Sustainability through the Years

Written by Alex Craig

Furman has experienced significant progress with regards to sustainability practices. This is a widely accepted piece of common knowledge both on campus and within the community. With this overarching notion of success, we often lose sight of the many tangible steps the university has taken to reach where we stand today. This summer, I will be researching the history behind the David E. Shi Center and general sustainability at Furman. As a rising-senior History major at Furman, I have spent a great deal of my time here preaching the importance of history in our world today. The study of history is the exposure to everything we’ve experienced as a society. We document our successes and failures so that future generations can learn and achieve even more.

My goal for this summer is exactly this – to compile Furman’s sustainability history into a form that is comprehensive and accessible to future students and faculty. The history of sustainability here is rich, but it is not readily available besides through word of mouth and through scattered documents. Especially over the course of the last decade, Furman has seen countless experiences that not only deserve to be passed on, but are necessary learning tools for the future of sustainability on this campus. Everything from the creation of the Furman Lake in 1960 to the approval of a Sustainability Science major in 2010 is vital to the mission of the Shi Center. We cannot achieve our goals of action, such as being carbon neutral by 2026, without campus-wide awareness of sustainability and its history in the university community.

A photo of students preparing for a swim in the Furman Lake. The Lake was closed to recreational purposes in the early 1990s due to extremely low water quality levels. With help from the Shi Center, a comprehensive Lake Restoration project has been underway since 2006.
A photo of students preparing for a swim in the Furman Lake. The Lake was closed to recreational purposes in the early 1990s due to extremely low water quality levels. With help from the Shi Center, a comprehensive Lake Restoration project has been underway since 2006.

I look forward to taking on this project. Given that this is a relatively new assignment, there are many different forms my final product could potentially take. Whatever form that may be, I am optimistic that it will be a helpful tool for future members of the Furman community. It should be something that can be intently studied by students and faculty, but also appreciated by the community member passing through the Shi Center on a Saturday afternoon.

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