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As summer closes in, the Furman Farm continues to make fresh produce available to the community. At their one-quarter acre, on-campus plot, Furman students plant, tend to and harvest a variety of fruits and vegetables. The farm, which began operations five years ago, now also includes a produce stand open to the public during growing seasons. The Travelers Rest Tribune writes about the organic garden that is adjacent to the Shi Center for Sustainability.
Furman began installing energy-producing solar panels on its campus more than a decade ago. But the university’s solar energy push has hit a wall, reaching a state limit that prevents it from installing more solar to heat and light campus buildings. The State newspaper in Columbia reported on how Furman, which is well-known for its green campus initiatives, is one of the first—and most visible—examples of how the state’s limit on sun power stands to affect solar energy expansion across South Carolina.
For a seasoned gardener, Furman University isn’t the obvious place to stop for vegetable and flower seedlings. But judging the spread available at Furman’s 2013 Earth Day Festival, it might become one.
That’s what Joy Owens is hoping for.
Every spring, Owens and members of the Furman in the Garden club grow and sell seeds that were produced in a 1/4-acre farm that is adjacent to Furman’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. The annual sell typically nets positive results. However, Owens is hoping the Earth Day Festival will bring more attention to what her club and others like it are doing at Furman.
Furman is among the schools selected for inclusion in fourth annual addition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition. Published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, the free, comprehensive guide focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment and to sustainability.
The David E. Shi Center for Sustainability at Furman University has completed a campus-wide sustainability analysis and greenhouse gas report that has resulted in a silver rating for the university. The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating SystemTM (STARS) and greenhouse gas report (GHG) are the standard tools colleges and universities employ to measure their comprehensive sustainability performance. Furman improved its overall performance over past years and scored better than average in three out of five major reporting categories, resulting in a 17 percent improvement over its last measured performance in 2011.
Furman will host an Earth Day Festival Saturday, April 20, 1-6 p.m. at the amphitheater and other areas of campus. The event, hosted by Furman’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability and the Greenbelt Community, is free and open to the public. The amphitheater is located next to the Shi Center and near the Furman Lake. The festivities will include live music, earth-friendly foods, children’s activities, tours of Furman landmark buildings, a “Water Walk,” and opportunities to chat with experts about sustainable living among other activities. Leading up to Earth Day, Furman Soccer will host a “Soccer Extravaganza” Friday April 19, noon-4 p.m. in the Stone Soccer Stadium to help promote the festival and to build community around the event. The soccer event also includes live music and local vendors.
Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It), will speak on the Furman campus Wednesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. in Shaw Hall of the Younts Conference Center. His lecture, “Why We Waste Food, Why It Matters, and What We Can Do About It,” is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Furman’s Shi Center for Sustainability, Edible Upcountry Magazine and Greenville Forward.
Nell Newman, co-founder of Newman’s Own Organics, met Thursday evening at the Shi Center for Sustainability with a group of about 15 students to discuss topics ranging from nutrition to marketing and politics. Newman was the keynote speaker at Upstate Forever’s ForeverGreen Awards Luncheon Thursday afternoon in downtown Greenville. The sustainable agriculture activist then came to Furman to mingle with students and share her story.
by Jenn Summers ’13, Contributing Writer
Topics ranged from nuclear energy to natural gas and solar panels Wednesday night when a documentary film on energy alternatives Switch was shown to a packed Burgiss Theater. The film was followed by a powerhouse panel of related speakers including Bob Inglis, former South Carolina congressman and current director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, Doug Webster from the city of Greenville’s Green Ribbon Advisory Committee, and James Brown, senior director of engineering, from construction and engineering firm giant Fluor Corp.
Furman’s Community Conservation Corps (CCC) works to provide free home weatherization to low income homeowners in the greater Greenville community. As a result of its efforts, the organization has been selected to receive the Clear Skies Champion award from Upstate Forever. The CCC will be honored at the ForeverGreen Annual Awards Luncheon on Feb. 21.