Black Hills State University is hosting its first ever “Green Day” Wednesday, Oct. 10. The university has scheduled several events for that day and throughout the year as the university embarks on a plan to increase sustainability.

The event will kick off at 10:50 a.m. on the stage outside Clare and Josef Meier hall when President Kay Schallenkamp announces the university’s sustainability efforts and highlights some of the initiatives the university is undertaking.

Following Schallenkamp’s announcements, Dusty Johnson, director of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, will give a presentation about wind power and other energy issues in the recital hall of Meier Hall. Johnson was elected to the Public Utilities Commission in November 2004, becoming the youngest utilities commissioner in the nation. Since joining the commission, he has played a role in developing renewable energy resources, expanding broadband and wireless phone capabilities, keeping utility rates low and protecting consumers.

Other activities planned for the “Green Day” observation include displays featuring energy efficiency and sustainability ideas. Sandy Klarenbeek, BHSU instructor, will be available to demonstrate the effects of smoking and second hand smoke. A bus and a trolley will be on hand to encourage faculty, staff, and students to consider public transportation options.

President Schallenkamp notes that BHSU is the perfect place for a major sustainability effort to originate.

“We are fortunate to live in this beautiful and unique environment. It’s important for us as a university to take a leadership role in sustainability,” Schallenkamp says. “We know the importance of providing knowledge and encouragement for our students to meet and overcome the global warming and environmental issues we are facing. I encourage faculty, staff, and students to identify ways they can ‘go green’ and do their part in this ongoing effort.”

BHSU was the first South Dakota University to join the American College and University President's Climate Commitment, a consortium of 400 universities across the nation dedicated to address global warming by garnering institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, and to accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.

BHSU is currently undergoing a major renovation of the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union which is being designed with several energy efficiencies and is expected to earn a Silver certification from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). University officials note that this will be the first university building in the state to earn the silver certification. LEED is a rating system nationally accepted standard for the design, construction and operation of environmentally friendly buildings.

Other events planned through the year for the “Go Green” initiative include participating in a webcast entitled “Building a Durable Future: Community, the Campus and Deep Economy,” encouraging carpooling, increasing recycling efforts, and series of presentations and discussions about sustainability. The group is challenging students in the residence halls to save energy through competitions.

Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to wear green clothing that day to show their support of the initiative.