BSU again ranks as environmentally responsible college

BEMIDJI — Bemidji State has once again been listed among the top 413 environmentally responsible colleges in the country by The Princeton Review. Bemidji State has been previously recognized in 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2018.

The Princeton Review’s 10th annual Guide to 413 Green Colleges features institutions with commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings, career preparation, campus policies, initiatives and activities, a release said.

Colleges were chosen based on their “Green Rating” scores from survey data that The Princeton Review tallied in the summer of 2019 from 689 different institutions. The survey asked colleges to address their school’s sustainability-related policies, practices and programs. Colleges that scored a Green Rating of 80 or higher were included in the Guide to Green Colleges for 2019, the release said.

The Princeton Review’s Green College rating measures:

  • Whether students have a campus quality of life that is both healthy and sustainable.
  • How well a school is preparing students for employment in the clean-energy economy of the 21st century as well as for citizenship in a world now defined by environmental concerns and opportunities.
  • How environmentally responsible a school’s policies are.

“Our identity as an institution rooted in environmental stewardship requires us to proactively decrease our impact upon the natural world that ultimately sustains us,” Bemidji State’s Sustainability Project Manager Jordan Lutz said, in the release.

Sustainability awards and initiatives at BSU include:

  • In 2008, BSU signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, which set the institutional goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The institution surpassed its interim carbon reduction goal of 2 percent by 2015 based on baseline numbers set in 2010, and is on track to achieve its 10 percent reduction goal by 2020. BSU reaffirmed its commitment when President Faith Hensrud signed the Second Nature Carbon Commitment in April 2017.
  • President Hensrud strengthened BSU’s commitment to sustainability in the spring of 2019, when she signed the Climate Commitment. Doing so made BSU the first institution within the Minnesota State system to formally incorporate a campus-community resilience component to prepare for the implications of a changing climate.
  • BSU has employed a full-time sustainability officer since 2008.
  • Since 2006, BSU has doubled campus recycling and reduced waste production by 30 percent.
  • Students pay a voluntary “green fee” of $7.50 per semester, which helps fund environmental stewardship, awareness and education activities.
  • BSU’s Donate, Don’t Dumpster program encourages students to donate gently used items to a FreeStore. Since it opened in 2010, the FreeStore has kept more than 10,000 items out of landfills.
  • All BSU students are required to take a course called People and the Environment, which teaches them not only about complex ecosystems but also about the social systems needed to address complex global problems, the release said.

Source: The Bemidji Pioneer