Bemidji State Makes a New Commitment to Mother Earth and Sustainability on Campus

Bemidji State University President Faith C. Hensrud signed Second Nature’s Climate Commitment during BSU’s annual Feast of Green celebration on April 8 at the American Indian Resource Center.

The Climate Commitment builds on Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment, a pledge to become carbon neutral by 2050 made by colleges and universities across the nation, signed by former BSU President Dr. Jon E. Quistgaard in 2008 and renewed by President Hensrud in 2017. By signing the Climate Commitment, BSU takes an oath to integrate carbon neutrality with climate resilience and provide a systems approach to mitigating and adapting to a changing climate.

“The exciting thing about the Climate Commitment is that we, as an institution, have already made great progress toward the Carbon Commitment. I also appreciated the community connection aspect of the resiliency component,” Hensrud said. “When I looked at everything the Climate Commitment entails it was easy to say, ‘this is a program in which Bemidji State University can be a nationwide leader.'”

Jordan Lutz, sustainability project manager, is looking forward to what resilience planning will look like for the university in the years to come.

“Resilience planning is a holistic endeavor, in collaboration with community partners, to determine vulnerabilities in the face of a changing climate and address those vulnerabilities through proactive solutions,” he said. “We will be working to identify our strengths and priorities moving forward.”

The Feast of Green, a meal to acknowledge the sustainability efforts of students, faculty and staff both on campus and in the community, also featured 2019 school year project presentations by students working with BSU’s Sustainability Office. Projects include planting a Centennial garden on campus, spearheading recycling efforts for Hockey Day Minnesota and planning the Arts of the Earth festival.

“I’m excited to see the energy and enthusiasm of the students in the projects they are working on,” President Hensrud said. “To know that with their energy and commitment, our world is in much better hands.”

During the event, Erika Bailey-Johnson, sustainability coordinator, named BSU alumna Tessa Haagenson as the 2019 Amik Award recipient. The awards’ name comes from the Ojibwe word for “beaver” and each recipient is gifted a wooden beaver hand-made from a white pine tree that used to be on campus. The awards are carved by a local woodworker, and given to someone who has made a lasting impact on sustainability at BSU, Bailey-Johnson said.

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Bemidji 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 bemidjistate.edu or find us at BemidjiState on most of your favorite social media networks.