Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities

Furman Reflective Walk

Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities

Greenville, South Carolina 29617, United States

Created By: The Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection, Furman University


In 2016, I realized I needed to make a professional move. I had shifted from an academic position where I had developed a new sustainability program that utilized electronic portfolios for students to demonstrate their competencies to a position that exclusively focused on electronic portfolios across their student experiences. Lucky for me I spied the opportunity to come to Furman University and join the well-established Sustainability Science major in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Sustainability Sciences. A big factor in my decision making was how pervasive and committed Furman is to sustainability and undergraduate learning experiences. For the third move in my academic career I had little tolerance for and interest in going somewhere that was not able to match ideals with the kinds of practice I sought over the last 20 years. The Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities provided the clearest, visible and tangible evidence beyond the academic major itself. The Institute provides an intellectual, practical and physical home for faculty, staff, students and community members to engage in a range of sustainability practices.

Since my arrival to Furman in 2017, I have enjoyed countless gatherings with faculty across campus at the Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities to discuss sustainability in a very casual and social space. It is the one space where I most frequently and intensively engage with others at Furman. It also serves as the physical location for workshops and conferences to engage faculty from other institutions who come for the intellectual engagement, but who frequently and consistently remark on the beauty and importance of the building, grounds and location to our work, but also in terms of a peaceful and thoughtful setting for mindfulness. Its location next to the lake enables a stimulating view of one of our most important global sustainability assets in terms of water. It enables easy access to the lake and to the path that circles the lake for walks during breaks. It is also surrounded by a range of botanical and animal diversity that I have utilized for my own teaching and learning, ranging from the naturalized shoreline vegetation, to the jewel of the Furman farm which provides hands-on learning experiences for students as well as food for our dining hall. Lastly, the Shi Institute borders the set of eco-cabins that provide an abode for students to live, learn and engage in mindful sustainability experiences. I am thankful for the opportunity to find such a committed and dedicated space and for such visionary leadership that established and continually supports such innovative and important work.

Questions for Reflection:

What are ways that you can incorporate sustainability in the ways that you eat?

How does experiencing the outdoors through sun, soil, plants, and water such as presented in the Shi Institute environs affect you?

Do you think sustainability is achievable and realistic, or just an idealized vision that serves as an aspirational goal?

How much of your life and decision making are driven by a commitment to an alignment of your values?

Contributor Statement:

Geoffrey Habron serves as Professor of Sustainability Science in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences. He teaches a range of courses such as Sustainability Science, Environmental Science, Resilience and Adaptation, and Sustainability and Social Justice. He also works with communities on applied projects through the senior Sustainability Science Practicum.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Furman Reflective Walk


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to