Weston Dripps Furman University

Weston Dripps has always been extremely passionate about studying Earth Systems. He grew up in suburban Philadelphia and went on to study geosciences at Amherst College (BA), Dartmouth College (MS), and the University of Wisconsin (PhD). In between degrees, he worked as an exploration geologist in the oil, gas, and water sector, an environmental consultant, a hydrogeologist, a high school teacher and outdoor educator in the Swiss Alps, and a night club disc jockey. Before coming to Furman in 2005, Dripps was a researcher at MIT in the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering and an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts – Boston. At Furman, Dripps is known as a very engaging teacher, an active researcher, and an environmental activist and has been very involved with the university’s sustainability efforts and sustainability student living communities. He has won the universi ty’s Meritorious Teaching Award (2008), Student Organization Advisor of the Year (2009), and Engaged Living Award (2013). He has given more than 50 presentations at professional meetings and published more than a dozen peer reviewed journal articles on his research. He recently returned from a year long sabbatical in Sweden working at Lund University’s Center for Sustainability Studies.

Name Title Description


Earth and the Silver Screen

Basic concepts of earth and environmental sciences by exploring the portrayal of these concepts in mainstream television and film.


Environmental Science

Study of human transformation of Earth as a trade-off for growth of the human enterprise. Topics include changes in population, land cover (agriculture, deforestation, urbanization), climate, nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, biodiversity; limits of water, soil, energy and mineral resources; and links between population and consumption patterns.


ECOS Seminar


Watershed Hydrology

Study of the basic hydrologic concepts, the role of energy and biology in the hydrologic cycle, climate and precipitation, natural and anthropogenic inputs to water quality, and the concept of the watershed with emphasis on morphology, management and watershed functions.



Study of the hydrologic cycle, groundwater system, principles of groundwater flow, groundwater quality, monitoring and management techniques, computer modeling techniques.


Global Water Issues

The course is intended to introduce students to and foster discussion on the many scientific and political facets of the world's leading global water issues. The course covers a wide range of water resource and water policy topics.



This course is intended to take an interdisciplinary scientific approach to addressing the issue of the sustainability of industrial, agricultural, and natural systems. The course covers a wide range of global environmental topics with an emphasis on sustainability.


China and the Environment

The origin of China's current environmental crisis and policy recommendations for improving its environment using a multidisciplinary approach. Introduction of the science behind key environmental issues facing China and how political, social and economic factors impact China's natural environment and prospects for its preservation.


Sustainability Science

Introduction to the concepts of sustainability science and the complex problems associated with sustainability. In particular students will examine the challenge of supporting nine billion people without destroying the planetary resource base, social cohesion, and integrity of the individual. Labs will cover introduction to methods in sustainability.


Sustainability Leadership

Covering multiple facets of sustainability, encouraging students to experiment and live a more sustainable lifestyle, and providing leadership training for promoting campus and community sustainability.


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.


Sustainability Sci Practicum

Capstone experience in the major emphasizing solution-based research. Students will have the opportunity to conduct rigorous, applied research and further develop critical analysis skills. Research analysis will be conducted at the local level in partnership with local organizations (nonprofit, public, or private), addressing a pre-determined research question. Exploring topics that allow students to grapple with how to reduce environmental impact and increase social welfare, designed to encourage engaged scholarship" to prepare students for interdisciplinary team-based research in their careers. "


Furman Advantage Adv & Mntr

From past two years

*Denotes student co-author


  • Dripps, W., in review. A Campus Lake as the Centerpiece for a Semester Long Hydrology Course. Journal of Geoscience Education.
  • O’Bryne, D., Dripps, W. and Nicholas, K., in review. Teaching and Learning Sustainability: An Assessment of the Curriculum Content and Structure of Sustainability Degree Programs in Higher Education. Sustainability Science
  • Dripps, W., Lewis, G., *Baxter, R., and Andersen, C.B., in press. Hydrogeochemical Characterization of Headwater Seepages Inhabited by the Endangered Bunched Arrowhead (Sagittaria fasciculata) in the Upper Piedmont of South Carolina. Southeastern Naturalist.
  • Dripps, W. and *Granger, S., 2013. The Impact of Artificially Impounded, Residential Headwater Lakes on Downstream Water Temperature. Environmental Earth Sciences Journal 68: 2399–2407.
  • *Baldwin, E. and Dripps, W., 2012. Spatial Characterization and Analysis of the Campus Residential Waste Stream at a Small Private Liberal Arts Institution. Resources, Conservation, and Recycling 65: 107– 115.
  • Dripps, W., *Ashman, K, *Saunders, M., and *Drake, S., 2012. The Impact of Golf Courses on Stream Water Temperature. The Open Environmental and Biological Monitoring Journal 5: 14–21
  • Dripps, W., 2012. An Integrated Field Assessment of Groundwater Recharge. The Open Hydrology Journal 6: 15 – 22.

