Skip Navigation

Sustainability Blog

← Back to BSU Sustainability Home

Archive for 2014

Nov 18

Hagg-Sauer Waste Audit Results

Published in 2014

The Sustainability Office dug through all the trash from Hagg-Sauer Hall the week of November 3rd (trust me…it’s fun!). Our primary focus is to assess how many recyclables are ending up in the garbage. Here are our results since 2011:

YEAR Total waste collected (lbs) % fiber that could have been recycled % containers that could have been recycled % non-recyclables (garbage)
2011 221.5 13.32% 8.13% 78.6%
2012 339.3 11.1% 6.5% 82.5%
2013 288.6 6.3% 5.8% 87.9%
2014 328.9 11.2% 9.0% 79.7%

We noticed that there were a lot more glass containers than usual this year which would add a significant amount of weight. We are thinking of separating the types of containers (aluminum, glass, plastic, etc.) in the future to better assess trends. There was also a lot of paper in the garbage that could have been recycled. The percentage of both fiber and containers was higher than we’d like to see. In the next few days, I’ll be sending out a reminder of what can be recycled to remind folks.

Thanks to Trevor Plendl, our office Zero Waste Coordinator, for managing this project!

Read About it →

Oct 20

Half Way to Earth Day and Campus Sustainability Day Events

Published in 2014

Halfway to Earth Day is another chance to celebrate our planet! The halfway mark falls on Wednesday, October 22 and this year we have a number of activities planned. We’ll kick off the event at 11am with the local farmer’s market, which will be stationed at Lakeside until 2 pm. While you peruse, you’ll also be able to listen to some great music from Eric Armburst, Allison Pasiuk, and Luke Barnard. The festivities will resume later that evening with a showing of the documentary Bitter Seeds, a film that strives to explore the problems with Monsanto and farmers in third world countries. We’ll begin the showing at 7pm in room 115 of Bensen Hall. Finally, we’ll cap off our celebration on Thursday with a cooking workshop by Trevor Smith, an experienced cook from Concordia Language Villages, in the AIRC at 4 pm

Read About it →

Sep 8

Where can I get my orange bike?

Published in 2014

Those orange bikes you are seeing all around campus are called Nice Ride bikes. There are 100 out in the community and 100 here on campus for students to use- check one out today! Here are the steps:

1. Visit and click Rent a Bike. Choose the location where you’d like to start your rental. Note the hours for each location- you might chose the Tourist Information Center if you wanted to get an early start or the BSU Boathouse if you want to go out after work. The coupon works for all locations. 
2. Choose one of the bikes (they’re all the same style but some might already by reserved for some dates) and then fill out the Pick up and Drop Off times.  

3. Provide your contact information- remember your password so you don’t have to enter this information next time. 

4. Read, check and sign the rental agreement. 

5. Add Credit Card- in order to make a reservation, even for a free rental, we need a valid credit card on file. 

6. Enter the code
 BJIRIDES (case sensitive) and click Apply Coupon. Your amount due should drop by $12, and if you reserved for 2 hours, you amount due will be $0!
7. Finish your reservation by clicking the Submit Payment or Secure Rental button. 

8. Go to your chosen location and tell them your name when you are ready to pick up your bike- and have a great time!

If you would also like to rent a bike for the semester, there will be a booth at the Beaver Organization Bash for those of you who would like to do so. The cost is $40.00- a steal!

See you on the trails!

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact Melinda at


Read About it →

Aug 8

Welcome back!

Published in 2014

Boozoo (hello in Ojibwe)!

We are excited to have everyone back on campus! Our office has been busy preparing for the arrival of new students as well as returning ones. BSU takes pride in its environmental movements, with Environmental Stewardship as one of its three Signature Themes. Here is a list of sustainability projects YOU can take advantage of while you study at BSU:

1. Elkay Water filling stations. We are working towards our goal of having at least one of these filtered water-bottle filling stations in every building! Use them to fill your reusable water bottle.

