Furman University named top green college by Princeton Review

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Furman University’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability is a 3,400-square-foot building that has become a place where students, educators and community members can learn more about how to implement sustainability in their daily lives. The center is home to Sustainable Furman, a master plan designed to help the university adopt and enhance academic offerings in sustainability. Photo provided by Furman University.

Furman University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S., according to The Princeton Review. The New York-based education services company has listed the university among the “Top 50 Green Colleges” in its free downloadable book, “Guide to 361 Green Colleges.”

“We strongly recommend Furman University and the other fine colleges in this guide to the many environmentally minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review.

The Princeton Review releases the free book annually, ranking the most environmentally friendly colleges in the U.S. This year’s rankings are based on a 50-question survey that the company conducted last year at more than 600 four-year colleges.

That survey asked various school administrators to report on their school’s sustainability-related policies, practices and programs. Their responses as well as data about course offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation were compiled to measure a school’s commitment to the environment and sustainability.

The Princeton Review selected colleges based on “Green Rating” scores. Those with 80 or higher earned a profile in the guide. The 361 school profiles in the guide feature facts and statistics about school demographics, admission and financial aid. It also includes “Green Facts” that detail the availability of transportation alternatives at the schools, percentage of school food budgets spent on local and organic food and more.

 

How green is Furman University?

Source: The Princeton Review, Furman University

  • Furman offers a sustainability-focused degree.
  • Transportation alternatives include a bicycle-sharing program, bicycle plan, condensed workweek option for employees and a policy prohibiting idling.
  • 93 percent of graduates took a sustainability related course.
  • 20 percent of the university’s food budget is spent on local or organic foods.
  • 68 percent of the university’s courses integrate sustainability content.
  • Furman has a 51 percent waste division rate.

 

“This national recognition is a testament to the breadth, depth, and successes of Furman’s sustainability programs and achievements,” said Dr. Weston Dripps, executive director of Furman’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. “We are proud and honored to be recognized in Princeton Review’s Top 50 Green Schools.”

Furman University has been widely recognized for its commitment to sustainability.

Online College Plan recently listed Furman as one of the “Top 20 Green Colleges” in the nation. Furman is a charter signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and has also been named a campus sustainability leader by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Furman University is the only liberal arts school in the nation to offer a bachelor’s degree in sustainability science. The school also built the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building in South Carolina and established the Shi Center for Sustainability on campus.

Furman also recently unveiled “The Furman Advantage,” an initiative that will allow students to work alongside faculty, staff, alumni and community members to address real-world problems in the Upstate.

The projects will coincide with Furman’s expertise, including sustainability. That should boost educational opportunities and research efforts geared toward sustainability and environmental sciences, as many of the opportunities will be coordinated through Furman’s public-facing institutes, including the Shi Center for Sustainability.

“We are creating a more robust and enriched model of community-centered learning, where students, faculty and community members work side by side to take on problems of real importance and find solutions,” said Angela Halfacre, professor of political science and earth and environmental sciences.

Furman plans to adopt more sustainable efforts.

The university is going to build the largest solar farm on a college campus in South Carolina. The $1.7 million solar farm will be on 6 acres near Furman’s main entrance on Poinsett Highway and will have an output of 743-kW.

The installation of the solar farm will reduce campus-wide electricity expenditures by up to 5 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent, supporting the school’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2026, according to Jeff Redderson, Furman’s associate vice president for facility and campus services.

The solar farm should be completed by early 2017.

For more information, visit furman.edu.

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