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Report Card 2011

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Furman University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Furman University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $499 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Greenville, South Carolina


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Please note: Data was collected in summer 2010 and may no longer be current.


Data compiled from survey responses, when available, and from independent research, when needed. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the  Methodology section.

Overall grade  
A -
A sustainability master plan was drafted by the 124-member Sustainability Planning Council. The plan incorporates sustainability in Furman's curriculum, operations, and campus life, and was approved by the board of trustees in 2009. Funding for student sustainability projects is available through a revolving loan fund, and 14 staff and faculty work full or part time on sustainability initiatives.
Furman passed a climate action plan that includes a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 93 percent below 2007 levels by 2026. In order to meet this goal, the university has installed lighting sensors, electric metering, T5 and T8 lighting, and has retrocommissioned HVAC systems for efficiency. Energy awareness campaigns and audits also encourage conservation.
Dining services spends 36 percent of its food budget on local food items and also purchases organic produce. Fair trade coffee is available in all dining locations, and discounts are offered for the use of reusable mugs. Preconsumer scraps are composted at all meals, and 35,000 pounds of excess food was donated to a food bank in 2009. Nearly all meals are trayless.
All new buildings and major renovations are required to meet LEED Silver standards. Eight buildings currently meet LEED criteria, and 82 percent of construction and demolition waste is diverted from landfills. The university has installed dual-flush toilets, greywater systems, and low-flow fixtures, and has decreased water usage by 20 percent from 2005 levels.
Students at Furman may choose to live in sustainability-themed housing that incorporates academics and campus environmental projects into their living experience. The university employs 12 sustainability interns/fellows throughout the year. Student groups on campus are campaigning to conserve water and energy as well as promote organic farming, composting, and waste reduction.
Ninety-four percent of the student body commutes to campus via environmentally preferable means, mainly by biking or walking. A free bike-sharing program is currently being piloted, and vehicular traffic on campus is limited during business hours. The university maintains a web forum to assist community members in carpooling efforts, and 37 percent of Furman's vehicle fleet is electric.
The university makes a list of all holdings available to the public. Information about managers and fund holdings is available online, and information about individual holdings is available at the investment office. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level is also available at the investment office to the public.
The university aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The endowment is exploring, but not currently invested in, on-campus energy and water efficiency projects. The university also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The university provides its investment managers with general guidelines that determine its proxy votes.
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