Professional Presentations:

  • *Bailey, B., Dripps, W. and Muthukrishnan, S., 2013. Spatial Analysis of Well Yields in Fractured Bedrock Terrains of the Piedmont of Northwestern South Carolina. Geological Society of America - Southeastern Section 62nd Annual Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 20 – 21, 2013.
  • *Bressler, A., Dripps, W., and Andersen, B., 2013. The Effectiveness of Rain Gardens at Mitigating Nitrogen Runoff to a Piedmont Lake, Greenville, South Carolina. Geological Society of America - Southeastern Section 62nd Annual Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 20 – 21, 2013.
  • *Beard, L. and Dripps, W., 2013. Characterization of the Hydrologic Variability of Habitats Inhabited by the Endangered Bunched Arrowhead (Sagittaria Fasciculata) in the Upper Piedmont of South Carolina. Geological Society of America - Southeastern Section 62nd Annual Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 20 – 21, 2013.
  • *Soike, M. and Dripps, W., 2013. A Comparative Analysis of Consumer Profiles among Farmers Markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Participants in the Upstate of South Carolina. Southern Sociological Society – 76th Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, April 24 – 27, 2013.
  • *Baldwin, E. and Dripps, W., 2012. Spatial Characterization and Analysis of the Campus Residential Waste Stream at a Small Private Liberal Arts Institution. Association for Behavior Analysis International 2012 Behavior Change for a Sustainable World Conference, Columbus, OH, August 3–5, 2012.
  • Alavosious, M., Dripps, W., Smith-Sebasto, N., and Stratton, J., 2012. Sustainability in Higher Education: Integrating Behavior Change Principles into Inter-disciplinary Curricula. Association for Behavior Analysis International 2012 Behavior Change for a Sustainable World Conference, Columbus, OH, August 3–5, 2012.
  • Dripps, W., 2012. The Water Footprint of Food. Lund Sustainability Conference, Lund, Sweden. May 15, 2012.
  • Dripps, W., 2012. Because Even Small Things Matter - Be the Change! Sustainable People, Sustainable Business, Sustainable World Conference. Malmo, Sweden. April 27, 2012.
  • Dripps, W., 2012. Water Wars – Conflict or Cooperation. Conference on International Affairs: Security and Resources. Lund, Sweden. April 21, 2012.
  • Dripps, W., 2012. How Big is Your Water Footprint? World Water Day, Vattenhallen, Lund, Sweden. March 22, 2012
  • Nicholas, K., Dripps, W., and *O’Bryne, D., 2012. Assessing Higher Education Curricula in Sustainability Science: Theory vs. Practice. Leuphana University Sustainability Summit, Luneburg, Germany, February 29 – March 2, 2012.
  • Dripps, W., 2011. Ensuring Water Security: Now and For the Future. World Water Youth Forum, Lund, Sweden. December 6, 2011.

Dripps sees his research as really an extension of his teaching, and as such has committed large amounts of his time working with students in the field and the lab on collaborative projects. He is trained as a physical hydrogeologist, although in addition to his ongoing interests in hydrology / hydrogeology, he has more recently been engaged with research in sustainability science. His hydrogeology research has focused on looking at the hydrologic impacts of urbanization on small headwater streams across the Piedmont of South Carolina. His sustainability research has centered on issues of campus sustainability (e.g., the campus waste stream, energy use, student recycling behavior) and regional food systems (e.g., the local and organic foods movement in South Carolina, farmers market demographics). Dripps currently serves as an elected geoscience councilor for the National Council on Undergraduate Research.

University of Wisconsin – Madison
Dartmouth College
Amherst College

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