2. Freshman and new transfer students make sure you get your free (yes I said free) water bottle of coffee mug from the Sustainability Office.


3. Bucky’s Nice Ride.  This program is a semester long bike rental program for students.

4. Volunteer Opportunities. Whether it is through our office or out in the community, we have opportunities for you to fill your service learning hours!

5. Events. We have events going on all the time- make sure to like us on Facebook for all the updates!

6. Recycling. We recycle containers (tins, glass, aluminum, and #1 and 2 plastic) and fibers (cardboard, office paper phone books, magazines) here on campus- make sure to sort your trash!

7. Students for the Environment. SFE is the student organization with a mission to educate campus on environmental issues. For more information, contact Jordan at

You pay $5 for the Green Fee every semester- take advantage of what we do for you!

If you have more questions or ideas for a project, contact Erika and, 218-755-2560, or stop in the Sustainability Office, located in the Lower Hobson Union across from the bookstore!

Read About it →

Jul 23

Sustainable Places Tour- This Saturday!

Published in 2014


It is our pleasure to invite you to our 3rd Annual Sustainable Places Tour (formerly the Sustainable Homes Tour) THIS SATURDAY, July 26th with multiple tours offered between 9-5 throughout the day. This event has been coordinated by the Bemidji Sustainability Committee, with members from our university and surrounding community.

The Bemidji Sustainability Committee began in 2009 as a loose coalition of sustainability advocates, and its goal is to promote sustainable values in the community through education, policy and planning work, and programs and events like this tour! The committee meets on the first Wednesday of every month, and meetings are open to all interested individuals.
The Sustainability Committee had the idea for a Sustainable Places Tour two years ago.  We’re really glad that this has become an annual event and have been looking for ways to expand the tour’s reach and scope in the coming years.  We feel it is important to recognize the great work that local sites are doing in adopting green building techniques.  Since many homeowners are on-the-fence about adopting these technologies or have questions, we think this tour showcases some options that can help people know how to implement them at home!

The first PDF is a copy of the flyer with site descriptions and tour times. The second PDF has a suggested bike tour map on one side and driving map on the other.
When Google mapping the Sustainable Shoreline site, use “Ol’” not “Old.” You will not easily find it if you type “old.”
Special notes~   Luekens: Meet at Deli, Cap at 30
Harmony: Cap at 15

Sustainable Shoreline: Look for the volunteer to show you where to park.
Thank you for your support and see you Saturday!


Read About it →

Jul 16

Summer Projects 2014

Published in 2014

We are busy as bees this summer with a variety of projects! One project that has been on-going up to this point and keeping us dirty is rescuing all the plants from the areas around the buildings that will be under construction in the upcoming months. We moved plants from behind Memorial Hall and by the Low Mow area and moved them to the American Indian Resource Center. We also moved plants from the Laurel House into a rock garden we have named the “Rescue Garden.”


Another project that started this past semester is a sustainable fish house. The house would be equipped with solar electricity and solar hot air to power and heat the house. Our office is partnering with NTC to have students do the construction and the house would be available for students to rent through the Outdoor Program Center here at BSU. We are hoping to have this project complete by this fall so we can have it in the homecoming parade and ready for students to enjoy!


Gitigaan is always a fun project that we have done the past three summers. Gitigaan is Ojibwe for garden. Student, faculty, staff, as well as community members are able to rent a plot for the summer. There are 28 plots, all of which fill up fast each spring! Around the outer edge of the garden are plants that our office takes care of, but are free for anyone to take. This year we have potatoes, onions, lettuce, carrots, and more available!


We are also in the beginning stages of planning for an outdoor classroom. The space would feature wooden benches from the white pines that were taken down next to the football field last summer. We are excited to get students outside to learn!


We will be keeping you updated about other events and projects going on here at BSU as well as the community! If you have any ideas or questions feel free to contact Erika at or 218-755-2560.

