OPINION: Making a sustainable future for South Dakota State Jacks


Recycling bins across campus will now all be blue. The combination of the two bins was made to help make it easier for people to recycle.


In 2015, SDSU earned a bronze rating in our first sustainability benchmark report through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. 

As we look to the future, I imagine sustainability being a central part of our campus, with each student, faculty and staff member playing a role. 

Sustainability is not a one-man show, but rather a community-based effort toward a brighter future. 

So, how can you help on the path to sustainability? The options are endless. To start, treat others with kindness and be conscious of how your actions could impact the natural environment. 

Below are some of our campus goals for this year. As you can see, sustainability reaches all areas of campus and each person can play a role in making it a success. I look forward to working with all of you and helping you and our campus on the path to sustainability!


1. Ride your bike or carpool to campus.

 Goal: 50 percent of students and 23 percent of employees commute this way.

2. Integrate sustainability concepts into your classes. 

 Goal: 250+ classes include activities or discussions about sustainability.

3. Increase research projects  including sustainability. 

 Goal: 70 faculty members include sustainability in their research.

4. Recycle all appropriate items. 

 Goal: Increase our recycling rate from 18 percent to 25 percent.

5. Minimize campus waste. 

 Goal: Decrease waste per person to less than 360 pounds per year.

6. Identify endangered species and environmentally-sensitive areas on campus and develop a plan to protect them.

7. Implement policies about sustainable purchasing, such as increasing the number of energy-efficient electronics.

8. Increase number of extra-curricular sustainability-related activities.

9. Increase campus dining sustainability.


Jennifer McLaughlin is the sustainability specialist and can be reached at [email protected].