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Furman receives community impact award from USGBC Carolinas

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Furman's Wes Dripps, executive director of the Shi Center, receives the U.S. Green Building Council Carolinas plaque at the USGBC Sustainable Business Awards.

Furman University has received a Sustainable Business Award from the U.S. Green Building Council Carolinas. The announcement was made Dec. 5 during the USGBC Carolinas: Green Gala & Sustainable Business Awards, which was held at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The award recognizes excellence in high-performance design, environmental stewardship and community impact, and highlights the green building initiatives and achievements of local projects, businesses and individual leaders.

“As an academic institution we strive to train the next generation of community change agents, who are poised to make real impact in their communities, particularly around sustainability issues,” said Wes Dripps, executive director of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. “The need for systems thinkers and change agents is great and will continue to increase. We are truly honored to receive this leadership award and recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council and look forward to working with the USGBC in furthering our collective sustainability efforts on campus and in the community.”

Furman has garnered numerous awards over the last decade including a gold STARS rating, a top 10 national ranking among baccalaureate institutions and a National Campus Sustainability Achievement Award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), among others.

The Shi Center for Sustainability promotes the study and practice of sustainability on campus and in the community. Examples of the center’s reach include:

  • Shi Center Student Fellows program where students engage in sustainability research and action around campus and community-based sustainability projects. Shi Center Fellows have partnered with more than 30 local organizations.
  • Community Conservation Corps (CCC), a partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Piedmont Natural Gas, provides free weatherization services to low-income homeowners.
  • Partnership with United Way of Greenville County to assess gentrification in the county, and a collaborative study with the City of Greenville Community Development office to evaluate zoning as a barrier to high-density residential development.
  • A 6-acre solar farm, the largest on a South Carolina college campus, is moving Furman toward carbon neutrality. It is open to the public for those interested in learning about solar power generation. A small herd of sheep onsite helps control grasses around the panels.
  • The Furman Farm, which is open to the public, is a quarter-acre organic garden with a comprehensive composting program.

“Our strategy for designing and operating our campus facilities in the most efficient and sustainable manner possible has led to the use and adoption of many innovative technologies in our built environment,” said Jeff Redderson, Furman’s assistant vice president of facilities. “We appreciate the USGBC for its leadership and for recognizing our sustainability efforts both on and off campus.”

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