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A BHSU student listens to a demonstration of the energy saving efficiencies of a low energy rammed earth house. This was one of several informational displays in the Student Union this week in observation of Earth Day.
Black Hills State University, which is taking the lead in sustainability, hosted several Earth Day events this week to promote awareness of the environment.

BHSU was the first university in the state 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.

In addition to the earth day activities, which included a tree planting sponsored by a student outdoors group, BHSU has initiated several sustainability efforts on campus including the following:

• Installation of solar panels at two of the BHSU stone entry signs to provide lighting.

• An environmentally beneficial swale in the new student parking lot. The swale recaptures storm water from the parking lot and uses it for irrigation rather than filling up the storm sewers.

• The possibility of the addition of a wood-fired boiler to campus.

• The decision to take interim actions to reduce greenhouse gases while working toward climate neutrality by ensuring that all new campus buildings will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Standard or equivalent.

• Purchase energy efficient appliances.

• Encourage all faculty, staff, and students to consider the impact on the environment before printing materials and print double-sided when possible.

• Movement toward a comprehensive recycling program to include paper, plastic, aluminum, cardboard and glass.

• Continue to incorporate energy efficiency components into building projects, including several pending projects at the residence halls which will replace windows, install a more efficient thermostat system; and renovate bathrooms to decrease water usage.

• The addition and remodeling project of the Student Union at BHSU has been designed to include components that will make it a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certified building. The Student Union is expected to become a model for demonstration of energy efficiencies and an educational tool for BHSU students and others in the community. Some of these components include a garden roof, a vertical wind turbine, solar panels, and other energy efficiencies.

Schallenkamp noted that BHSU has had a successful longstanding effort to reduce energy costs throughout campus.

In addition, Schallenkamp announced that the Madeline Young Speakers program will focus primarily on bringing in speakers on the topic. The University is also planning to offer sustainability workshops this summer.

For more information on sustainability or how to get involved call 642-6512.