Dr. Michael Anderson, vice president for academic and student affairs, was joined on Lake Bemidji by Dr. Anna Carlson, assistant director of the BSU Sustainability Office, and other staff, students and alums to dedicate the university’s Fossil Fuel-Free Fish House at a Jan. 28 ceremony.
The ribbon-cutting kicked off the inaugural Beaver Freeze Ice-Fishing Tournament, hosted by BSU Campus Recreation.
BSU’s Fossil Fuel-Free Fish House, which is being made available for BSU students to rent through the Outdoor Program Center, stems from an idea that first originated in 2014 to use the university’s unique relationship with Lake Bemidji to showcase the potential of solar energy. That idea led to a collaborative effort between BSU, Northwest Technical College and several community partners including the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) and Northland Tackle.
The project began with a 6.5-foot-by-12-foot shell acquired from Parkers Prairie, Minn.-based Firebrand Fish Houses. RREAL installed a solar-powered furnace in the shell, which was then taken to Northwest Technical College for the installation of a 255-watt solar voltaic panel. NTC faculty Grant Foss and Gwen Oster supervised the installation of the panel as a class project. While the solar panel installation was taking place, a group at Leech Lake Tribal College worked to repurpose pine boards that were part of the Outdoor Program Center’s original interior walls, when that office was located in BSU’s Hobson Memorial Union, into tongue-and-groove interior walls for the house.
BSU students, led by now-graduated Tyler Massey, completed the interior of the house under the supervision of Dr. Tim Brockman, associate professor of technology, art and design. That group completed the house’s interior layout, woodwork, insulation and flooring and installed the house’s stove, table, benches, fan and ice hole covers. BSU electricians Matt Marsh and Mike Schmitt completed wiring work on the house and installed batteries and lighting systems.
Construction of the Fossil Fuel-Free Fish House was made possible by BSU’s student Green Fee, the Sustainable Campus Endowment and the contributions of a private donor.