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Archive for 2012

Dec 20

Green your Holidays!

Published in 2012

From us here at the Sustainability Office, we hope you have a safe, happy and green Holiday Season! Check out these interesting tips from the Environmental Protection Agency on how to have a “green holiday”:

1. Create your own decorations! Reuse old greeting cards and make garland using popcorn and potpourri made from kitchen spices, like cinnamon and cloves. (Pinterest is a great hub for other people to share their crafty ideas!)

2. Turn off your holiday lights during the day, better yet, but a timer so you don’t forget!

3. Shop green. Buy recycled products or products with minimal packaging. Also, bring your own reusable bags when shopping.

4. Wrap gifts in reused wrapping paper or newspaper (I personally like to use gift bags).

5. Donate old toys and decorations instead of throwing them out.

6. After dinner, fill your dishwasher to capacity before running it. This will reduce energy and water!

For more ideas, check out their website at

Happy Holidays!


Nov 21

Sled Dogs to Saint Paul next Tuesday, November 27th @ 7:30 pm in HS 100!

Published in 2012

On Tuesday, November 27th at 7:30 pm in Hagg-Sauer 100, Frank Moe,  former Minnesota State Representative, will share an inspiring story for all who can make it!

Frank mushed his team of 10 sled dogs from Grand Marais to the Capitol in St. Paul this March, carrying nearly 13,000 petition signatures opposing sulfide mining.

Come join Frank and take a closer look at sulfide mining through the eyes of people who have a stake in the proposed expansion of mining in northeastern Minnesota:  business and property owners, legislators, wild ricers, tribal officials, community activists and many of the people who helped him along the way.  The night’s presentation which includes both video and discussion, will surely be a fast-paced examination of local economics, environmental activism, corporate might, Minnesota’s mining legacy and the role that clean water resource play in the future health and wealth of the state known as “the land of 10,000 lakes.”

For more information visit: or call Erika at 218-755-2560 and we look forward to seeing you there!

When: Tuesday, November 27th, 7:30 pm

Where: Hagg-Sauer 100 (BSU) Free and Open to the Public!

Sponsored by Outdoor Program Center, Students for the Environment & BSU Sustainability Office


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Nov 21

Campus Votes on Favorite Ways to Spend Green Fee!

Published in 2012

Over the past few weeks, the Sustainability Office has been gathering input from BSU students, faculty, and staff about their input on how they’d like to see the Green Fee spent.

In order to gather this input, a unique system was created where the office wrote out over 30 different ideas/ways that the Green Fee can continue to be used on large presentation-sized paper sheets (space was provided for indidvidual’s own ideas too). Next, at several key events including BSU’s celebration of National Campus Sustainability Day and a Student Senate meeting as well as several lunch hours in the Viking Room in the Lower Union, individuals were given five stickers to vote on how they would like to see the fee spent.


Overall, more than 130 people have voted and given what we’ve found, we’d love to share our results so far with you! The most noticeable finding was that a broad majority (in fact the top four) areas that people suggested we can continue to focus the use of the Green Free is in improving local access to foods on campus.

For a fun visual graphic of the top twelve Green Fee Votes, click on the link for a PDF.

And overall, we’ll provide the total vote tally below as well.

Thanks so much for all who voted and if you missed your chance, it’s not too late, we would love your input, stop by the Sustainability Office at any time or give Erika a call at 218-755-2560!


Bale own cardboard 1
Campus-wide Sustainability Review 1
E-waste management 1
Bio-diesel bus for sports 2
Linen service in bathroom 2
Vegetarian info panel 3
Paper free testing 3
Dual flush toilets 3
Require profs to use D2L 3
Car rental 4
Geothermal energy 4
Wintering windows 4
Improve transit schedule 5
Sustainability minor/emphasis 5
Rental property efficiency 5
Promote ride sharing 8
Hybrid fleet 8
Eliminate disposable cups 9
Green cleaning products 9
Ban bottled water 10
Sustainability Theme Res Life floor 10
Ronald McDonald House Pop-tab Collection 11
Recycled plastic bottle caps/gowns 12
Green Roofs 13
Biofuel 14
More air dryers in bathrooms 14
Bike options 17
Green building standards 25
Composting leftovers 26
Chicken coop 27
Garage sale 28
Harvest rainwater 30
Promote rental/ebooks 32
Solar panels 32
Old furniture available for students 32
Wind Turbine 32
Notification system for cancelled classes 37
Edible gardens 44
Farmers Market on campus 48
Organic/vegetarian options 64



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Oct 26

BSU Focuses On Reducing Car Pollution & Improving Fleet Vehicles Gas Mileage!

