Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.65
Liaison Laura Bain
Submission Date Jan. 19, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Furman University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Laura Bain
Associate Director of Sustainability Assessment
David E. Shi Center for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

Through the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability Student Fellows program, an annual Assessment Fellow collects data for the Greenhouse Gas Inventory, assesses areas for improvement and potential solutions, and presents the information at Furman Engaged, a campus-wide event to present student research.

Furman's renowned Community Conservation Corps uses student volunteers to weatherize low-income homes in the Greenville Community, both saving the homeowner money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use.

Tree Mapping and Ecosystem Services Calculation using Collector for ArcGIS: A Crowdsourcing Model- a multidisciplinary faculty research project to estimate ecosystem services as well as Green House Gas emission reduction provided by the trees.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

Four student-residence cabins, housing 22 students in total, are deemed the "Greenbelt." These students are part of an engaged living program and committed to learning about and participating in a sustainable lifestyle. The buildings are equipped with thermal solar panels, composters, clothes drying racks, and have reminder messages throughout the living space encouraging sustainable practices like washing clothes in cold water, etc. SUS 281: Making Change Happen. Designed for students in the Greenbelt Community, developing and implementing action plans for sustainability-related change on campus and in the Greenville area.

Our online energy dashboard tracks energy and water use by building and is frequently used for student mini-projects and class lab activities. Furman's 8 LEED certified buildings showcase sustainable practices and provide opportunities for comparison and analysis.

Thoreau Cabin: A replica of Thoreau’s cabin from Walden pond was built by a 2009 May Experience class. The cabin stands as a testament to our desires to better connect with nature and to aspire to simple living. Visits are organized by the English Department and can range from literary readings to writing retreats, to discussions on simple living.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

Our online energy dashboard tracks energy and water use by building and is frequently used for student mini-projects and class lab activities.

Furman's 743kw Solar Farm raises student awareness and provides opportunities for class projects. Several students focused on the solar farm for their SUS 100 class projects.

ReRev - elliptical machines in the PAC provide power to the grid and educational signage raises awareness.

Solar Potential Map of Furman University created by LiDar and GIS - a student project to determine the best way to implement solar power on campus.

Mapping Solar PV Potential for Furman University using LiDar and GIS - a student project to identify optimal locations, surface area, and available capacity for solar PV installations within the campus.

Development and Application of a WebGIS based Facilities Management and Decision Support System- a student/faculty GIS project to develop a WebGIS based facilities management system to help optimize management functions including visualizing the campus assets and resources consumption across campus as well as identify problem areas to address the issues promptly.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

It's What's for Dinner: Furman University's Sustainable Dining Initiative. A student project to assess the sustainability of Furman University’s current food system using a multi-criteria sustainability scoring system. The results were used to develop a series of food purchasing guidelines and strategies designed to improve the overall sustainability of the campus food system by increasing local foods, minimizing food miles, optimizing direct purchasing, and promoting socially responsible and ecologically sound agricultural practices from food providers.

Classes frequently visit the Furman farm to learn, work, and engage with the farm.

The SUS practicum class crafted a strategic vision and business plan for Furman Farm.

Through the Shi Center Student Fellows program, a Farm Fellow and Compost Fellow regularly research and apply best practices for organic farming, composting, and sustainable food systems at Furman. A Bon Appetit Fellow works closely with our dining service provider to create a bridge between Bon Appétit and the campus community, as well as to assist in maintaining the partnership between the Shi Center and Bon Appétit. This student assists the Bon Appétit team in putting on events and creating outreach campaigns across campus, works with student, faculty and staff groups, and creates programming to inform the Furman community about the Farm to Fork Program. All student fellows share their work and findings at Furman Engaged, a campus-wide event to present student research. Recently, the Bon Appetit student fellow as able to coordinate a food recovery program with the local non-profit, Loaves and Fishes, to donate leftover food in the Dining Hall.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

The Rock and Botanical Garden that surrounds the Charles H. Townes Science Center is designed to reflect the geology of the Southern Appalachian region. This teaching tool provides aesthetic beauty and research opportunities for those who major in our department. The garden showcases large rock specimens collected from southeast mines.

Through the Shi Center for Sustainability, a Rain Garden and Lake Restoration Research Fellow works under the supervision of the Furman Horticulture department, learns about the function and care of rain gardens as well as their impacts on water quality. This fellow manages and maintains the rain garden system that surrounds Swan Lake and gathers water quality samples and conducts research related to the Duke Energy Water Resources Fund as part of the Swan Lake Restoration Project.

A Lake Restoration Education and Outreach Fellow works to design and create community facing educational signage, coordinate lab-based data collection projects and compile data sets related to the Duke Energy Water Resources Grant Fund on the Swan Lake Restoration Project.

Landscape Fellow learns about, makes recommendations, and outreaches regarding campus trees and landscaping. The fellow presents his or her findings at Furman Engaged.

Furman is designated a Level 1 Arboretum and is recognized by Tree Campus USA, providing ample opportunities for learning and research on campus.

A student-led aquaponics project is underway on the Furman Farm. Combining plants with freshwater shrimp, a self-sustaining system can produce fresh food with little waste.

The SUS practicum class crafted a sustainable landscape master plan for Furman's campus.

Campus Streetlight Illumination Modeling for Furman University- a student GIS project to map of Furman University’s light glow and highlight any areas of interest that show excessive light intensity on surrounding ecological environments.

