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NSO Sustainability Guide


Who is Facilities & Services - Sustainability

Facilities & Services - Sustainability is the hub of sustainability efforts at South Dakota State University. Led by the campus Sustainability Specialist, we strive to incorporate sustainability throughout campus, whether it be in operations, administration or engagement both inside and outside the classroom.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is the formation of a better society through the interdependent actions of improving environmental quality, increasing economic prosperity and instilling social justice for present and future generations.

Why is sustainability important?

Sustainability is important for many different reasons. First of all, many of the resources we use come from a finite supply. Practicing sustainability can help ensure that these resources last longer and do not disappear. Furthermore, the earth provides several services to the surrounding environment that positively affect our lives. Without these services, we face greater challenges such as increased flooding and water pollution. Taking a look at how we use our monetary resources can also contribute to sustainability by ensuring that the economy continues to prosper. Last but not least, sustainability provides important visions to how we can obtain social justice. This last part is key to ensure that all are treated equitably and have access to basic human needs such as clean water, nutritious food, quality education and a chance to pursue personal aspirations.

What is SDSU doing to be sustainable?

SDSU has efforts in a variety of areas. SDSU is recognized as both a Tree Campus and Bee Campus USA. These programs help SDSU maintain a healthy tree environment and home for pollinators, respectively. Buildings also offer sustainability aspects. Seventeen buildings on campus are rated at a LEED Gold or LEED Silver level. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a national standard for energy efficient buildings. Through energy conservation efforts, campus has minimized its energy usage. Although you can’t see them from the ground, SDSU has four buildings with active solar panels on their roofs! Across campus, recycling bins are available; and during move-out week, Facilities & Services – Sustainability partners with Residential Life to host Don’t Dump! Donate! This program allows students to donate unwanted, but quality good items to local non-profits.

Outside of the operation realm, the Sustainability Specialist offers a variety of sustainability related events and ways to stay connected. In addition, SDSU offers many sustainability related courses and multiple sustainability related minors including a sustainability minor, sustainable energy systems minor and a sustainable foods minor.

Learn more about Facilities & Services - Sustainability


New Student Checklist

There are so many ways to be sustainable! Nearly every action you do throughout the day touches on sustainability in some way. We’ve compiled a list of a few simple items you should pack for college to help you get started on your sustainable journey at SDSU! 

Items TO bring

  • Clothes Rack. Air drying your clothes instead of using the dryer saves both energy & money.
  • Power strip. Many electronics pull energy even when they are off but still plugged in. Power strips make it easy to turn off electronics when they are not in use.
  • ENERGY STAR or EPEAT certified computer. These certifications ensure your computer is energy efficient.
  • Bike. SDSU is only one square mile and it is less than two miles to downtown Brookings. Remember to pack a U-lock to secure your bike to the bike rack.  
  • Reusable water bottle. Reduce your plastic use! Multiple water bottle refill stations are located on campus.

Items NOT to bring

  • Recycling bin. All residence hall rooms are equipped with both a trash and recycling bin. Check out the SDSU recycling guide to learn what can be recycled.
  • Printer. The Union & Briggs Library have printers available for student use (Don’t forget to print double sided!).

Other things to consider…

  • Share a refrigerator and microwave with your roommate vs. bringing your own.
  • Shop at reuse stores for great residence hall items like lamps and carpets. Not only is this a fantastic way to reduce waste, but it also saves money!
  • Think about what you really need. Every item that we purchase takes resources and energy to produce. The less we have, the more sustainable we are.

Take the sustainability pledge!


Sustainability Resources




Jack's Cupboard and Food Recovery Network are here to help if you run short on cash for food. These organizations also love for volunteers to help collect and distribute the food. 

Get Involved

Stay Connected

Waste Reduction

Learn about more sustainability resources

Questions? Contact the Sustainability Specialist via e-mail or at 605-688-4136