Published in 2012

We all know that automobiles produce a great deal of pollution and yet most of us still depend on them daily to help with transportation.  What can we do about it, you might ask?

Someone that is trying to do something about it is Dylan Sievers, BSU Student Senator and Sustainability Office employee. Sievers has been working with the campus’ Environmental Advisory Committee and Sustainability Coordinator Erika Bailey-Johnson to develop a Fleet Vehicle Policy for BSU.

Focusing on ways to improve the university vehicle’s gas mileage, acquistion of more efficient vehicles, and even considering tying this focus into an overall campus transportation policy, Sievers has begun to work with different interest groups across campus to help put the best (non-gas-pedal) foot forward.

In the process, he’s looked to what other universities are doing, like Purdue, whose Fleet Vehicle Policy is often thought of in its field as a Best Practice Model:

If you’re interested in finding out more about the impact of combustion engines to our surrounding world and how you can get involved with improving our campus’ Fleet Vehicle Policy, come down to the Sustainability Office or call Erika, 218-755-2560.

Feel free to check out the following image and information taken from Allison Morris at as well!

Electric Cars

There are over 250 million [cars] in the US alone, and they pump out greenhouse gases by the truckload each day. For those looking to reduce their carbon footprint, electric cars have, for quite a few years now, been the most popular alternative to gas-powered cars. While electric cars are certainly considered to be the more eco-friendly mode of transportation, there is some discussion as to just how much greener electric vehicles really are. If you’re thinking that your next car might be an electric one, consider the following infographic before you settle on which e-vehicle you want. The fact is that, unbeknownst to most consumers, the “greenness” of your electric car depends a lot on just where you’re plugging it in. For residents of some cities, electric cars there may be far less green than in others. For those living in cities powered primarily by coal, the energy being expended in charging your car might be just as detrimental to the environment as just driving a gasoline-powered car. Since electric cars are typically more expensive than gas-fueled vehicles, the savvy car consumer should pause before buying and ask, “will an electric car really be greener in my city?”


Green Cars Infographic

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Oct 17

Upcoming Sustainability Events! Politics! Environments! Student Life!

Published in 2012

Bemidji State University’s Sustainability Office is hosting several exciting events in the week ahead that the whole community will be invited to!  Between the chance to talk with your elected officials on important issues and free local food and reusable water bottles, there’s plenty of incentives to attend!  We look forward to seeing you there!

4:30 - 6:30

Bemidji State HS 107

Tuesday, Oct. 23: Politics and the Environment 
Have questions about environmental and natural resources policies in this upcoming election? State Senators John Carlson & Tom Saxhaug as well as State Representative John Persell and city councilmember Rita Albrecht will come together to discuss their positions and plans. Join us at BSU in Hagg Sauer 107 at 4:30 for a moderated discussion and Q&A. Parking available at the American Indian Resource Center.

From Minnesota GreenCorps, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Rail River Folk School and Bemidji State University

10th Annual National Campus Sustainability Day
Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 at noon in HS 107
Free Wild Rice Hotdish & Water Bottles or Coffee Mugs for first 50 students!
See a panel of BSU students, faculty and staff who will discussion what sustainability means to them including:

·         Mark Morrissey, Director of Outdoor Program Center

·         Dr. Laurie Desiderato, Psychology Professor

·         Chinwuba Okafor, Assistant Director of Student Life

·         Zach Olson, Adjunct Instructor of English

·         Nick Nelson, Student Body Co-President

·         Ariadne Donovan, Student Birthday Girl

·         Dr. Randy Ludeman, Associate Director of Residential Life 

If you have any questions or want more information, contact Erika Bailey Johnson at 218-755-2560 and we look forward to seeing you there to help us celebrate the many ways that Bemidji State is leading in the sustainability movement across college campuses nation-wide!


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Sep 28

Traditional Skills Workshops

Published in 2012

This month’s Traditional Skills workshop is broken down into 3 parts:

Food Preservation: Here we will learn the basics of food preservation. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, October 2nd  in the AIRC from 7 to 8:30 pm.

