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: Eva Chase
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: