Sustainability at Fort Hays State University

"Sustainability presumes that the planet’s resources are finite, and should be used conservatively, wisely and equitably. Decisions and investments aimed to promote sustainability will simultaneously advance economic vitality, ecological integrity and social welfare."
-Kansas Board of Regents
2009 Sustainability Reports

Fort Hays State University, a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), supports sustainability through academic programs, student life, operations, and research. At FHSU,  we continue to develop initiatives, policies and pedagogy as we strive to become a more environmentally responsible institution. 

Earth Week 2017 is coming!

Come celebrate from April 17-22 

Monday, April 17
12 noon on the Quad

Rev. Celeste Lasich, Pastor at First Presbyterian Church Hays
"Blessing of the Earth"
7-8 pm Rarick Hall 301
Global Leadership Project & Biology Club
Wally Vansickle, founder of Idea Wild, will speak about biodiversity and conservation

Tuesday, April 18

12-2 pm 

UAB & Department of Biology
Albertson Pollinator Garden Planting 

Wednesday, April 19

7-9 pm Cody Commons
US 4 U
Free Climate Change Documentary, "Before the Flood" 
Thursday, April 20
3 pm MU Pioneer Room

AAUW "Ecofeminism" Presentation & Discussion 

Friday, April 21

11-1 on the Quad

Hays Public Library: Gardening, growing your own foods, & canning in Kansas
"Global Environmental Issues" Biology Class: Clothing Swap
EarthRise! LLC: Earth Day/Arbor Day Treehugging at the Champion Tree
(Biology Club, Bee Club, Sternberg Museum, Food & Garden Club, Food & Hunger Initiatives, Kansas Foresters, Tobacco Free Campus)

Saturday, April 22

2-3:30 on the Quad

US4 U: "Water Banquet"
Participants will experience first-hand the challenges of obtaining water in many places around the world, and will explore water contamination and scarcity. 


Earth Day Photos: 

mugs rocks-girl tree2 tree-students


Earth Day Video:

Video Credit: Isaac Ortega

Sustainability and Academics

  • Academic Programs & Coursework FHSU now offers a Sustainability Certificate a Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) in Sustainability and a sustainability Learning Community called Earth Rise!
  • Service Learning Opportunities such as tree plantings, on-campus gardening, and building rain barrels to help our community collect and use rain water
  • Departmental Initiatives that reduce paper use by using technologies such as Blackboard.  There is also a wide use of Open Education Resources—which saves our students money on textbooks and reduces the number of books that need to be printed.
  • Faculty Development  FHSU faculty and staff serve on committees and attend sustainability conferences annually. 
  • Social Art FHSU graphic arts students create powerful social art, such as these below: 

             Kristen Miller Poster  Shaysa Sidebottom Poster  Kristen Miller Poster 1 Thumb Earth Amy Smarsh Johnson Aubrey Broyles Thumb Jill Herbert Nestle Adam Schonlau Clay Peppiatt Luke Weber 1 Luke Weber 2 Nick Sheridan 2

Sustainability and Student Life

Our new sustainability living & learning community!  A learning community is a group of first-year students who share common interests, take classes together, live on the same dormitory floor, and participate in activities together throughout the year. Our Earth Rise! trips include field trips to The Land Institute, as well as regional zoos for talks and tours on endangered species.

Other sustainability initiatives include:

  • Recycling and water conservation programs
  • Sustainability, Environmental and Social Awareness organizations like:  
    • FHSU Bee Club Bees  Bee Club     
    • Food & Garden Club
    • Biology Club
    • Women in STEM
    • Global Leadership Project
    • American Democracy Project
    • Geophysical Society
    • Model United Nations
  • Past Speaker Events
    • Tim Crews, Director of Research, The Land Institute
    • Ben Champion, Director of Sustainability, Kansas State University
    • Rhonda Janke, Professor, Extension Specialist and Sustainable Cropping Systems, Kansas State University
    • Angie Babbitt, Monarch Watch
  • Our annual Earth Day celebration and The Land Institute's "Prairie Festival" every September
  • "Take a Bike/Leave a Bike" provides bicycles for members of the Fort Hays State University community to use as they move about campus. The blue or gold bicycles are parked in campus bike racks and are available for use at any time. There are ~ 20 bicycles in the fleet, and FHSU plans to purchase 10-15 more due to the success of the program. Thank you FHSU Intramurals and the Department of Health and Human Performance! 

Sustainability and Campus Operations

  • FHSU recently began harvesting electricity from the Kansas wind with two 2-megawatt wind turbines that are projected to produce additional annual savings in the range of $600,000 to $1 million.
  • FHSU implemented “peak shaving” to reduce consumption of resources for energy production.
  • Greening measures have been taken across campus, including replacing aging energy units, optimizing natural gas use and boiler operation, and converting HVAC equipment to variable speed technology.
  • A robust, campus-wide recycling program
  • A Campus Garden that is used for FHSU’s Food and Hunger Initiatives program
  • Green Space of over 117 acres, including areas along the original Big Creek stream bed that have been preserved in their natural state for ongoing plant and wildlife research projects.
  • Chartwells:
    • Works to lower food waste by measuring and weighing waste, through a program called Trim-trax
    • Uses a computer program to determine exact ingredient quantities needed to avoid food waste
    • Recycles its cooking oil through Healy Biofuels.
    • Recycles cans, plastics, and cardboard
    • Uses Biopak packaging
  • While we haven’t pursued LEED certification, we are committed to incorporating LEED principles in new building construction, including:
    • Occupancy sensors
    • Variable speed motors
    • LED and T8 lighting
    • Low, or no VOC paints
    • Recycled-content carpets
    • Designing for natural daylight

Media Links


Hays Post

To Learn More

For more information, contact the FHSU Sustainability Coordinator:

Andrée Brisson


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