Canning Tomatoes: In this workshop we will learn how to can tomatoes. The workshop will be held on Saturday, October 6th in the AIRC from 10am to 1pm

Cooking with Canned Goods: In this workshop we will used our canned tomatoes to make chili and spaghetti sauce. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, November 14th in the AIRC from 6 to 8pm

There is limited space for each workshop, so sign up in the Sustainability Office today! We are currently located in the Upper Hobson Memorial Union across from the Information Desk.  The workshops are FREE for students, $7 for non-students. If you have any questions, please contact Erika Bailey-Johnson at 218-755-2560 or





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Sep 7

Traffic Skills 101

Published in 2012

Traffic Skills 101 is a class to help students improve their bicycle knowledge and give them the confidence they need to ride safely and legally in traffic or on trails. With the help of a Green Fee Mini Grant, the class is available to students for FREE! The class will be held on September 15th in Ozawindib in the Lower Hobson Union from 8 am to noon and Sunday September 16th in the Bangsberg Parking lot from 1pm to 6pm. Register now at and- enter student promom code BEMIDJI. For more information, contact Erika Bailey Johnson at or 218-755-2560.

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Aug 27

Welcome Back!!!

Published in 2012

You’ll notice a few changes that took place over the summer for the Sustainability Office. For one, we are temporarily located in the H2O room in the Upper Hobson Union until the remodeling of the Lower Hobson Union is complete (we are hoping for mid-October). Unfortunately, this means the FreeStore is in storage for the time being. We are already planning for a GRAND OPENING, though, so stay tuned!

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Jul 26

Bemidji Sustainable Homes Tour Planned for Saturday, July 28th!

Published in 2012

The Bemidji Sustainability Committee is sponsoring the first annual Bemidji Sustainable Homes tour July 28th.

The tour will feature seven homes in our region that are leading the way in integrating sustainable practices into their home design.

The tour starts at 9 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. Each home will be open to the public for a one-hour period, with tours happening on the half hour.

Click here to be directed to an interactive Google Map of the tour

The addresses and open-house time frames for all homes are provided within brochures located at several city locations including City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, Harmony Co-op, and Lueken’s Village Foods North.  Click here for your own copy of the: 2012 Bemidji Sustainable Homes Tour

Come see how local residents reduced their energy costs, increased their energy independence, reduced their water usage, increased their food independence, used natural and renewable materials in constructing their homes, and reduced solid waste.

At 1 pm and 1:30 pm, Windsong, Bemidji’s only LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified building will be providing tours.  Sanford Health’s Windsong Senior Living was Minnesota’s first LEED certified building for elder-care. Find out how LEED has helped provide a framework for Windsong in identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, and maintenance solutions.

   Milt and Jamie Lee’s straw bale design home will be featured from 10 am to 11 am.  The Lee’s dream was “to build a house that worked gently with the land and not against it.”  Featuring lower-impact earth bag layers for foundation and a pole structure frame, their home is built with straw bale walls that have been covered with a natural plaster made of local sand, clay, straw, and other fiber.  The walls are 22 inches thick with a potential insulation value of R50. The thick walls give the house a special quality—soft, quiet, and comfortable.

The home of Al and Catie Belleveau will be featured from 12 pm to 1 pm. Inspired by Cate’s overseas teaching stint in Kyrgyzstan, the tour will include organic gardens and a traditional Kyrgz folk tale told inside the handmade yurt built by Al when he attended the North House Folk School yurt building class in Grand Marais. This yurt will be used to house the first artists to come on retreat in the soon to be open “Belle Thalia Creative Arts Space” for arts and environmental education in Puposky.

The Village of Hope is being featured as the final home on the tour, with tours at 3 pm and 3:30 pm. According to Executive Director, Sandy Hennum “the Village of Hope pairs social responsibility with environmental stewardship. Therefore we can serve more families.” The tour will highlight features including passive solar heat stored in the home’s cement floors, in-floor hydronic heating on its main floor, timers on faucets and lights, and external solar shade on the south side of the house. Equally exciting is that Village of Hope has begun working on Phase 2, which when completed will include a solar energy system for the home.

The tour is free and open to all members of the Bemidji area, though the coordinators ask that interested attendees pre-register. For registration and questions, contact Brett Cease with your name, contact information, the houses and times you plan on touring at            218.755.3765       or

Local resources on living sustainably from the Sustainability Committee, Beltrami Electric, Otter Tail Power, and other community organizations will be available at each site.

The Bemidji Sustainability Committee promotes sustainable values in the community through, education, policy and planning, and programs, events, building and fostering strategic partnerships and initiatives.  Their meetings are open to all interested public and are held on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 pm at the City Hall.

The tour will be held rain or shine. Set aside the date, wear comfortable clothing and footwear, and join us for the 2012 Sustainable Homes Tour!

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Jun 25

Garden Tour and Ladyslipper Festival Appearances for the Sustainability Office!

