Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.78
Liaison Jennifer McLaughlin
Submission Date Dec. 9, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

South Dakota State University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jennifer McLaughlin
Sustainability Intern
Facilities and Services
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Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

SDSU has a variety of sustainability focused and sustainability-related clubs.

Agronomy & Conservation Club - Promote awareness and professional growth among students interested in agronomy and soil conservation related fields.

Jackrabbit Chapter of Ducks Unlimited - An organization dedicated to the conservation, restoration, and management of North America’s previous wetlands and associated habitats for North American waterfowl.

Ecology Club - To promote awareness and further SDSU’s involvement in ecological issues, while having fun and growing together.

Engineers for World Improvement - Improve the quality of life in disadvantaged communities through the implementation of environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects, while developing internationally responsible engineering students.

Habitat for Humanity - Provide students in the university community the opportunity to eliminate poverty housing in partnership with the Habitat projects in the US, as well as other volunteer opportunities found in the community.

Horticulture & Urban Ag - To bring about mutual understanding and a closer relationship between college students who are interested in horticulture and local food production.

Sustainability Club - The Sustainability Club envisions and supports a prosperous, equitable, sustainable, and ecologically healthy campus community at South Dakota State University. The Sustainability Club will collect, evaluate, and disseminate information and tools to increase the understanding of sustainability and its relevance to the South Dakota State University campus and surrounding community.

Wildlife & Fisheries Club - The SDSU Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Club is a student organization with a long history of professional and public service. The club is a student chapter of The Wildlife Society.

Range Club - Our mission is to promote interest in range management by educating others while enhancing the social and professional skills of our members through club activities.

Water Environment Federation/American Water Works Association - To promote student interest in the environment.

Pheasants Forever - SDSU Chapter of Pheasants Forever is committed to the conservation of pheasants, quail, and other wildlife by focusing on habitat improvement, community involvement, public awareness, and education.

Natural Resource Law Enforcement - To provide a learning community, leadership opportunities, and expansion of knowledge, skills, and abilities in the natural resources management and law enforcement career field. These opportunities will be available to any and all interested in Natural Resource Law Enforcement.


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
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Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The South Dakota State University Local Foods Education Center is a novel approach to addressing food security in South Dakota. The 1.2 acre outdoor classroom is located on Medary Avenue on the northern edge of the SDSU campus. It is fully dedicated to student and public teaching and learning, emphasizing hands-on field experience with small-scale food production and distribution practices.

The Local Foods Education Center is based on a foundation of student learning, ecosystem sustainability, and consumer access to a safe and stable food supply. There is increased public awareness of the source of the food we eat and the reliability of its safety. These are highly emotional issues for today’s consumers and are drivers of change. That is why local foods production has become a core of our horticulture curriculum.

Consumer demand for food that is locally produced, marketed, and consumed is generating increased interest throughout the United States. As interest grows, so do questions about modern production techniques and best management practices. Consumers who prefer locally grown food also care that it is grown in an environmentally acceptable manner. Students who use the Local Foods Education Center will learn organic production techniques, low-volume irrigation, and it will include habitat to support bees and butterflies.


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
No

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
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The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
No

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
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Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

In the fall of 2017, The Creative Animal Foundation visited campus for one day. They hosted tours of their tiny house as well as gave a evening presentation on sustainability. Over 240 walked through the tiny house and over 50 attended the evening presentation.

Every year, SDSU hosts Eastern South Dakota Water Conference: Water sustainability is vital to many aspects in South Dakota life. This conference focuses the latest knowledge of water management and use. This is an institutional governed conference. https://www.sdstate.edu/agricultural-and-biosystems-engineering/water-resources-institute/2019-eastern-south-dakota-water


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
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Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

The Sustainability Specialist and Program Advisor for Latino/a/x Multicultural Affairs collaborated to bring VANG: A Drama about Recent Immigrant Farmers to SDSU. Vang documents the journeys of four recent immigrant couples as they make farming a part of their daily lives. Based on true stories woven together by Iowa Poet Laureate, Mary Swander, Vang is a story about survival and the deep desire to return to the land. This performance was open to the public.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs also hosts several events a year centered around culture and diversity. Below are examples.
o Tunnel of Oppression - this live exhibit showcases different groups encountering oppression. Visiting the showcase gives attendees a firsthand experience of what it is like to experience oppression.
o Step Show - militarized dance showing school spirit & historical connection. SDSU has both a ladies and men's step team
o Black History Month - events during February to recognize & highlight about the history of black people in the US. There are various events throughout the month include comedy shows, step show, workshops about the culture, speakers, and more.
o Hispanic Heritage Month - events recognize & highlight about the history of Hispanic people in the US. There are various events throughout the month include cultural movies, performances on historical dances, educational panels, speakers, and discussion on immigration.

