Furman University Gold STARS Highlights

The STARS framework assesses a campus’ sustainability efforts related to Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration. Of these, Furman most excels in Academics (Curriculum score 32.64/37.00; Research score 16.00/18.00) and Engagement (Campus Engagement score 20.00/20.00; Public Engagement score 16.64/21.00).

Academics

~All twenty-four academic departments at Furman offer at least one course that addresses a sustainability challenge.  The principles of the Earth Charter are used to identify course content that connects to sustainability.

~738 of 1,088 (68%) undergraduate courses in the 2013-14 academic year include content on sustainability principles.

~In the campus-wide Sustainability Perceptions survey, respondents associated the term sustainability with “recycling,” “green,” and “environment.”  78% believe that sustainability is important in how they live, and 59% are interested in integrating sustainability in their careers.

~Nineteen out of the twenty-four academic departments engage in sustainability research.

Engagement 


~All students who attend summer orientation are provided the opportunity to learn about campus sustainability programs and opportunities, including the long-term student bike rental program, Paladins on Bikes. 


~Furman offers a variety of co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives such as the Global Issues Forum, The Furman Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, Environmental Action Group (EAG), and a Summer Scholars program for prospective high school students. 


~Of the 372 continuing education courses offered by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, 238 of them address sustainability. 


~A total of 1,960 Furman students were engaged in community service and contributed 42,064 community service hours in FY2014. 


~The Shi Center for Sustainability student fellows programs provides funding, placements, and mentoring for approximately 25 students each year in sustainability research and service on campus and in the community.


Operations


~Building Energy Consumption: Furman earned high marks for its reduction of energy consumption in buildings from baseline year 2007, and for high energy efficiency of buildings compared to industry standards. 


~Biodiversity: The university was recognized for its collaborative efforts between grounds staff and faculty and student researchers in maintaining the campus as a wildlife habitat, particularly its protection of the endangered plant species, the Bunched Arrowhead. 


~Transportation (Student Commute Modal Split): A recent survey revealed that 88% of student trips from their residence to campus were made by walking, biking, or other non-motorized means. Campus residence and parking policies support an experience that encourages students to see how alternative commuting might fit into their lives beyond Furman. 


~Rainwater management: Furman earned full marks for its policies and practices around rainwater management. Select Low Impact Development practices on campus include rain gardens, rooftop rainwater harvesting, below-ground stormwater sediment traps, and use of Swan Lake as a retention pond and source of water for irrigation.


Planning and Administration 


~Sustainability strongly considers human well-being and quality of life. Some areas of success for Furman included support for underrepresented groups; coordination of diversity and equity programs; assessing employee satisfaction; and an employee wellness program. 


~The university earned full credit for its sustainability planning efforts which established goals for many areas of campus life. Sustainable Furman, the university’s sustainability master plan, is available online.


Innovation 

~Furman earned points for two innovation credits, i.e. initiatives not otherwise considered as best practices in the STARS framework. These included accreditation of the campus as a Level I Arboretum through the Morton Register of Arboreta, and the Engaged Living Environmental Community of Students (ECOS) program that integrates a first-year residential experience with sustainability-focused coursework. 

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