Published in 2012

This past weekend the Sustainability Office was busy providing information and educational resources to the larger northern Minnesota community.

On Saturday, the BSU native landscaping gardens were featured in the 2012 Bemidji Master Gardener tour.  Dylan Sievers was available on campus to give tours .  This was a great opportunity for community members to learn about the benefits of native landscaping and the environmental and economic advantages of low-maintenance gardening.  For more information about the kinds of plants and seeds that BSU uses in their gardens and the new Low Mow project, give the office a call at 755-2560.

Also on Saturday, John Frazier represented the University and its commitment to Sustainability at the Blackduck LadySlipper Festival.  With a beautiful new mural of northern Minnesota themes at the table, John interacted with many local residents regarding things going on campus to reduce our carbon footprint and what they can do to conserve energy and reduce their own footprint at home.

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Apr 23

Stride into Spring 5K winners

Published in 2012

This year’s Stride into Spring 5K/10K was on a cold, rainy day, but that didn’t deter our amazing runners! Up for prizes were Steger mukluks and Paul Bunyan Jacs. This year’s winners of the mukluks are Polly Aitken, and our very own Green Corp member Brett Cease! Paul Bunyan Jac winners are: Sonja Dam, Hannah Hutchins, Kelsey Shelander, Rich Moen, Stacy Truedson, Jeff Krona, and Rick Ricard. Congratulations to all of you, and thank you for participating!

Emmy Ahrens

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Apr 18

BSU is on the Princeton Review "Greenest Colleges" List

Published in 2012

Check out then article in Huffington Post:

Congrats BSU! Keep up the good work!

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Mar 28

League of American Bicyclists

Published in 2012

I found an article on Grist that was titled “One mile on a bike is a $.42 economic gain to society, one mile driving is a $.20 loss.”  It’s interesting because it discusses the socio-economic benefits of riding a bike.  Grist is referencing a blog that was posted by the League of American Bicyclists.

Read it for yourself here!

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Mar 22

Student Senate approves!

Published in 2012

On Wednesday March 14th 2012, Student Senate passed two bills that involved their support for environmental initiatives on BSU campus.

The first was about Green Buildings on campus.  Student Senate supports BSU making the next building project on campus to be LEED Silver certified; and all following capital building projects to follow LEED standards.

The other bill was regarding Renewable Energy.  Student Senate supports BSU installing Solar Transpired Air on campus, and conducting a Bio-Mass Feasibility Study.

Thank you Student Senate for creating these bills, and passing them.  This is a great step toward making BSU a more sustainable campus!


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Feb 27

Peanut Butter Project

Published in 2012

Hello all!

Just wanted to inform everyone about something wonderful happening within the community that YOU can contribute to,

In conjunction with February National Kindness Week and March National Nutrition Month a community volunteer intitiative has been developed called the Peanut Butter Project.

Please donate a jar of scrumptious peanut butter to the Peanut Butter Project, which will benefit children in our community who are in need of a nutritious food staple.

Drop jars of peanut butter off at the “Peanut Butter Drop-Off” box located in the Sustainability Office at BSU by March 31st 2012.

Proudly sponsored by:
Paul Bunyan Mall, Bemidji Community Food Shelf, Lueken’s Village Foods North & South, Marketplace Food, Harmony Natural Food Coop, Area Schools/Churches, Paul Bunyan Broadcasting, Girl Scout Troop 041, and all P.B. Recruiters.

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Feb 22

Power to the People!

Published in 2012

Right now, there is a bill (Minnesota House File 389) moving through the Legislature that if it get passed, it will weaken local government control.  So for example, if a massive or controversial project (i.e. factory farm, large shopping center, or frac sand mines) is being proposed, the local citizens of that area won’t be able to have a voice regarding that proposed project.

By taking away the voices of the people, there’s a greater chance of environmental destruction and social injustices.

Here is more detail on the subject:

What do you stand for?