Read About it →

Jul 9

Sustainable Places Tour

Published in 2014


Read About it →

Jul 7

Bemidji Sustainable Places Tour

Published in 2014

Save the date for the Third Annual Bemidji Sustainable Places Tour! The Bemidji Sustainability Committee has put together a variety of hour-long tours from 9am to 5pm on Saturday July 26. See how local citizens and businesses reduce their energy costs, increase their independence, reduce their water usage, increase their food independence, use natural and renewable materials in constructions sites, reduce solid waste, and maintain natural shoreline. There will also be a suggested bike route for those of you wanting to travel by bike!

For more information, contact MN GreenCorps Member Sara Dennision at or 218-755-3765. Also a special thanks to the MN GreenCorps, the city of Bemidji, and Bemidji State University for helping with this successful event!

Read About it →

May 20

Landscaping Event

Published in 2014

Thought we’d send you a heads up about this exciting event happening at the end of the month!

“Sustainable Landscaping:  Weeds or Wonderful?”

Saturday, May 31st, 9a.m. to Noon; American Indian Resource Center, Gathering Place, Bemidji State University; parking is free

Register at (Max of 30 participants, so sign up early!)

So, what is beautiful landscaping?  Is it a manicured lawn that takes so much time, money, and resources to maintain?  Or is it a space that is rich in biodiversity and promotes the health of people and the planet?   Sign up for this free workshop on Saturday, May 31st, to learn more about sustainable landscaping, including what you can and can’t do with your lot if you live within the city limits.  Local experts will discuss choosing locations and plants to benefit the soil and pollinators, including both native plants and vegetable gardening.  This workshop is geared towards city residents, but anyone can register.  This workshop is sponsored by the City of Bemidji Sustainability Committee, Karvakko Engineering, and the Bemidji State University Sustainability Office.  Presenters will include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Beltrami County Master Gardeners, the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board, a landscape architect, and a local permaculture expert.

Please direct questions specifically about this event to:

Erika Bailey-Johnson
Sustainability Coordinator
Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College
1500 Birchmont Dr. NE, #31
Bemidji, MN  56601

Read About it →

Apr 28

Finals Approaching

Published in 2014


Hey everybody!

With finals approaching quickly, a lot of people may be stressed and in need of a break at the worst possible time. Though it is important to study and prepare, it is also important to have balance.

5 Tips For Finals:

1. Go take a walk: If you need a break, get outdoors! A ten minute walk outside will allow thoughts to drift away and make it easier to focus when you come back.

2. Socialize: Be sure that as well as studying, you leave time to communicate with others. This is a great way to relax and a little bit of social time may put you in a better mood. This in turn could help focus on work!

3. Keep It Clean: Working in a clean space helps create order. Decluttering your work space will create a more focused environment. And in turn, create more effective study results

4. Refuel Properly:  Finals week is rough enough as it is. Eating healthy is an awesome way to ensure that your body is running at peak performance! Healthy Brain Foods listed here

5. Sleep: Getting enough sleep is crucial to success. Going to a final exhausted will potentially lower scores on subjects you actually studied for! Your mind will thank you for getting a solid amount of sleep. (Your grades will too)

5. Schedule Everything: Around finals time be sure to bring your planner everywhere. Schedule in times to study for specific subjects, and for relaxation and social time. When everything is laid out in an organized way, it declutters the mind and allows for clear and focused thinking. You can also use an online calendar if you don’t want to carry a planner with you.



Read About it →

Apr 24


Published in 2014

Tonight marks the last Documentary Thursday of Earth Month. At 7:30 in Bensen 115 there will be a showing of TappedThis film takes a closer look at the water bottle industry and asks the question “Is access to clean drinking water a basic human right, or a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce?”

