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  • Sustainable Initiatives

Office of Campus Sustainability

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  • Sustainable Initiatives

    How can I help?

    Students, faculty, and staff can make simple changes to their daily routines to help reduce our environmental footprint.  In the November 2014 edition of the Dragon Greenwire, we reported that MSUM's utility bills for the month of October totaled $201,247.  That number is rather high and we feel confident that it can become lower of time.  Part of our initiatives in the Office of Campus Sustainability involve educating our campus and local community.  Small actions can have large impact on our overall campus contributions. Consider these simple switches to help reduce your contributions to the energy usage around campus:



    • Unplug appliances (coffee makers, hair dryers, toasters, etc) and electronics such as computers, cell phone charges, and televisions when not in use.  These items continue to draw power when plugged in, even if they are not turned on.  
    • Turn off the lights when leaving a room.  If a classroom is unoccupied, but the lights are on, this is energy lost that could be saved! 
    • Take shorter showers to help reduce water consumption.  Turn the shower off while you scrub down or wash your hair, even if it's only for a few minutes, and then turn it back on to rinse. 
    • Recycle plastics, paper, and aluminum cans.  The Student Recycling Service diligently works to green our campus and removes items from the recycle bins once a week.  
    • Bring reusable containers to the gym, class, or other places for your coffee and beverages.  Don't forget, we have water-bottle filling stations throughout campus for your convenience.  Use of a refillable coffee mug or water bottle helps reduce the amount of paper cups or plastic bottles campus wide. 
    • Consider using scrap paper rather than a new sheet for notes and memos, or better yet, download a notepad app on your cell phone to reduce paper trails! 
    • Think before printing emails and other documents related to classwork.  If you can read the information on your phone, tablet or computer and keep the files handy, consider maintaining the electronic form and print only when absolutely necessary.
    • If you're a professor, consider posting course materials and handouts online rather than printing them - this not only gives students immediate access to the files, it reduces campus wide printing.  And if you're a student, talk to your professors about using D2L for these handouts and course documents! 
    • Carpool, walk, or ride MATBUS rather than driving, especially for shorter trips.  MATBUS operates Monday through Saturday and has various locations near campus to catch a bus.Students ride for free throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area.  Routes and schedules are posted online at the MATBUS website.  
    • When moving out of the dorms, lessen what you leave behind. Donate furniture, electronics, furniture, non-perishable food and more through local food shelves and thrift stores. 
    • Don't dump anything down sewer drains or the kitchen/bathroom sinks around campus.  What you dump out reaches our local watershed, including local rivers.  Our sustainable initiatives extend beyond campus boundaries into the local community.  


    At any given time, the OCS is engaged in several projects. 

    Current projects under our umbrella include: 


     Sustainable Efforts our Campus has already made:

    • Max-R E-cycler added to Hagen Hall to allow for recycling of batteries, CDs, cell phones and ink cartridges
    • New dual-purpose recycling stations added to the Campus Mall at the end of August 2013
    • New lighting in the pool will save the campus 50,000 kW/h of electricity usage annually.
    • The automated lighting system on campus will increase the efficiency of electricity usage.
    • New water bottle filling stations placed throughout campus help reduce waste from plastics.
    • The new printer limits help limit office paper waste and save the school money.
    • Our campus protects the local watershed by using sand instead of salt to melt the ice. The sand is collected at the end of the year.
    • Collected lawn clippings are composted.
    • Our school has been transitioning away from coal towards natural gas. Half of our current electricity comes from hydroelectric plants. 

    MSUM Achieves Silver Status with STARS!

    In January 2014, the OCS submitted MSUM's sustainability performance report to STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System.  The system looks at a variety of areas including recycling and sustainability-based classes.  Efforts to become a greener school have been in the works for sometime, and now there's some recognition behind the hard work.  One of the results of the collaborative efforts campus-wide is a 20% reduction in our carbon footprint.

    View highlights of the STARS report.
    View the full report.