See what our faculty is teaching.
- Visit to the Furman Farm
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Course for which contribution is used: EES 112 Environmental Science and FYS 1126 Sustainability of Natural Resources
Furman has its own 1/3 acre organic farm right here on campus. During one of the lab sections in each of these classes I arrange to have the class spend an afternoon working at the Furman Farm. The lab complements our in class discussions on organic farming and food production. During the visit typically Bruce Adams (farm manager) provides a brief overview of the history and current status of the Furman farm, explaining the evolution of the soil development, farming techniques being employed, and current composting efforts. Following the introduction, students break into groups and actively participate in various farming tasks (e.g., pest control, weeding, planting, soil development, harvesting). Each group is usually paired with a student farm hand who helps teach and instruct the group for the task at hand.
Additional Comments: To arrange a visit you should contact Bruce Adams. If you do visit the farm, be sure to have students dress appropriately. They will be handling dirt, working outside, likely sweating some, and walking in the mud.
- North Village Waste Audit
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Course for which contribution is used: FYS 1126 Sustainability of Natural Resources
In my FYS 1126 course we look at student waste streams and actually conduct a waste audit of North Village garbage to see, among other things, how much food waste there is. I run the audit during a three hour lab session in which I set up staging / sorting stations in the North Village parking lots. Students wear hazmat suits / protective gloves, and we gather 3 – 5 bags of garbage from the different dumpsters in North Village and then sort the garbage into 13 different categories (one of which is "compostable"). Each category is then weighed and assessed by volume to determine the proportional distribution of the North Village waste stream. The results are always eye opening (typically only about 40% of the trash is true waste – meaning not recyclable by county recycling programs – and about 10% of the trash is compostable food waste). In the class that follows we discuss the results and ways to potentially improve our recycling efforts on campus.
Additional Comments: I have done this now for about 5 years and actually a student in the class opted to conduct an assessment of the entire campus waste stream back in 2008. She went on to continue with the project for the four years she was here and we actually published the results in a journal article.
Baldwin, E. and Dripps, W., 2012. Spatial Characterization and Analysis of the Campus Residential Waste Stream at a Small Private Liberal Arts Institution. Resources, Conservation, and Recycling 65: 107– 115.
This exercise is certainly memorable (even if it is usually the smell they remember). There is certainly no better way to discuss waste streams than to have to sort through your own.
I do coordinate this lab with Phil Lewis in Facilities and alert both Housing and Residential Life and FUPO of the time and date so that they are aware of the exercise.