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The Shi Institute Heralds a New Chapter in Sustainability at Furman

Dr. Westen Dripps discusses the Shi Institute's renaming and new structure.

The Shi Institute will include three different centers: the Center for Sustainability Education, the Center for Applied Sustainability Research, and the Center for Sustainability Leadership. Shi Institute

On Oct. 27th, Furman announced that the Shi Center for Sustainability had been officially renamed the Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities. According to Executive Director at the Shi Institute Dr. Weston Dripps, the renaming marks a new chapter in sustainability at Furman.

When considering the new title, Dripps said, “We spent about a year developing the new vision and strategy, talking with key stakeholders, and planning for the transition.”. He noted that it will take a few more years before the full extent of the Institute’s vision is fulfilled, but for now students can look forward to several immediate changes.    

As part of the changes ahead, the Shi Institute will now house three separate centers: The Center for Sustainability Education, The Center for Applied Sustainability Research, and The Center for Sustainability Leadership. The Center for Sustainability Education will help propel the Institute’s previous focus on teaching current students and faculty about sustainability.

The Center for Applied Sustainability Research will provide research opportunities for faculty, students, and community partners as well as sustainability consulting, profession, and educational services. Dripps explained that this Center will be “aimed at creative solutions to community sustainability issues.”  

Lastly, the Shi Institute’s Center for Sustainability Leadership will provide new opportunities for students who want to become more involved in sustainability efforts in our community. Dripps explained that this Center “will support visionary, solution- and action-oriented leadership programs, workshops, and events” that are all designed to connect, cultivate, and empower a statewide network that advances the sustainability of our communities and our state.  

Renaming and reimagining the structure of the Shi Institute will help elevate the organization’s already successful programs, which have already helped Furman reach the #9 rank among all baccalaureate institutions in the United States according to the 2020 AASHE Sustainable Campus Index. Dripps concluded that he is proud of the changes and excited for the Institute’s future.  

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