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Furman ranks third in AASHE’s nationwide sustainability index

Furman’s on-campus farm plays a key role in the university’s sustainability efforts.

Furman University has been recognized as the No. 3 overall performer in the 2022 Sustainable Campus Index, continuing its hold on the third spot in the national rankings among baccalaureate institutions.

Furman also achieved a top performer rating in the Campus Engagement category this year among all types of institutions. Only two universities in the Southeast earned spots in the top 10 performers; the other was Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

The 2022 Sustainable Campus Index, a publication of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), recognizes top-performing colleges and universities overall and in 17 sustainability impact areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The report also highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from institutions that submitted STARS reports in the most recent calendar year.

AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized report card in the world for grading sustainability performance in higher education. Furman currently holds a STARS “Gold Rating” in recognition of its sustainability achievements, and is one of just a few institutions in the Southeast to reach this rating.

Laura Bain, associate director of sustainability assessment at the Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities, points to the inclusion of sustainability in academics and curricula – the seedbed for research – as driving forces in Furman’s high ranking, and why Furman is the only four-year institution in the top performers representing the South.

“Furman is one of the only liberal arts institution in the United States that offers a bachelor of science degree in sustainability science,” she says. “And all students, regardless of major, are required to take a course that explores humans and the natural environment. Plus many of our courses include a sustainability topic.”

Also contributing to Furman’s strong showing in the index, Bain says, are Furman’s “robust” outreach and education programs such as the Green Office Program for employees and Eco-Reps program for students.

More broadly, she says sustainability is woven into long-term planning beginning with the 2009 Sustainable Furman master plan, which has taken on additional components over the years including diversity initiatives, procurement guidelines and wellness programs.

The full Sustainable Campus Index report is available at this link (see page 43).

For more information, contact the Furman News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

About AASHE:

AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation.  It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit www.aashe.org.

For more information about the STARS program, visit stars.aashe.org.

Article by Jarrod Wiggins
Last updated September 8, 2022
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director