Creation of Bee Hotel supports sustainability at UW-River Falls

Oct. 12, 2022 - Sustainability is essential to the vision and mission of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Chancellor Maria Gallo has been a significant supporter of the sustainability efforts on campus. 

It is no surprise then that the topic is front and center for her inauguration events set for Wednesday-Thursday, Oct. 19-20. During the Day of Engagement on October 19, the campus community is invited to come together and talk about what sustainability priorities are important to them. Following a presentation focused on the university’s sustainability plan and model, a campus sustainability tour will be offered. The tour will showcase the Grounds Department's extensive sustainability efforts and the Bee Hotel's official dedication.

Bee Hotel“Sustainability is an integral part of UWRF’s mission, vision and core values. I felt my inauguration was a perfect time to continue talking about and promoting sustainability efforts on campus,” Gallo said. “I am honored to be able to work for an institution that puts such a strong emphasis on making our community more sustainable.”

The unveiling of the Bee Hotel and ribbon cutting is set for October 19 at 3:15 p.m. The hotel will be installed across from the Melvin Wall Amphitheatre, outside the fence where the Horticulture Department houses its research plots.

“This is a great location for the Bee Hotel because there are about 10 to 15 feet of other landscaping so we can set the hotel back by the fence, and then we can do a larger sign out by the landscaping so people can read and learn more about the hotel but not have to walk directly up to it,” said Sustainability Coordinator Mark Klapatch-Mathias. 

The Bee Hotel came to fruition thanks to the university’s Bee Club, a student organization aimed at raising awareness of pollinator habitat conservation and benefits.

“It was one of the students in Bee Club that suggested we create just one large bee hotel on campus,” explained Klapatch-Mathias. 

The Bee Club submitted its proposal for the hotel last year and received approval in the spring. The Green Fund fully funded the project. The Green Fund is an allocable segregated university fee created to support sustainability initiatives and projects at UW-River Falls. The funds generated through the Green Fund support both the UWRF Sustainability Office and act to provide funding for projects that improve sustainability.

The Bee Hotel is explicitly created for solitary bees. Solitary bees are less aggressive than other types of bees. They do not swarm or need a hive. These bees use the hotel space for nesting, laying their eggs to keep them out of the elements and returning when they hatch in the spring. 

In July 2021, UW-River Falls became an affiliate of Bee Campus USA. The program is designed to marshal the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators. More information on Bee Campus USA can be found at

Photo: The bee hotel frame was recently installed across from the Wall Amphitheatre on campus. The Bee Club still has some additions yet to make the hotel functional for solitary bees. 

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