Importance of Bikes-Lauren Prunkl

I grew up exploring my grandparents’ town Mobile, Alabama by going on endless bike rides. My grandfather always makes sure that each family member has a bike to ride whenever we are at his home. At age 76, my grandfather still cycles forty plus miles at times. My Uncle Scott has been an avid cyclist for many years. In 1996, my uncle was in a severe seaplane accident. His best friend and the pilot tragically died in the crash. My uncle was rushed to the hospital with only a 3% chance of survival because of all the major injuries he incurred. Miraculously he survived after many surgeries. Only thirteen months after the accident he completed a triathlon in Destin, Florida. He continues to do Ironman’s and cycling races today. The importance of biking has been prominent in my family which is one reason why I find biking so important.

As the Alternate Transportation fellow, fostering a community centered on biking is important for students to stay healthy, but is also very significant for building sustainability on campus. Offering alternate transportation options such as biking, carpooling, and public transportation helps Furman reach its carbon neutrality goal by 2026. Many Furman students bike on campus, but some cannot bring a bike to school. Paladins on Bikes was created to give students an opportunity to rent a bike for a semester. There are currently twenty bikes for students to rent. The program started in 2014, and provides students with a bike, helmet, and U-Lock for a standard fee. My main job is to run the program throughout the year. Promoting biking by offering group bike rides is one way to increase bike participation on campus. This Saturday there will be a bike ride to Travelers Rest for bike rental members and Furman students. This is a great way to stay out of the car, be active, and connect with people who enjoy riding.

Along with having bike rentals comes the need for maintenance. A Fixit bike repair stand has recently been installed in the Trone Student Center courtyard. There are various tools and an air pump for students, faculty, and community members to use. In addition, a bike cover was installed in October in front of Lakeside housing. These have been exciting additions to Furman’s campus. I was put in contact with Village Wrench which is a non-profit organization focusing on bike repairs for the Greenville community. They host events to build leadership and repair skills among those who heavily rely on bikes as their main transportation. Connecting Heller Service Corps with Village Wrench will allow students to serve the Greenville community, as well as provide bike maintenance sessions on campus. Lastly, Paladins on Bikes partners with Sunshine Cycle Shop for standard and major repairs on the bike rentals. They have been great to work alongside to maintain the rental program. Enjoy the sunshine this weekend by riding your bike. As my Uncle would say: it’s a “Great day to be alive!”

Pondamonium -Darrin Anderson

As the years go by, the importance of ponds become more and more apparent. As more amounts of pollution occurs in the world, healthy ponds keep biodiversity with the freshwater variants of plants and aquatic life. The incredible amounts of pollution throughout the world threatens about 100 million humans, as well as kills 1 million sea birds and mammals every year. With the mind-boggling numbers of pollution, correctly constructed and maintained ponds reduce number of pollution related deaths. Freshwater ponds reduce the effects of pollution, while providing a welcome view and relaxing space for everyone around them.

The pond at the Shi Center contains koi fish, as well as a gold fish. There is also another pond on campus in the Asian Garden, this pond harbors over 30 koi, and sustains life for animals around the area. Life that is welcomed in the Shi Center pond may seem insignificant, but as the number of ponds increase, the animals that are sustained in a healthy environment also increases. When people think of ponds, they think of an area where fish swim, and insects thrive, they are not incorrect. One important action towards curbing pollution is sustaining healthy ponds throughout the globe, and acting to keep the water sources in the world unpolluted and able to sustain life.

Ponds around the world keep wildlife thriving, while keeping a great view for everyone around. Important pollution constrictor can also be describing ponds, as they keep wildlife going, and aerate the freshwater.

Sue at the Shi Center keeps the pond healthy and prospering. Sue’s tremendous knowledge of everything from plants, to trees, to water systems is used to competently do the job of preserving the Shi Center. I had to adapt ways to get the jobs assigned by Sue done, and learn about the many families of plants and trees and ponds to better my understanding of landscape architects’ method to their madness. Years of knowledge by Sue Black is employed to keep the Shi Center area and ponds beautiful, I learn, every day from Mrs. Black, invaluable knowledge of pond upkeep and landscaping methods and techniques to assist in my future endeavors in landscaping and pond maintenance.

The Tijuana Dump and Bottled Water: An American’s Journey to Waste Management – Chambers English

As a product of middle-class suburbia, I never knew the realities most of the world regularly faced. Over the past two summers, however, this small view of the world has been crushed while I served with Spectrum Ministries in Tijuana, Mexico and experienced the truth about poverty. The full-time missionaries connected us with the direst of circumstances: neighborhoods without running water, hungry orphanages, and a community of people living within the city dump. For the first time, my nose smelled a million tons of rotting garbage, my ears heard the stories of the forgotten, my eyes saw malnourished children, my hands felt the leathery embrace of resident laborers in the dump. And I was forced to drink bottled water.

