BHSU Making Strides Towards Becoming a Greener Campus

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By Stephanie Kayser

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Updated: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 09:16:15 MST

Black Hills State University is making strides towards becoming a greener campus, with the goal of meeting carbon neutrality by 2050.

Taking the steps towards sustainability, BHSU is drastically working to reduce its environmental impact.

"We're trying to reduce the carbon footprint on campus, get rid of a lot of the waste, make sure that plastics are actually being recycled which is a big challenge it seems at this point in time but were just getting started," said Brady Licht, a sophomore at BHSU.

Licht's is with the recycling club on campus, and emphasizes the hardest part is just getting the word out.

"We're mainly focusing on making sure that people are actually recycling during sports events and that's been a big problem right now is just getting the word out that recycling bins are available," said Licht.

BHSU has two LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certified buildings on campus, the first in the state.

"We have really been trying to become at the forefront just to really try to get after things with being earth-friendly, eco-friendly and gold certified with our campus garden we produce produce that we use in our dining services," said Jane Klug, the Director of Student Services at BHSU.

Taking the term 'go green' to another level. The school has a wind turbine bringing energy consumption down resulting in less dollars students have to pay.

"We go tray less so we don't have food waste which is a wonderful thing and if we do, we do have a somat and it takes our food and it grinds it up and it extracts the moisture from that and it becomes a powdery type of consistency that can be used in compost," said Klug.

BHSU achieving a 9.7 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per square foot of campus and increasing recycling to 35 tons, a feat considering the closest recycling center is in Rapid City.

"The last carbon footprint report showed that we emit more than 13,000 metric ton equivalence of carbon dioxide and what that told us is that we've reduced over the past years even though we have grown as a university," said Katie Greer, the Sustainability Coordinator at BHSU.

The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint to zero, and the first step is accounting for the carbon emitted by the university. The university is now awaiting the report to see how far they've come.

And over the last 10 years, the BHSU facilities services team has implemented over $1 million in energy conservation projects.

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