The American Indian Student Center hosts many events with cultural significance:
o Wacipi (Powwow) - An annual cultural event co-hosted each spring by the AISC and American Indian Student Association that provides an opportunity for SDState faculty, staff and students and the Brookings community to come together to celebrate Native culture,song and dance.
o Beading Circle
o Drumming Circle
o Teaching traditional crafts
o American Indian Heritage Month.
o Oyate Yuwitaya Tipi (OYT) Living Learning Community Traditional Hand Games - An evening of fun as students, staff and faculty learn how to play traditional hand games in the OYT residence hall. Hand games can be described as a guessing game and is relatively simple to understand. The goal of the game is to win all of the sticks from your opponent by distracting the opposing team while they are guessing. No experience needed and all are welcome to join us for a meal before we play hand games.
o Movie Screenings - We collaborate with the New Student Orientation office to host an annual movie screening during Native American Heritage Month. We also screen documentaries in conjunction with guest speakers or conferences we host on campus throughout the year.
o Wahanpi Wednesday - "Wahanpi" is the D/N/Lakota word for soup. Students enjoy a free homemade bowl of soup while checking in with the AISC staff and spending time with other Native students.
o Elder in Residence - Launched in fall 2017, the AISC hosts a tribal Elder for 3 days of programming, which include classroom presentations and a campus presentation. The EIR program introduces cultural practices and ways of knowing, celebrates and honors traditional knowledge, reinforces and affirms tribal identity, establishes pathways between the University and tribal communities and raises cultural awareness among the SDSU staff, faculty and Administration.
o Artist in Residence - The newest AISC program (spring 2019) will feature a Native artist and is open to artists practicing various forms of art. Artists will have the opportunity to share their knowledge and advance the understanding of art from an Indigenous perspective. Artists will give classroom presentations (limited due to schedule) and one campus presentation during the 2-3 day program.

The Veterans Affairs Office hosts disabilities panel of military students who have disabilities and are still attending classes and how they have navigated school with disabilities.

The Briggs library hosted an exhibit centered around African/Native American lives.

South Dakota State University is home to the South Dakota Art Museum. They have held a variety of sustainability and/or cultural themed art displays over the years.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
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Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The Outdoor Program at the SDState Wellness Center is a comprehensive outdoor recreation program dedicated to providing the students and community affiliates of South Dakota State University an outlet to get involved with the numerous, incredible outdoor opportunities at the SDState Wellness Center and within South Dakota and its neighboring states.

The Outdoor Program oversees the climbing gym at the SDState Wellness Center as well as the Adventure Trip Series, Outdoor Skills Clinics, and gear rentals. Each of these programs is designed to help students and community members to get outdoors in a safe and impactful manner that focuses on skills development, building up self-confidence through challenges, and developing a love for experiencing the outdoors in an exciting and sustainable manner.

A Power Point presentation about Leave No Trace principles is shown before every outdoor adventure trip. Trips are available to students and staff.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:
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The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
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Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Every other Wednesday for eight weeks, the Sustainability Specialist held a new sustainability-themed booth outside of the student union. Each booth looked at a different topic of sustainability and worked to spark interest in sustainability topics. Booth topics included general sustainability, the relationship between health & sustainability, waste & recycling, and plastic pollution. The general sustainability booth provided basic sustainability information and had a spin and win game. If participants landed on the prize slot they got to pick a sustainable gift (filtered water bottle, power strip, reusable straw, reusable to-go box, or coupon to local thrift store). The health and sustainability booth had a bike powered smoothie maker to talk about the benefits of riding your bike instead of driving. In addition, the student health clinic and health club were present to talk about health. The waste & recycling date was SDSU's annual fall waste audit. The plastic pollution booth had giants statues made out of the average number of plastic bottles, straws, and bags Americans use in one year. There was also a water tasting booth, where participants could do a blind take test to see if they could tell the difference between tap, filtered, and bottled water.

The Agricultural Heritage Museum located at SDSU hosed workshops on rammed earth structures, no till and erosion, composting, vermiculture, and gardening. These were open to the public.They also hosted an exhibit on Joseph Hutton who was an advocate for soil conservation.

McCrory Gardens offered Third Thursday workshop. These were open to the public and covered a variety of topics from storm water and insects to edible gardening.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
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Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

FY17-FY18
SDSU's College of Education & Human Sciences sponsored a student internship with the Brookings City Clerk. This position was assigned to many sustainability projects including research on potential city wide composting program, assisting the Committee for People who have Disabilities for the public-right-of-way policy research, assisted with the City bicycle master plan, and storm water website content. The position assisted the SDSU Sustainability Specialist with a few projects as well.

FY18-FY19
As part of the Department of Architecture Passive House project, a graduate assistant was hired.

FY19
SDSU Extension is currently offering an internship focused on water management. This internship is split between SDSU & University of Illinois.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
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Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
Yes

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

The pledge is not specific to graduating students, but is open to all students, faculty, and staff. The goal is to encourage and motivate participants to think about and act on sustainability throughout their daily lives and careers. The pledge asks participants to pledge to one action in each pillar of sustainability.


The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
Yes

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

Since 2010, Spruce Up SDSU Day is hosted annually by the Dean of the College of Engineering. A call is sent out to all students and staff to come out at 5pm on the Thursday near Earth Day to clean up campus after sour snowbanks have receded. Participants scatter across campus to pick up all trash laying across campus.

The University Program Council hosted an Adopt-A-Highway event.

Honors College Service Committee and the Pre PT/OT clubs hosted separate campus clean-up events.

The Sustainability Specialist served as a panelist after the College Democrats showing of “Before the Flood”.

Each year since 2009 as part of SDSU’s Tree Campus USA certification, the SDSU Horticulturist host a tree planting at the University Arbor Day Park. This event is open to the public. Throughout the event, the Horticulturist explains the proper tree planting process.

The Keep Campus Clean Initiative invited student clubs to “adopt” a section of campus to keep clean. The Sustainability Specialist provided gloves and bags, and student groups were responsible for cleaning the area 1-2 times a month.

SDSU joined the world in celebrating Earth Hour. Glow in the dark games were set up in the Library basement and sustainable prizes were available to all attendees via a raffle. The main hallway lights in the Student Union were also turned off.

The Sustainability Specialist provided an opportunity for interested students and employees to tour our local landfill and Material Recovery Facility for recycling.

The Sustainability Specialist hosted a workshop as part of the campus library “Adulting” series. The sustainability session taught participants how to make reusable bags out of old t-shirts.


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
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Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Information covers 3 years of data.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.