Modeling Soil Erosion and Sediment Deposition at Furman University Using USLE- a student GIS project to estimate erosion patterns on Furman University’s campus.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:

The Green Office Certification Program and fellowship includes ongoing research with our Director of Procurement and our office supply contractor to track and set goals for more sustainable purchasing. The Green Office student fellow analyzes academic department purchasing through our Green Office Certification program and aids departments in adopting more sustainable practices.

The David E. Shi Center for Sustainability Fellowship Program includes a "Paladin Pickers Surplus Fellowship" - This fellow works with the Shi Center staff and other campus stakeholders to research successful campus surplus goods reuse programs, create a framework for launching a similar program at Furman, aid in the organization of Furman's surplus warehouse, and orchestrate the collection and inventory of donated items during student move-out this spring.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

The SUS practicum class created, distributed, and analyzed a campus transportation survey and will use the results to craft a Transportation Master Plan.

A recent partnership with SPIN bikeshare is providing critical ride data (frequency, duration, start/end locations) to the Transportation student fellow.

A student GIS project inventoried and mapped all bike rack locations on campus.

Creating an Electric Vehicle Ecosystem: Recommendations for New Charging Stations in Greenville. A student GIS project to identify locations at which the City of Greenville should construct additional electric vehicle charging stations.

Bicycle-Involved Traffic Accidents in Greenville County- A GIS student project to look at bicycle-involved accidents in Greenville in order to look at the broader trends, analyze patterns, and draw conclusions.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

Through the Shi Center for Sustainability, a Recycling Fellow works closely with Facilities staff and is responsible for setting up weekly campus-wide recycling pick-ups and for conducting research associated with our on-campus recycling efforts.

Over last two years, Seven Waste Management Fellows work with campus stakeholders to create Furman’s Waste Management Plan. A draft of the plan was created by last year’s student fellows. This year, work focused on finalizing the Waste Management Plan and beginning implementation.

Several Student projects are centered around this effort, titles included "Waste Management Planning," "The Path to Zero Waste at a Liberal Arts University," "Leftovers: the Forgotten Effects of a Good Life," and "Marketing Furman's Compost." All of these projects were presented at Furman Engaged.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

The SUS Practicum class analyzed irrigation use as part of their Sustainable Landscape Plan for campus.

Ellie Gay Campus metabolism thesis - full water budget (energy food water waste)

Georeferencing Furman University's Irrigation Valves Using Aerial Drone Images- a student GIS project designed to estimate how much water we were wasting by calculating the overlaps of sprinklers on 6 different fields. By calculating this, Furman University can ultimately change the amount of water wasted, and money.

Mapping Furman's Sprinkler System Using Drone Based Photographs- a student GIS project to provide the information needed to reduce the amount of water used for landscaping.

The Living Machine is a tidal wetland wastewater treatment facility, treating wastewater from two campus buildings and piping it back into the Townes Science Center for reuse in toilets. Class visits to the Living Machine provide hands-on introductions and lab activities related to the nitrogen cycle, wastewater treatment, greywater reuse systems, etc.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:

The SUS practicum class utilizes a Furman-owned property to envision a sustainable future use. Similarly, the practicum class is using the Furman Farm to gain skills in sustainable business planning.

Finding New Students: A Recruitment Model Using GIS- a student project to identify and develop successful recruitment strategies.

Development and Application of a WebGIS based Facilities Management and Decision Support System- a student/faculty GIS project to develop a WebGIS based facilities management system to help optimize management functions including visualizing the campus assets and resources consumption across campus as well as identify problem areas to address the issues promptly.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

A study of participation by under-represented students in Greek-letter organizations with Student Activities’ Fraternity & Sorority Life revealed that 13% of fraternity men and 10% of sorority women identified as international students or students of color.

A student senior thesis paper entitled, "Making a case for Theatre Education" centers around racism and how theatre can be a tool for teaching empathy.

Two student projects were completed on the topic of Food Deserts: "Mapping Food Deserts in Greenville County" and "Assessing Food Desert Solutions."


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:

Furman has incorporated use of the MSCI database for ESG into curriculum (such as Sustainable Corporations) and utilizes it to analyze the sustainability ratings of on-campus franchises.

A student project entitled "Full Cost Analysis Goes Viral" resulted in the creation of a series of videos for a web-based Full Cost Analysis learning module and was also presented at Furman Engaged.

Money and Religion: Does One's Religiosity Correlate to Financial Aptitude and Decision Making? - A student project comparing religious attendance with money invested.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

A revised admissions guide and campus map highlight sustainability features and tours now visit the Shi Center for Sustainability and Furman Farm.

Lake Restoration project signage was designed by students and is intended for both campus and community education.

Envisioning the Future of the New Washington Heights Neighborhood Park - a student project to model the 27-acre lot in the New Washington Heights neighborhood of Greenville County, South Carolina, and to explore possible future uses for this parcel of land.

Impact of Neighborhood Demographics and Emergency Department, EMS, and Hospital Utilization- a student GIS project designed to test whether low income and underserved neighborhoods in Greenville County, South Carolina are linked to having higher emergency department(ED), emergency medical services (EMS), and hospital inpatient utilization trends.

Case Study: Streetlight Mapping and Analysis Using a Drone and R-based Model- a GIS project designed to assess the effectiveness of streetlights in providing the safe and secure environment for the community.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

An engaged learning opportunity called FIT Rx pairs junior and senior health sciences (HSC) majors with approximately 35 faculty, staff, and spouses, to create individualized exercise training programs. Students meet with their "clients" up to 3x per week for the semester, providing feedback and guidance on health and exercise progress.

A Faculty-lead mindfulness and wellbeing non-credit class is open to students/staff/faculty.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:

The Shi Center for Sustainability houses a rotating student art exhibit that highlights sustainability issues.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.