Through the weeks I spent south of the border, I saw consumerism in an entirely new way. Municipal water hardly reaches downtown Tijuana, so the suburbs largely rely on companies to deliver unregulated water to cisterns at their homes. The companies pump water from aquifers and reservoirs tainted with chemicals, human feces, and agricultural waste. My team bought case after case of bottled water to supplement the limited, doubtful water which came through the taps of the suburbs and quench the thirst of the destitute. The greatest victims, exiled to the city dump to toil endlessly, had no access to water at all. Often these men and women forced themselves into such a calloused corner through a combination of American deportation, drug-use, and crime. They slave away for the dump owner, building make-shift homes from the products they find, sorting and burning trash, and selling materials for a fraction of their value.

The people I met and the injustice I witnessed are forever burned in my mind. Returning to the States, the transition back to such affluence and wanton waste shocked me, so I try to consciously limit my consumption. One easy way we can all cut back on our waste is by drinking less bottled water. Here, our municipal tap water is regulated every hour for cleanliness — we are not in dire need of safe water. In fact, much of bottled water is actually taken straight from the tap. This scam by beverage corporations has fooled some American consumers into paying 2000x more for bottled water than tap. So the next time you’re in the grocery store and pass by the bottled water, save your money and your decency. Others around the world don’t have the luxuries you do.

The Story of Bottled Water

Waste Management Plan Development and Audit Fellow- Ying Yang

I am the Waste Management Plan Development and Audit Fellow this year. I mainly work on analyzing the waste data and then bring up possible solutions based on current campus waste situation. Achieving zero waste on campus could substantially contribute to the carbon neutrality goal in 2026. Coordinating with Dr. Dripps, our waste audit team is made up five members. Currently, we only have the waste audit data from 2008 to 2010. Due to the manpower and research focus on previous waste research, the waste audit generated was not very comprehensive.

It is essential to have an accurate analysis of the major waste resources on campus and generate practical suggestions for different students bodies and faculties to eliminate 90 percent of school waste. In order to have a precise and explicit data for future waste audit analysis, we integrate previous waste audit methodology with a more through plan. Basically, we separated the dumpsters around campus into eight different categories and made a protocol about which trash go to which waste stream. This four weeks long comprehensive waste audit will be implemented seasonally as benchmark for further analysis. Compare to other schools’ waste audit that mainly focuses on the residential or institutional waste, Furman’s waste audit plan includes both wastes from residential and institutional. Moreover, the specific categories of waste resources could take different students bodies and lifestyle into consideration. Targeting those varied waste streams in spatial differences, I am able to conclude and customize specific suggestions to eliminate waste. Those targeting suggestions would be more efficient and practical than the general suggestion to the entire campus as whole. If our waste audit method works well on Furman, it can be widespread other, similar-sized, liberal arts schools first and then bigger schools to help them achieve zero waste as well.

I am really excited to see the outcome of this waste audit plan. From brainstorming to researching other schools’ waste audit plan to customizing Furman’s unique one, our waste team always tries to figure out the best way to design the plan and arrange our next steps. During the discussion process, we encounter a host of perplexing issues and difficulties. As researchers, we go through wide range of journal articles and discuss among teammates and professors to generate the solutions. This kind of real-life research and learning pattern equip me with better learning experience and different perspectives on sustainability.

Introduction to the Year

Welcome back to the Furman Green Scene Blog!

My name is Caneel and I am one of the Communications and Outreach Fellows for the David E. Shi Center here at Furman University for the 2015-2016 school year. I am in charge of the social media for the center so the blog falls under that realm. This blog is a way for the Center as well as its numerous fellows who work within it to keep the public updated on everything happening around the Center and around campus.

In order for the readers to not get bored with what we post here on the blog we came up with a system that we have been using for the past couple of years that seems to be going pretty well. Each week, typically on Friday, we will have a blog submission from one of the multiple fellows that work at the Center. They will be able to tell you about what their role at the Center is, what their plan for the year is and how their job at the center can be applied to sustainability as a whole.

While the posts here will be weekly, if you would like to be involved with more up to date news about the Center please follow us on:

Facebook- David E. Shi Center for Sustainability

Instagram- sustainablefurman

Twitter- SustainableFurman

We hope you follow our blog and other social medias to stay up to date on the news about sustainability here at Furman and stay tuned to our post next week from our first fellow.

