Sustainability is a core value at Furman University, and there are many ways to get involved. The Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities aims to engage departments and offices to improve campus sustainability. In 2007, Furman signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. This pledge provides a framework and support for higher institutions to eliminate greenhouse gases on campuses in the United States. Furman University aims to achieve this through these 5 steps:

1.     To increase operations efficiency.

2.     To create a campus-wide culture of conservation to decrease energy use.

3.     To create a more sustainable transportation system through changes in behaviors and policies.

4.     To invest in renewable energy projects.

5.     To develop offset projects and sustainability-oriented service projects in the greater Greenville community.

As classes and operations are now up and running on campus, the Shi Institute has announced a campus-wide relaunch of the Green Office Certification Program. The objective of the program is to reduce the environmental impacts of office work and to create a culture of sustainability among employees. By broadening the program’s applicability to all Furman offices instead of just academic departments, we can begin a more holistic data collection on what sustainability measures are currently in place and where improvements can be made.

Departments that participate will complete a survey with seven categories: Energy, Paper, Waste & Recycling, Transportation, Food, Beverage & Dishware, Purchasing and Wellness & Social Responsibility. Survey questions will collect data on collective action behaviors such as bulk versus single-use coffee supplies or installing UCapture on each computer and recognizes offices for implementing their own sustainable work practices. At the end of the survey, a score will be calculated which will correspond to a ranking level: Participatory, Bronze, Silver, Gold. That said, there is no limit to how many times departments can take the survey! The Green Office program is designed to facilitate dialogue and encourages offices to increase their score.

The Green Office Certification Program recognizes that each workplace has unique barriers and acknowledges large scale limitations due to the systems in place (i.e., infrastructure). Program feedback is welcomed and incredibly beneficial.

As of now, 24 departments across Furman campus have completed the survey with three achieving a Gold level. If your office is interested in participating, please contact to receive a link to the survey.