Go green at BHSU with our sustainability masters degree and conservation efforts across campus.

BHSU on the Cutting Edge of Sustainability

How is BHSU becoming more sustainable?

    • We are asking our BHSU community to help us achieve our goals by getting involved. Take the Sustainability Pledge today.
    • Check out our Sustainability Master Plan with goals through 2030.
    • Recycling – We recycle over 50 tons of material every year!
    • Garden – Get your hands dirty in the campus community garden, located South of the Yellow Jacket Apartments. We grow vegetables and fruit each summer.
    • Community Food Forest—We are honoring our agricultural heritage and planting fruit and nut trees in Ida Hinton Park for the campus and community to enjoy.
    • Compost at the dining hall – We compost food waste from The Hive. We send nearly 700 lbs. of leftover food waste weekly to the Rapid City Materials Recovery Facility, where it is transformed into rich compost for gardens.
    • LED lighting, dark sky compliant – Our outdoor lighting is LED and Dark Sky Friendly, reducing electricity use and light pollution.
    • Tree Campus USA – BHSU was named a Tree Campus USA on Arbor Day 2017! We are planting 200 trees a year. Click the link to find information about each tree on our campus tree map.
    • Wind turbine – BHSU’s iconic wind turbine at the Student Union is our first foray into renewable energy. It produces about 2,200 kilowatt-hours per year and feeds directly into the Student Union. Solar energy is coming soon!
    • LEED – The David B. Miller Student Union is a certified LEED Gold building. It features a green roof, locally sourced and recycled materials, and water-efficient design. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The Life Science Lab and BHSU-Rapid City campus are both certified LEED Silver. Crow Peak Residence Hall is our first green residence hall! It is currently under certification review and was built to LEED Silver specifications.
    • Spearfish Local – Look for BHSU’s Spearfish Local logo at restaurants around town to find locally grown food!
    • Green Certified restaurant – The Hive and Buzz Shack are certified Green Restaurants, meeting a rigorous measure from the Green Restaurant Association for nutritious food choices, efficient energy and water use, reducing waste, green cleaning, and purchasing eco-friendly products.
    • STARS Silver – BHSU is rated STARS Silver by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) is a nationally recognized reporting tool.
    • Carbon Commitment – BHSU has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050. The Carbon commitment is focused on reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions and achieving carbon neutrality as soon as possible.
    • Campus Green – Our new landscaping provides a place for people to gather and an ADA accessible bike/walk path connecting access from campus to town. The new hillside landscaping was given a Lakota name, Oyate Wicaka Wita, meaning people/nation gathering place.
    • Bioswales – To reduce erosion and direct storm water, bioswales are located next to the Student Union, West Complex Residence Halls, and Faculty parking lot.
    • Weekly bike rides – Jump into nature and get to know the area better on weekly bike rides offered by the Bicycle Club.
    • Bike Spearfish! – across the community we are working to enhance bicycle commuter safety and accessibility through improved education, evaluation, enforcement, engineering, and encouragement.
 


Sustainability at BHSU

The American College and University President's Climate Commitment is a consortium of over 600 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 has committed to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. To begin this process, we've developed a Climate Action Plan and analyze our carbon footprint annually. You can view our carbon footprint reports here: 2013, 2012, 2008, 2007.

As part of our commitment in sustainability, BHSU has enrolled in The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). STARS is a voluntary self-reporting system for colleges and universities to assess progress in meeting sustainability goals and sustainability leadership. On Earth Day 2014, BHSU received a STARS Silver rating. BHSU is the first university in the state of South Dakota to achieve a STARS rating.

STARS ratings are based on three main categories: Education and Research; Operation such as buildings, climate, dining services energy, grounds purchasing, transportation, waste, water; and Planning, Administration and Engagement. Our hope is to engage the entire campus community in this effort and lead the way to a sustainable future.

