Furman University to Host Climate Action Planning Workshop Jan. 8-9

January 5, 2009

GREENVILLE, SC – Representatives from four colleges and universities well known for their innovative environmental efforts will be on the Furman University campus Jan. 8-9 to participate in a Climate Action Planning (CAP) workshop.

The workshop, hosted by Furman and The Duke Endowment of Charlotte, N.C., is designed to help Furman and the other Duke Endowment-supported schools (Davidson College, Duke University and Johnson C. Smith University) develop climate action plans for making their campuses carbon neutral.

The four institutions giving presentations are Cornell (N.Y.) University, Middlebury (Vt.) College, Pomona (Ca.) College and the University of New Hampshire.  A representative from Cool Air-Clean Planet, a New Hampshire-based organization dedicated to finding and promoting solutions to global warming, will present the keynote address at the workshop.

The four visiting representatives from other institutions have recently completed the major elements or the entirety of their climate action plans, and they’ll be able to provide valuable insights about how they managed to accomplish that, said Angela Halfacre, Director of Sustainability and Environmental Education and an associate professor of political science at Furman.  Furman will be used as the case study for examining possible approaches, and we hope to have a working outline of our climate action plan completed by the end of the workshop.

Halfacre said Furman has successfully completed an inventory of its current greenhouse gases (publicly submitted September 2008 at http://acupcc.aashe.org/), and its next step is to create and implement a plan that includes a target date and interim milestones for achieving campus climate neutrality.

Furman is one of more than 600 colleges and universities that have made a formal commitment to pursue the goal of making their campuses climate neutral by a specified date in the future.  In addition to being a founding member of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, Furman president David Shi also serves in the group’s Leadership Circle.

Other South Carolina schools that have signed the commitment are Clemson University, College of Charleston, Medical University of South Carolina, University of South Carolina and Wofford College.

The sustainability professionals who will give presentations and coordinate working groups at the workshop are Dean Koyanagi, Sustainability Coordinator at Cornell University; Jack Byrne, Director of Sustainability Integration at Middlebury College; Bowen Patterson, Sustainability Coordinator at Pomona College; and Brett Pasinella, Program Coordinator for Climate and Biodiversity Education Initiatives at the University of New Hampshire.  Jennifer Andrews, Campus Program Manager for Clean Air-Cool Planet, will give the keynote address.

To facilitate the process of drafting a climate action plan, the workshop has been limited to the presenters, representatives from the Duke Endowment, the Duke Endowment institutions, and those who can provide information (campus and community representatives) for the Furman case study.

The Duke Endowment is a private foundation established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke.  Its mission is to serve the people of North Carolina and South Carolina by supporting selected programs of higher education, health care, children’s welfare, and spiritual life.  In the area of higher education, the Endowment provides annual funding for Furman, Duke, Davidson and Johnson C. Smith.