When it comes to pairing your education with your concern for the environment, Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina is the place for you — the college has sustainability baked into its mission and core values.
Wofford is a four-year, liberal arts college with a rich Methodist history. Its namesake, Benjamin Wofford, served for a period of time in the 1800s as an itinerant preacher for the Methodist Church among other ventures in South Carolina. After his death in 1850, Wofford left a bequest of $100,000 to “establish a college of literary, classical and scientific education to be located in my native district and to be under the control and management of the Methodist Church of my native state.” His gift was one of the largest given to American higher education prior to the Civil War.
With 24 different faith perspectives represented on campus, Wofford College provides a culture for spiritual enrichment in addition to academic excellence. The Halligan Center for Religious and Spiritual Life at Wofford College is home to 13 faith-based organizations as well as a Wesley Fellowship. According to the President of Wofford College, the center offers “community service opportunities and interfaith initiatives that provide an open forum for discussion and community engagement among different religious and faith traditions.”
Sustainability Is Institution-Wide
As part of the Wofford mission statement declares, “Wofford strives for sustainability in all aspects of college life through respect for the environment and through our core values.” This is especially evident in the University’s campus-wide sustainability dashboard, the “Energy & Sustainability Storyboard.” The storyboard provides real-time data on energy consumption by facility, energy generated by alternative power sources including solar, recycling and waste diverted from landfills, cold and hot water consumption by facility, and CO2 emissions. According to the storyboard, “Wofford has made a specific commitment to move toward reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that we emit or create in our operations.”
Since 2017, Wofford College has been an ENERGY STAR Partner in the Higher Education Business Sector, one of five higher education institutions in South Carolina to be listed with this distinction on the ENERGY STAR website. Partner organizations commit to continuous improvement of their energy usage to protect our environment.
These institution-wide objectives are geared toward intentionally improving the community’s environmental impact while also developing habits in all students that make caring for our environment second nature in everyday life decisions.
Community Sustainability Experience at Wofford
In 2015, Wofford College announced the Milliken Sustainability Initiative, made possible by a $4.25 million grant from the Romill Foundation. The Initiative fuels student social entrepreneurs and their business ideas as well as community-based coursework and research in the Northside and the Glendale communities surrounding Wofford College.
Residence halls in these neighborhoods are geared toward students with an interest in community sustainability. Resident students enroll in two courses in the fall with a faculty expert in community sustainability and take a practicum in the spring. This experience includes an internship with a partner organization, such as the Butterfly Foundation, the Urban Farm and the Early Childhood Development Center. The residence halls give students the opportunity to live, work, research, study, and talk with neighbors and friends in these neighborhoods to witness the impact of hands-on community sustainability efforts.
Sustainability Courses, Majors, and Minors
For the student whose passion is sustainability and environmental science, Wofford offers a biology major, environmental studies major or minor and a pre-veterinary science major.
The environmental studies major provides a cross-curricular program that allows students to shape their own course of study based on their primary interests, choosing between a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. Students study the interaction between the human and natural worlds in this program.
The environmental studies program is based out of the Goodall Environmental Studies Center, a restored historic textile mill building in the Glendale community. From the Goodall Center, environmental science students analyze river conditions of Lawson’s Fork Creek of the Pacolet River using EarthCam’s live streaming views of Glendale Shoals among other hands-on learning experiences the location affords students. The Environmental Studies program also offers an annual lectureship, the Tyson Family Lecture on the Preservation and Restoration of Southern Ecosystems, which is, according to the website, “devoted to issues related to the preservation, restoration and sustainability of Southern ecosystems.”
Clubs and Organizations
Wofford’s clubs and organizations open doors for students who are passionate about Creation Care. The campus is home to Beta Beta Beta, or TriBeta, a society for students dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. The society hosts many different events throughout the year, including adopting a stretch of highway and an alternative energy car show.
The WoCo Give/Twin Towers Volunteers aim to connect the Wofford community with the broader Spartanburg community through service projects and events. They host food drives and carnivals for local children as well as other events to support hunger and homelessness, animals, assisting the elderly, and giving local children a fun and safe place to play.
Students who are especially interested in working with animals or supporting wildlife can join Wofford’s Ducks Unlimited, which hosts an annual banquet to support wetlands and waterfowl conservation, the Equestrian Club, or Paws for a Cause, an animal-focused community service organization.
And of course, if you want to get out and enjoy the beautiful creation surrounding Spartanburg, SC, Wofford is also home to an Outdoors Club.
Whatever your passion regarding our amazing planet, Wofford has an inlet for you to explore and expand those interests. Learn more at wofford.edu.