Business and Entrepreneurship
Boot Camp students collaborate
on coursework.


For more than 160 years, Furman has been a vital part of Greenville’s culture, history and economy. Summer programs for children, public arts events, lectures and workshops, and continuing education opportunities enrich the lives of residents. Numerous university organizations and programs make measurable impacts on Greenville’s economy, public health, education and quality of life. They include the Office for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Institute for the Advancement of Community Health (IACH), the Collaborative for Community Engaged Learning, the Riley Institute, Heller Service Corps and the Shi Center for Sustainability.

The Furman Advantage is furthered by partnerships with Prisma Health, Bon Secours, the Greenville Drive and more than 70 nonprofits who serve the Upstate, creating environments where students, faculty, staff and alumni collaborate across academic disciplines to gain and apply knowledge for the public good.

A sound investment
A recent study conducted by Furman Associate Professor of Economics Jason Jones and student Dyson Robinson ’18 measured the university’s annual economic impact on Greenville County and the surrounding Upstate counties. Furman’s economic contribution to Greenville County in 2017-18 was $288.1 million, with another $9.1 million impacting the economies of Anderson, Laurens, Pickens and Spartanburg counties.

Furman’s Office for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is focused on developing innovative leaders who are adaptable to a workforce that demands them to either be entrepreneurs creating new ventures or entrepreneurially minded leaders driving innovation within existing organizations. Partnerships with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s NEXT SC program and angel investor group VentureSouth have laid the foundation to extend these contributions to the greater Greenville community. In addition to talent-development programs, such as Furman’s inaugural Business and Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, Furman is collaborating with regional and local entrepreneurial networks to develop an innovation hub and business incubator space that will bring together civic, corporate and academic institutions to colocate and accelerate the development of ventures.

Change makers
This year The Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) gained its 2,143rd Riley Fellow with the graduation of 153 leaders from the Upstate, Midlands and Lowcountry classes. DLI participants are identified through a rigorous process including a nomination, application and interview and are selected based on their capacity to impact their organizations and communities. Graduates become members of a powerful, cross-sector, statewide network that includes business leaders and corporate CEOs; national, state and local elected officials; school superintendents, nonprofit heads, and faith and creative leaders; and many other community leaders.

This year’s classes launched 20 community action projects across the state, part of 260 to date. These projects, connected to countless needs and people – from public education to transportation or homelessness to foster care – make a collective impact that drives immediate and lasting benefits throughout the state.

Heller Service Corps students volunteer their time and services at 70 organizations that assist Greenville residents. Students support local schools by raising money for supplies and improvements to facilities, serving the hungry in local food banks, working with the homeless in shelters and job-search programs, mentoring Greenville’s youth and enriching the lives of residents with special needs. Heller Service Corps is the largest student group on Furman’s campus, involving more than 1,800 students in service projects annually.

Senior Leaders Greenville, a program of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Furman, graduated its fifth class in May. The program empowers participants to become active in fostering better lives for seniors in the Upstate and equips them to be advocates for the senior population. Senior Leaders is a natural extension of OLLI, which has provided opportunities for learning, creativity, health and well-being, and personal connection to Greenville retirees for more than 25 years.

Sean Rusnak '19 will pursue master's
degrees in public health and urban planning
at the University of Colorado this fall.

“We rode the buses and collected people’s stories so that we could become better advocates . . . and then we translated that into coming back onto campus and letting people know how important it is.”

2018-19 Health Policy Post-Baccalaureate Fellow and advocate for public transportation funding in Greenville

Healthier, happier lives
Furman students and faculty collaborated with community leaders to develop an innovative tool that will benefit the health and well-being of the greater Greenville community. Imap, a web-based mapping application that allows community members to search a database of essential services available throughout Greenville County, was developed through a partnership between Furman’s Collaborative for Community Engaged Learning, Prisma Health Upstate, the United Way of Greenville County and Greenville County. The mobile-friendly web application is increasing awareness of and access to essential life services such as food, housing, health care and even recreational opportunities.

The university’s Medical Legal Partnership with Prisma Health Upstate and South Carolina Legal Services has helped 250 families in the Upstate. The MLP, the first of its kind in South Carolina, seeks to improve health outcomes for Upstate residents, especially those living in poverty. MLP staff, partners and student interns work to streamline access to nonmedical assistance when a medical problem is rooted in or made worse by a social or legal problem.

Funding from the Healthy Greenville initiative expanded the MLP to care for Greenville’s senior adult population.
A coalition, led by Furman’s Institute for the Advancement of Community Health and partners Prisma Health Upstate and South Carolina Legal Services, tackles health-harming legal barriers in the senior adult community by improving health-related care, health education and health research. The program is funded by a three-year grant approved by the Greenville Health Authority.

Furthering sustainability
The Shi Center for Sustainability’s Student Fellows Program pairs students with a community partner where they work 40 hours a week for 10 weeks over the summer on a sustainability issue. Students have engaged with partners
and projects including Project Host, Upstate Forever, Trees Upstate, Mill Village Farm, Greenville Zoo, and the Cities of Greenville and Travelers Rest.

The Community Conservation Corps, another signature program of the Shi Center, partners with Habitat for Humanity to provide free home weatherization to low-income homeowners in the greater Greenville community. To date, the CCC has weatherized 135 homes. Shi Center staff presented to Greenville’s Green Ribbon Advisory Committee – Energy and Buildings Subcommittee on the CCC’s weatherization program. The CCC program continues to garner national attention.

Furman students in the CCC replace incandescent light bulbs with high-efficiency LED bulbs to reduce energy costs for homeowners.

Furman students in the CCC replace incandescent light bulbs with high-efficiency LED bulbs to reduce energy costs for homeowners.

Furman students enjoy Falls Park in Greenville, South Carolina.