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BHSU and SD Mines hire joint sustainability coordinator

South Dakota Mines and Black Hill State have elected to hire a joint sustainability coordinator. The position, shared between the schools, will eye both environmental goals and savings to the institutions.

Maggie Torness is a Black Hills State alumni who has been tabbed to find efficiencies and keep the two West River universities sustainable.

Torness said sustainability gains can be made in the classroom, during research and in university planning.

“Help the campuses collaborate a little bit more on those projects and help to inform each campus about the others experience in those endeavors as well," Torness said.
"So, I’m just playing a central role in helping to expand sustainability at both schools.”

Torness said the two schools can learn a lot from one another.

“That information I think can really be cross-pollinated between universities to really have the experience of Black Hills State help out School of Mines, and have the expertise that School of Mines has be able to help out Black Hills State,” Torness said.

At Mines, Torness will be based in the department of civil and environmental engineering. She said she is still in the broader planning process.

“To be able to have sustainability really incorporated into the policy and planning at the university level," Torness said. "So, we are working to develop a master plan for sustainability.”

Torness is currently finishing her master’s degree at the University of Vermont. Her time will be split equally between the two campuses.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture