Vermillion sustainability group led by USD professor earns South Dakota Community Foundation award

The goal of making Vermillion  “the Greenest Little Town in South Dakota” has earned a University of South Dakota professor some financial backing to accomplish it.

Meghann Jarchow, who teaches in the sustainability program in the College of Arts & Sciences, is also board chairwoman of the nonprofit organization Greening Vermillion. The South Dakota Community Foundation recently awarded the group a $9,250 Community Innovation Grant toward its goal of combining and expanding various sustainability programs in the city into one unified effort.

“I think that having a vision for a sustainable and desirable Vermillion will be helpful to USD directly by providing us a roadmap,” Jarchow said, adding that no community can thrive without a clear vision for its future.

She hopes the Greening Vermillion effort will help connect the town’s 10,700 residents with the 10,000 students at the University of South Dakota. Jarchow said her positions as both the organization’s chairwoman and an assistant professor of sustainability will help forge a relationship between students and local residents, as both can contribute resources and enthusiasm to the program.

The group already has helped develop a canoe/kayak trail along the Missouri River and has organized hikes along it. Several other projects are in the works including outdoor classrooms at two parks, a children’s maze at Spirit Mound, an improved recycling program that reaches more people and accepts more materials, and the planting of more trees to literally make Vermillion more green.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Michael Ewald
USD News