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BSU honored for sustainability efforts

BEMIDJI—BSU recently was listed among the top 375 most environmentally responsible colleges in the country by The Princeton Review.

The Princeton Review's eighth annual "Guide to 375 Green Colleges" profiles institutions with exceptional commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings and career preparation for students, campus policies, initiatives and activities, according to a release from BSU.

The Princeton Review's Green College rating provides a measure of a school's performance as an environmentally aware and prepared institution. It measures:

• Whether students have a campus quality of life that is both healthy and sustainable.

• How well a school is preparing students for employment in the clean-energy economy of the 21st Century as well as for citizenship in a world now defined by environmental concerns and opportunities and how environmentally responsible a school's policies are.

Erika Bailey-Johnson

"This helps justify our work," Erika Bailey-Johnson, BSU's director of sustainability, said in a press release. "Not every campus has a sustainability office, but 10 years ago our administration and our students decided this is the direction they wanted to go. To be recognized in this way validates everything that BSU took a risk on 10 years ago. This is something BSU wants to be known for, and this recognition helps us feel good about our work."

The "Guide to 375 Green Colleges'" online resources include detailed "Green Facts" write-ups on many schools, reporting on a variety of subjects including a school's use of renewable energy, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.

The Princeton Review has been publishing its Guide to Green Colleges since 2011. Bemidji State University was previously listed in both 2011 and 2012.

BSU is home to one of the country's oldest environmental studies programs, including specializations in ecosystems studies, environmental policy and planning, environmental toxicology, environmental management and geohydrology, the release said. All BSU students are required to take a course called People and the Environment, which teaches them not only about complex ecosystems but also about the social systems needed to address complex global problems.

In May, BSU was one of nine post-secondary institutions nationwide to be honored with a 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Postsecondary Sustainability award.