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The combination of community, service, and academics are what stand out to me about [being a] Thresher. With small classes, attentive professors, and the focus on service…students get the opportunity to excel in multiple areas.
Cassidy McFadden ’12

Envir. Citizenship

At Bethel College, good environmental citizenship, which involves responsible stewardship of land and resources and minimizing our harmful impact on the environment around us, grows out of the educational mission of the college and our obligation to the earth’s inhabitants and to future generations of people. Read the college’s complete environmental mission statement.

Current practices

Bethel’s existing environmental commitments and accomplishments include these actions and policies:

  • An active campus recycling program
  • Student Environmental Action Club programs that have provided discounted compact fluorescent light bulbs to students, placed water and energy conservation stickers throughout the residence halls and organized informational Earth Day events
  • Extensive natural areas owned and maintained by the college that include an interpretive walking path (the Sand Creek Trail system) and two native prairies (Sand Prairie Natural History Preserve and Broadie Prairie Preserve)
  • Kauffman Museum tallgrass prairie exhibit and Kingsbury Prairie Restoration Studies Project, on the edges of campus
  • Currently 12 of the 15 main campus buildings are on the Energy Management System, which manages energy use through time scheduling, night setbacks, modulating valves, motor speed controls, space conditioning in relation to outside air temperature, and lighting management. Efforts are continually underway to refine and expand the schedule of these systems.
  • The formation of the current Environmental Citizenship Committee to develop environmental policy, monitor resource use on campus, investigate the feasibility of wind and solar power for our campus, and encourage responsible environmental practices at the college. (Check out the Environmental Stewardship poster.)
  • In our groundskeeping and landscaping, we severely limit the use of synthetic chemicals; use low maintenance, highly adapted plants in all flowerbeds; and apply non-toxic calcium chloride salt to icy sidewalks.
  • Water usage has been reduced, with the greatest savings in the residence halls. All residence halls have low-volume flush toilets as well as water-saving shower heads.
  • All lighting fixtures are being upgraded to newer technology that can save more than 40 percent in electricity usage over older style lighting while producing more light. In some cases, the greater light output allows us to disconnect some adjacent fixtures, resulting in even greater energy savings. Significant upgrades have been made with respect to campus lighting:
    • We are converting fluorescent lighting to high-efficient T8 fixtures (78 percent of campus now upgraded).
    • All regular incandescent light bulbs have been replaced with compact fluorescent bulbs.
    • Occupancy sensors (that turn off lights in empty rooms) are being installed throughout campus.
  • Trayless dining, instituted in fall 2009, saves water and energy

Read more about how the Bethel community is putting its beliefs into practice