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Furman ranks 4th for sustainability

The Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities

Last updated September 14, 2023

By Erikah Haavie

Furman University ranks 4th overall among baccalaureate institutions for sustainability performance, according to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) 2023 Sustainable Campus Index (SCI). Among the top 10 performers, Furman represents the only baccalaureate institution in the South with a gold rating.

Furman was also ranked 4th among all types of institutions for its commitment to campus engagement and sustainability education activities for students, faculty and staff.

Last year, the university hosted its largest class ever of Eco Reps with nearly 30 students working within residence halls across campus to model sustainable behaviors and plan and deliver sustainability educational programs.

The Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities expanded its Student Fellowship opportunities this summer, placing 22 students in sustainability leadership roles on Furman’s campus and throughout the Carolinas. For the first time, two corporate sustainability fellows, Colin McBride ’25 and Drew McDowell ’24, developed sustainability initiatives at Milliken and Company in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.

“Each year, there are growing work opportunities in sustainability. At the Shi Institute, we help prepare students for these opportunities by providing hands-on work experiences on and off campus and across sectors,” said Executive Director Andrew Predmore. “This recognition is a nod to all that work, as well as to the excellent training our students receive in the classroom, both of which prepare our students for lives of consequence. Our consistently high rating also recognizes the hard work of Furman’s facilities and operations staff to maintain and improve campus buildings, grounds and infrastructure. This element of sustainability is often under-recognized but is critical to Furman’s success.”

The AASHE report recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Used by hundreds of colleges and universities, STARS helps institutions measure, report and strengthen their contributions to global sustainability.  Furman again received a gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements.

With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Furman reported achievements in five overall areas, including academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration and innovation and leadership.

The Shi Institute recently started working on the newest version of Furman’s Climate Action Plan, which will establish new science-based targets for reaching carbon neutrality and provide the university with a road map to accelerate its progress.

This recognition is wonderful and helps boost momentum for all the hard work ahead,” said Predmore. “I am thankful for all the faculty, staff and student collaborations that made this happen and look forward to future partnerships that will continue to elevate Furman as one of the best places in the nation to study, research and practice sustainability.”

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