At BHSU, all new buildings and major renovations are built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver or higher standards. David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union was the first state building to earn this standard, earning LEED Gold after its 2009 renovation. The Student Union is used as a model for demonstration of energy efficiency and an educational tool for BHSU students and others in the community. Some of these components include a green roof, wind turbine, compost collection of food waste at The Hive, and energy efficiency. Since then, The Black Hills State University Rapid City campus and the Life Science Lab at our main campus have both achieved LEED Silver. The new Crow Peak Residence Hall was built to LEED specifications and is currently pending certification.




Our campus dining hall, The Hive, and coffee shop, The Buzz Shack, both achieved Green Restaurant Certification in 2014. Produce from our campus garden is used for meals in The Hive in late summer and early fall.








In an effort to engage the campus and greater community on the issues surrounding local food, BHSU launched Spearfish Local in the spring of 2014. Since then, 23 business have registered for the Spearfish Local badge by proving that they sell or cook with local produce. To engage student in the process, we created 15 paid student internship positions involving all aspects of the local food economy with external grant funds.






The work of Spearfish Local led to the creation of the Black Hills Food Hub, a local food distribution company bridging the gap between local producers and area cafeterias. BHSU is incubating the Black Hills Food Hub business with Cobblestone Science as the contracting agency running the program. The Black Hills Food Hub is delivering produce from area farms to Regional Hospital in Rapid City and Mt. Rushmore National Memorial in Summer 2016!


Contact: Petrika Peters

Black Hills State University is proud to have recently achieved the designation of Tree Campus USA® through the Arbor Day Foundation.

“Our recognition as a Tree Campus USA shows that we are joining national and regional partners as we continue to take an active role in the care of our campus tree environment,” said Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., BHSU President. “Sustainability is part of the soul of this University. There is a very deep belief system in our students, faculty and staff at Black Hills State University to protect the environment.”

Learn more about this exciting designation, read the campus tree care plan, and view the BHSU campus tree map here.


BHSU Sustainability in the News:

  • Changes to BHSU better for bicyclists, community
  • Grant aims to improve biking in Spearfish
  • BHSU invites community to participate in Campus Garden
  • Locally grown food program gets $100K in seed money
  • Local food hub coming to Spearfish
  • Spearfish Local aims to grow business
  • BHSU plants trees, educates students during Arbor Day celebration
  • BHSU furthers sustainability efforts with Climate Action Plan
  • Spearfish Local, a BHSU sustainability initiative, continues to grow
  • BHSU collects more than 200 pounds of waste during Recycle Mania event
  • Balancing our small town charm with steady growth - part 4 of 7
  • Spearfish Badging Program Brings Community Together for Local Produce
  • Spearfish Local puts consumers, businesses together (KOTA TV interview)
  • Growing Green: A golden opportunity for sustainability at Black Hills State University (p. 53)
  • BHSU receives $49,000 SD Department of Agriculture grant for Spearfish Local program
  • Where does our food come from?
  • BHSU to encourage change during 2014 Sustainability Day
  • BHSU art students' dog sculptures help Humane Society
  • BHSU receives national APPA 2014 Sustainability Award
  • Sting’s Eco Explorers Day Camp focuses on sustainability
  • Spearfish Local chooses advisory council at local summit
  • BHSU kicks off local food initiative with workshops and community supper
  • BHSU receives recycling bins through national Coca-Cola grant program
  • BHSU first university, third restaurant in state to earn green certification
  • BHSU achieves silver STARS rating for sustainability performance; first university in South Dakota
  • BHSU strives to go green
  • BHSU making strides towards becoming a greener campus (video)
  • BHSU collects more than 300 pounds of waste during nationwide recycling competition
  • BHSU continues to reduce its carbon footprint
  • Lisa Bike program
  • BHSU art students create life-size bug self-portraits




  • “The environment matters to BHSU and we demonstrate in our sustainability efforts as a green campus,” says President Tom Jackson, Jr. “As a university, we believe in decreasing our carbon footprint, we believe in recycling, and we believe in inspiring others to do the same. That’s who we are at BHSU.”



    “The environment matters to BHSU and we demonstrate in our sustainability efforts as a green campus,” says President Tom Jackson, Jr. “As a university, we believe in decreasing our carbon footprint, we believe in recycling, and we believe in inspiring others to do the same. That’s who we are at BHSU.”