This is obviously a big issue in the world we currently live in. Though we do not necessarily struggle with a water shortage in Minnesota, it is an issue that raises concern. What is the real price of every bottle of water purchased? Is it simply a question of sticker price? Sadly, the real cost is much higher.


Apr 22

Earth Day

Published in 2014

Happy Earth Day!

Today we celebrated Earth Day with a bunch of cool activities. There was live music, a drum circle, a farmers market, drawings for prizes, and a sustainable meal!

The farmers market involved some pretty awesome arts and crafts, and a lot of locally produced goods to be purchased. Students won really cool prizes, and the live music was pretty awesome!

The day is not over yet! Tonight at the American Indian Resource center at 5:30 there is a presentation on Local Water Quality Issues. There will be lots of information on Lake Bemidji, as well as other water sources in the state and around the area. It should be lots of fun!

Also, there are a lot of cool events happening later this week.

Tomorrow will bring a Geocaching adventure!From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. there will be a GPS check out and bike rental available at Lakeside. There will also be a Grease Waste Presentation at the AIRC followed by North Country Trail Presentation.

Thursday at 5:30 p.m. there will be a Traditional Skills Workshop on Safe Water Treatment. Sign up for this in The Sustainability Office! There will also be a documentary once again at 7:30 p.m. in Bensen 115!

Friday is the Lake Shore Clean Up at 3. Sign up is also in The Sustainability Office and the group will meet in the Bangsberg parking lot. There will also be a Beach Party: HMU After Hours at 9 p.m. in Memorial 100.

Saturday there will be a 5K & 10K at 9 a.m. Participants will meet at the rec center lobby to Stride Into Spring!

Keep the Earth Month spirit going as we head towards the end of April and have fun with all our events!

Read About it →

Apr 9

Earth Month Has Arrived

Published in 2014

Hey Friends!

Earth Month is upon us, and there is a lot going on!

We started this month-long celebration with a documentary last Thursday and The Undie Run yesterday. Both went very well, but this is just the beginning. Today many from the office are presenting at the Student Achievement Day! There is opportunity to learn about what the green fee goes to, and also what projects are currently taking place at BSU.

Also, at every Earth Month event you will have the opportunity to put your name in to win a bike. A brand new, amazing bike!

Basically, there is a lot of super awesome stuff happening. The Sustainability Office will be updating  a lot to keep you in the loop, so be a part of the awesome events and support the Earth!


Read About it →

Feb 20

Do It In The Dark

Published in 2014

Hello All,

Do It In The Dark is an energy-saving competition on campus. Each of the dormitories on campus is currently in the running to see who will save the most energy. This project makes students aware of how much energy they are consuming in their everyday lives. The goal of this competition is to reduce energy use as much as possible. The winning dormitory will be rewarded with a party, prizes, and the Do It In The Dark traveling trophy.

Enjoy the following tips and learn how to reduce your energy consumption:

Turn Off Your Lights:

This may seem simple, but remembering to flip the lights off when they aren’t necessary or you leave the room can conserve a whole lot of electricity! This is a really good habit to develop. Just remember your mom’s voice telling you this, it’ll help.

Set Your Thermostat Correctly:

If you turn your thermostat down just 1 degree, you could save $10 a month! Also, if you’re leaving for an extended period of time you can change the thermostat to a lower temperature. This will save money and energy!

Unplug When Not Using:

Unplug chargers, power strips, and unnecessary appliances when you aren’t using them! They draw energy whenever they are plugged in. Only plug them in when you need them. Sometimes just turning things off is not enough!


The next time you shop for a computer, consider opting for a laptop instead of a desktop can save a lot of energy. Also, put your computer in sleep mode when you don’t need to use it. This will put the computer in power-saving mode

Use A Power Strip

Using a power strip makes it easier to shut things down all at once. Instead of unplugging several things, you only need to flip one switch. There are even smart power strips that automatically turn off when nothing is being used. 





"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to see it with love & respect."
~ Aldo Leopold