1, 2016.

View the Campus Sustainability Index (BHSU is on page 35).

Black Hills State University’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.


The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS was developed by AASHE with broad participation from the higher education community. The credits included in STARS span the breadth of higher education sustainability and are organized into four categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration. All reports are publicly accessible on the STARS website. For more information, visit

About the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)

AASHE empowers higher education faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world’s future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit  

About Black Hills State University (BHSU)

Black Hills State University is a masters-level state university with more than 4,200 students. The campus leads the region in sustainability efforts and maintains top academic programs in business (AACSB Accredited), exercise science, natural sciences, social sciences, the arts, mass communication, health sciences and education. The University, founded in 1883, is located in the northern Black Hills, a region abundant with outdoor activity and culture. Spearfish, S.D., is recognized as one of the top 10 most livable small towns in the USA and has also been recognized nationally for outdoor recreational opportunities. A second location, BHSU-RC, was recently established in Rapid City, the state’s second largest city. BHSU, a member of NCAA Division II athletics, offers 14 sports. BHSU has a legacy of champion rodeo teams. 


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