Looking Towards the Future: BSU Seeks Community Feedback on Resiliency

President Faith Hensrud signs Second Nature's Climate Commitment
(Photo from 2017) President Faith Hensrud signs Second Nature’s Climate Commitment while Jordan Lutz,
sustainability project manager, Connor Newby, former Student Senate president, Corrie Stockman, former Student Senate vice president, Anna Hayes, former student senator and Sustainability Office employee, and Erika Bailey-Johnson, sustainability coordinator, look on.

Bemidji State University’s Climate Action Team is seeking feedback and community input into the university’s ongoing climate resilience planning efforts.

BSU President Faith C. Hensrud signed the Second Nature Climate Commitment in April 2019, reaffirming the university’s long-standing leadership in campus sustainability. In signing the commitment, Hensrud pledged that Bemidji State would adapt to a changing environment by integrating carbon-usage goals and climate resilience work into its long-term planning initiatives.

“Bemidji State is excited to work with our communities and strengthen our relationship with the water, land and world around us,” Hensrud said. “The university’s roots run deep in Northern Minnesota and with the help of our neighbors, I am confident that we can make the best commitment to climate resiliency and future of our shared communities.”

Second Nature defines resilience as the ability to survive disruption and to anticipate, adapt and flourish in the face of change. Jordan Lutz, BSU’s sustainability project manager, said the coronavirus outbreak will significantly influence the university’s resiliency planning in the years to come.

“A global pandemic is a great example of the need to think about how we can become more resilient in the face of a changing world,” he said. “Thankfully, our community’s long history of environmental stewardship sets the foundation for our work of assessing and planning for greater campus-community resilience.”

To develop a Campus & Community Resilience Plan and updated Climate Action Plan, Bemidji State has partnered with Precipitate, a Minneapolis-based architecture planning and research firm. Their work began in July with a data-gathering and assessment process, followed by campus tours with BSU’s longstanding Environmental Advisory Committee.

At the same time, conversations began with key stakeholders, exploring their unique perspectives on how Bemidji State can better understand the impact of building climate resilience. Representatives from the City of Bemidji, Beltrami County, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board and Concordia Language Villages, among others, participated in these conversations.

“It’s not only pinpointing the vulnerabilities throughout the community and the ways in which we are not prepared, Lutz said, ”but also lifting up the ways we are prepared and identifying the things we hold as high value in Bemidji and broader area.“

Dr. Anna Carlson, assistant professor of environmental studies and member of the Environmental Advisory Committee, will be engaging two of her classes this academic year in the resilience-planning process.

“The students will be helping to facilitate community discussions with a number of different stakeholders to help determine the strengths and vulnerabilities people see in this community,” she said. “This will help to determine common themes and potential strategies the university and city might consider as we look to build a more resilient community in the face of many changing conditions.”

Funding for Precipitate’s services was secured through a grant from the McKnight Foundation.

Provide Campus Resiliency Feedback Online

Campus Resiliency Feedback Zoom Sessions

To register for one of the following feedback sessions, visit https://www.bemidjistate.edu/offices/sustainability/bemidji-resiliency-planning/listening-sessions/.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 1 – 9:30-10:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 1 – 3-4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 1 – 7-8 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 3 – 12-1 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 3 – 5-6 p.m.




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 around 5,000 students, Bemidji State offers 70 undergraduate areas of study and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select pre-professional programs. At Bemidji State University, we educate people to lead inspired lives. BSU’s Shared Fundamental Values include civic engagement and leadership, international and multicultural understanding, belief in the power of liberal arts, and environmental stewardship. BSU is a Minnesota State university. For more, visit bemidjistate.edu or find us at BemidjiState on your favorite social media networks.