Furman University Gold STARS Highlights

The STARS framework assesses a campus’ sustainability efforts related to Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration. Of these, Furman most excels in Academics (Curriculum score 32.64/37.00; Research score 16.00/18.00) and Engagement (Campus Engagement score 20.00/20.00; Public Engagement score 16.64/21.00).


~All twenty-four academic departments at Furman offer at least one course that addresses a sustainability challenge.  The principles of the Earth Charter are used to identify course content that connects to sustainability.

~738 of 1,088 (68%) undergraduate courses in the 2013-14 academic year include content on sustainability principles.

~In the campus-wide Sustainability Perceptions survey, respondents associated the term sustainability with “recycling,” “green,” and “environment.”  78% believe that sustainability is important in how they live, and 59% are interested in integrating sustainability in their careers.

~Nineteen out of the twenty-four academic departments engage in sustainability research.


~All students who attend summer orientation are provided the opportunity to learn about campus sustainability programs and opportunities, including the long-term student bike rental program, Paladins on Bikes. 

~Furman offers a variety of co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives such as the Global Issues Forum, The Furman Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, Environmental Action Group (EAG), and a Summer Scholars program for prospective high school students. 

~Of the 372 continuing education courses offered by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, 238 of them address sustainability. 

~A total of 1,960 Furman students were engaged in community service and contributed 42,064 community service hours in FY2014. 

~The Shi Center for Sustainability student fellows programs provides funding, placements, and mentoring for approximately 25 students each year in sustainability research and service on campus and in the community.


~Building Energy Consumption: Furman earned high marks for its reduction of energy consumption in buildings from baseline year 2007, and for high energy efficiency of buildings compared to industry standards. 

~Biodiversity: The university was recognized for its collaborative efforts between grounds staff and faculty and student researchers in maintaining the campus as a wildlife habitat, particularly its protection of the endangered plant species, the Bunched Arrowhead. 

~Transportation (Student Commute Modal Split): A recent survey revealed that 88% of student trips from their residence to campus were made by walking, biking, or other non-motorized means. Campus residence and parking policies support an experience that encourages students to see how alternative commuting might fit into their lives beyond Furman. 

~Rainwater management: Furman earned full marks for its policies and practices around rainwater management. Select Low Impact Development practices on campus include rain gardens, rooftop rainwater harvesting, below-ground stormwater sediment traps, and use of Swan Lake as a retention pond and source of water for irrigation.

Planning and Administration 

~Sustainability strongly considers human well-being and quality of life. Some areas of success for Furman included support for underrepresented groups; coordination of diversity and equity programs; assessing employee satisfaction; and an employee wellness program. 

~The university earned full credit for its sustainability planning efforts which established goals for many areas of campus life. Sustainable Furman, the university’s sustainability master plan, is available online.


~Furman earned points for two innovation credits, i.e. initiatives not otherwise considered as best practices in the STARS framework. These included accreditation of the campus as a Level I Arboretum through the Morton Register of Arboreta, and the Engaged Living Environmental Community of Students (ECOS) program that integrates a first-year residential experience with sustainability-focused coursework. 

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