University of San Francisco Becomes a Certified ‘Bee Campus USA’

SAN FRANCISCO (June 12, 2019) -- The University of San Francisco (USF) has become the 70th educational institution in the nation to be certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, an initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation designed to marshal the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators. Along with USF’s recent achievement of carbon neutrality and the purchase of Star Route Farms, the oldest certified organic farm in California, creating a bee-friendly campus is one of many ways USF is working to save the planet.

Located in the USF Community Garden - a living laboratory for students, faculty, and staff interested in sustainable agriculture - the school’s four European Honeybee hives are four years old with an estimated 50,000 bees.

In addition to keeping a beehive on campus, USF maintains native plant habitat that feeds local bees, said Craig Petersen, director of operations for facilities management. “We’re working to expand our habitat for honeybees, and we plan to create workshops and classes on the relationship between pollinators and native plants.”

USF believes that maintaining a beehive on campus fully supports the school's mission to help teach socially responsible leaders for the future. As Petersen explains, “Observing the beehive and understanding how drought, pollution, and irresponsible use of chemicals impact the hive's ability to survive helps students gain a better understanding of how their actions impact others and the world. We’re encouraging USF students to become sustainability leaders in their communities, professions, and homes.”

To raise awareness about the plight of pollinators, USF plans to publish a webpage to disseminate information to the campus and external communities including USF’s Integrated Pest Management Plan, a list of native plants incorporated into the campus landscape including their bloom time and habitat needs, links to student and faculty research into pollinator issues, and information about upcoming events.

According to Joe Murphy, USF environmental safety manager, keeping bees helps feed the world, as one in every three mouthfuls of food we eat requires pollination, and bees are world-champion pollinators.

“Bees can help change the world by saving it,” states Murphy. “Bees have a hive mind, where their actions contribute to the greater good. They’re a great example of what humanity can achieve.”

USF’s mission of advancing social and environmental responsibility is further witnessed in the University’s recent achievement of carbon neutrality - more than 30 years ahead of its 2050 target date, as well as its purchase of the oldest certified organic farm in California, Star Route Farms, located 25 miles north of San Francisco in Bolinas. Bees are an integral part of the operations of this field station for Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Hospitality Management and many other academic disciplines.

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is located in the heart of one of the world’s most innovative and diverse cities and is home to a vibrant academic community of students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and outstanding opportunities in the city itself. USF is San Francisco’s first university, and its Jesuit Catholic mission helps ignite a student’s passion for social justice and a desire to “Change the World From Here.” Find more information about USF by visiting USF Home Page.

About Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA

Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA are initiatives of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon, with offices across the country. Bee City USA’s mission is to galvanize communities and campuses to sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free of pesticides. For more information about Bee Campus USA, visit Bee City USA.