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Feb 8

Cold Tub

Published in 2012

Dear Readers,
I received an email from Sustainability Coordinator Erika Bailey Johnson regarding water waste in the athletic training program that was sent from the head athletic trainer Bill Crews. He was wondering if there was a technology that could reduce water consumption because the two old conventional steel tubs used about 200 gallons of water per day. In order to keep the water cool for ice therapy, an old ice machine was used. So I have been working on this project with my colleague for about 5 months and found out that water was not the only issue. The product that we found to reduce water use and energy costs is called Cold Tub. This product is a cold and hot therapy used for athletic treatment. This product is highly affective for swollen joints, and reducing lactic acid which can help speed recovery time for athletes.
We found out that the energy to make ice for the conventional steel tubs using an older ice machine runs on 16 kWh, so for one year the cost would be about $9,110.40 to run that old ice machine. Where as the Cold Tub is running at .8 kWh the cost for one year to run is about $160.16. So the total savings on energy of this product is about $8,950.24. Not only is there an energy savings, but a cost reduction for needing less water. The water and sewer savings for the Cold Tub is about $397.01. We are now at the stage of setting the equipment up at the training facility in the Rec Center. The sustainability aspect is that this product saves Bemidji State University about $9,347.25 dollars a year on energy and water. The student Green Fee contributed $5000 dollars of this $20,000 project.

Peace, Love, and Joy

Derek Faith

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Feb 6

Published in 2012

Hello everyone!

Starting today The Campus Conservation Nationals, a national energy saving competition across college campuses, begins!  BSU is competing against over 170 different universities across the country and it lasts until February 24th.  We are one of few campuses in Minnesota competing, along with St. Ben’s and Macalester.  Along with this, there is an energy saving competition between all of the residential dorms on campus.  The winning dorm receives $300, a party, and in addition ten individuals will win a energy-saving prize as well.  The Sustainability Office and the student organization Students for the Environment are working to reduce BSU’s carbon footprint through competitions like these.


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Feb 2

'Gasland' director arrested for filming in Congress

Published in 2012

Found out that Josh Fox, the director of the impacting documentary Gasland, was arrested February 1st for trying to film a Congress committee meeting during their discussion on the fracking issue in Ohio.

Check it out


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Jan 23

NASA Finds 2011 Ninth-Warmest Year on Record

Published in 2012

Watch this 30 second video on global average temperature change over the past 120 years.

Pretty powerful….and quite rapid!  Let’s all do our part to reduce emissions.  Now.  No excuses.

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Jan 23

Creative Sustainability

Published in 2012

Found something very unique and very cool on Grist today.  Thought I would share it :-)


Hannah Hutchins

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Jan 3

Bemidji Launches "Sustainable Tuesdays!"

Published in 2012


Ganawendakamigaa endaso-niizho-giizhigak


You’re invited!

The new year is bringing an exciting, community-centered initiative to Bemidji and we need you!

Our Mission:

We will draw upon the strengths of the diversity in our region to create a sustainable Bemidji community

When: On Tuesday evenings, from 6 to 8 pm, “Sustainable Tuesdays” will feature a variety of discussions and local voices, diverse perspectives, documentaries, and hands-on learning opportunities that connect our beautiful, vibrant community.

Where: The Rail River Folk School, 303 Railroad St. SW Bemidji, MN, just across the downtown bridge and to the left.

The first month’s theme will focus on Waste, a topic that we all deal with on a daily basis.

What is it? Where does it go?  How can we reduce it?

Tea, coffee, and snacks provided!

Here’s our January line-up:

Tuesday, January 10th:  Opening Launch! The first evening will introduce the program, establish our goals, and feature a local panel of speakers that will discuss their diverse perspectives on sustainability and answer questions from the audience.

The panel will include:

Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network Executive Director

Mayana Rice, Joint Planning Board’s Administrative Planner

Laurie Desiderato, BSU Professor of Psychology

Michael Schumacher, local farmer

Brent Sicard, Lueken’s Store Director

Tuesday, January 17th: Movie Night!

Come for popcorn and watch,Garbage!,” a riveting documentary that examines our American waste-stream.  After the movie, we’ll talk trash and share ideas and tips to reduce one’s garbage footprint at home.

Tuesday, January 24th: Café Night!

Mix with local resources and sit down to discuss new ideas relating to different waste issues including:

Steve Strasser, Habitat Restore Manager: Building Supplies

Eric Pouilot, BSU Student: Compost/Organics

Brandy Toft, Leech Lake Air Quality: Compost/Burn Barrel

Josh Burnham, Vermiculture Entrepeneur: Worm Composting

Tues, Jan. 31st: Waste Expert Panel! Come find out the dirt from local authorities and ask questions about what happens to our waste after we’re through with it in Bemidji and Beltrami County:

Mike Albrecht, Waste Management Office Manager

Todd Anderson, City of Bemidji Water & Sewer Superintendent

Bill Patnaude, Beltrami County Environmental Services Director

This program is in partnership with the MN GreenCorps, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Rail River Folk School and BSU’s Sustainability Office

For more information contact:

Brett Cease, 755-3765,

Simone Senogles, 751-4967,


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"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
~ John Muir