BSU Sustainability Office Spearheads Recycling Initiative at 2019 Hockey Day Minnesota

Students from Bemidji State University’s Office of Sustainability helped coordinate recycling efforts for the 2019 Hockey Day Minnesota event held in Bemidji, Minn. in mid-January.

Aili Kultala, a senior studying environmental studies from Stacy, Minn., and Jon Barcenas, a senior studying project management from Bemidji, Minn., worked with BSU staff to develop a strategic recycling plan that would be both effective and efficient for the entirety of the event.

Students collaborated with the City of Bemidji’s Waste Management to provide and pick-up recycling containers at the event. Kultala and Barcenas worked shifts throughout the three-day event to make sure the recycling bins were strategically placed where people could find them and that the bins were brought to the road-side each night after the festivities so Waste Management could easily empty them into their truck. Within three days, the amount of recycled material totaled 1,780 pounds.

Photo of the recycling bins at the 2019 Hockey Day Minnesota, Bemidji.
Photo of the recycling bins and recycling poster at the 2019 Hockey Day Minnesota, Bemidji.

“I was blown away,” Kultala said. “I didn’t know what to expect. We just knew it was better to have the recycling than to not have it. It was awesome to know that we stepped in, helped out and provided that service.”

This event was a great opportunity for students to showcase Bemidji State’s sustainability initiatives and bring to light how important it is to recycle and save materials from a landfill.

“It was a great opportunity to work with this event,” Barcenas said. “By providing recycling, we hope to change people’s behavior.”


About the sustainability office

The Sustainability Office serves as a facilitator in Bemidji State University’s commitment to sustainability. They are a collaborative group of staff, students, faculty and administrators whose goal is to create a more ecologically and economically sustainable campus community.

The office is responsible for the education, communication, planning and management of environmental issues on campus. They are also expected to participate in community environmental initiatives. Their mission is to promote awareness and passion for the Earth through their leadership in operational, academic, wellness, community and cultural activities. They strive to exemplify and create a culture that can exist indefinitely while in balance with the rest of nature.


MN State logoBemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,100 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. The university’s Shared Fundamental Values include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and international and multicultural understanding. For more, visit or find us at BemidjiState on most of your favorite social media networks.