Gardening For Good

By: Tim Sharp
This summer I worked with Gardening for Good to aid and promote community gardening in Greenville County. I have been putting off writing the blog post for my fellowship for a while; mostly because whenever I would sit down to write, I would end up writing something that I thought was boring or I felt like I was never doing anything romantic enough to write a blog post about. Well, my fellowship has ended and it is time that I finally write something for you to read.
             At the beginning of the summer I was starting to feel like I had breached the threshold of becoming an adult, mostly due to the routine that I had started. Each morning I would wake up, iron my shirt, listen to NPR on my morning commute, and work in my cubicle. Despite my earlier thoughts that I would die before I worked a nine to five job in a cubicle, I actually kind of liked the routine. I felt like an adult and my productivity really showed it. I was able to fly through my daily tasks of working on my brochure, online inventory of our tool library, or even systematically call each coffee shop in town to track down burlap sacks. Everything I did had a weight of importance to it and I often went home feeling like I had accomplished a lot. In July, halfway through my fellowship, Gardening for Good transitioned from the cubicles of Greenville Forward to the tool shed of Project Host.
            I was pretty excited for the transition to Project Host, because it meant that the dress attire would shift to casual and we would get wonderful daily lunches from the Project Host Culinary School. The dynamics of my fellowship were interesting because my boss worked part-time, while I worked full time, leaving me to work alone for half of the week. The first day that we moved into the tool shed happened to be one of the days that I was flying solo, meaning that I would have to rearrange the shed into a workable space that we could call our office. Luckily, there were two brothers that were volunteering for the summer who lent me a hand in creating “the office.” After finishing the move, and answering the questions, “Why do you guys have so many books?” and “Are you really going to work in here?” I started to prepare myself for a day of work in the tool shed. Instead, Voc, the older brother said, “No, no, no. Now you have to help us.” One hour and three buckets of weeds later, I earned a little bit of respect from the boys for returning the favor as well as the nickname “Baby Tim” for my obvious lack of garden know-how. After that day, the feel of my fellowship took a drastic turn.
            Suddenly, I did not feel like an adult, but a kid again. While my NPR relationship intensified as I listened to “Morning Edition”, “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” and, my favorite, “This American Life,” my sense of adulthood had vanished. Daily lunches with the brothers, Voc and Quay, made me laugh stupidly, weeding in the garden made me sweat happily, and working in the soup kitchen made me give generously. Thankfully, I was able to experience two working environments this summer that were polar opposites of each other and is food for thought as I start to decide the environment I want to work in after graduating college.

The Carl Sandburg Home

By: James Sturges

As a Computer Science major, my view is probably a little different than most. In my field, we expect things to run smoothly and well, like a well-oiled machine. Computers are my forte; you give them a command, they do it quickly and accurately (so long as the command was not misspelled). In my fellowship this summer, I have realized this is not quite the case with people more often than not.

I participated in two positions this summer. Firstly, as a ParKids Fellow, and secondly as a Citizen Science fellow, both at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in Flat Rock, North Carolina. In both, flexibility was the name of the game, and sustainability manifested in different ways.

With ParKids (a contraction of Park and Kids), I led kids who were in, well, parks, through a variety of different learning activities; some of these were related to Carl Sandburg and his poetry, and others were related to the environment. For younger kids, it is more important to get kids outside than to hammer in concepts of sustainability; kids get more excited about a cool bug than green energy. If you instill a love of the outdoors into kids, a love of the environment will surely follow. Sometimes, though, things would not quite click. During a poetry reading, the group might not have the reading comprehension needed to succeed, so I would step in and read for them while they act out the poem, or I would even act the poem to set an example for them!

For adults, though, it is a different story, and this is where my second position, Citizen Science Leader, fits in. I would train adults, usually retired, on how to identify different stages of phenology (stages) on trees and plants on the beautiful Carl Sandburg Home site so that we can understand how climate change is affecting when and how different plants go through their stages. Additionally, we monitor Monarch Butterfly populations to understand why the population is dwindling. I would additionally lead email correspondence; I would set up training sessions and set up appointments to answer questions about the process. Often times, at the last minute a person would not be able to make it to a training session, so I would scour the calendar for a free spot to make sure they get the training they need to collect valuable data for the site.

In both of these positions, though, I have had to learn how to become a more flexible person. The Carl Sandburg Home is a National Park, and park funding has been declining in recent years, so there are not as many hands on deck as we would like at all times, and so all staff and volunteers must be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. Because of this, I might be tossed into leading a house tour with fifteen minutes notice, or move a table, or lead a school group. Learning to shift priorities and stay on top of everything has been the biggest skill I’ve gained through my fellowship.

My fellowship throughout these ten weeks has taught me so much more than I can express in one blog post, and I am very thankful toward both the David E. Shi Center and the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site for such a great fellowship opportunity this summer.