CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation today announced that it has awarded a $75,000 grant to fund a unique partnership with Furman, Duke and Vanderbilt universities that will support student-led development of environmental stewardship and energy sustainability initiatives.
Six student fellows – two from each school – joined Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation officials, Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) executives and university representatives to launch the Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation's Partners Program in Furman University's David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. Dr. Shi spearheaded several sustainability initiatives as Furman's president from 1994 to 2010 and currently serves as a member of the Piedmont Natural Gas board of directors.
"Sustainability is a core value that Piedmont Natural Gas strives to incorporate into every facet of our daily business and promote through the work of the foundation," said George Baldwin, managing director of government relations and sustainability for Piedmont Natural Gas and vice president of the foundation. "We believe this program will provide enriching educational experiences for our student fellows while also developing energy efficiency and environmental stewardship programs that can help build truly sustainable communities."
The student fellows and their faculty advisors gathered at Furman Monday to discuss the program and share information about their individual projects. Beginning with a 400-hour summer fellowship, the students will continue work on their projects throughout the academic year with the goal of implementing a sustainability initiative in collaboration with a nonprofit agency or government partner in the schools' communities of Greenville, S.C., Durham, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn. One objective in designing the projects was to make them easy to replicate in other communities.Student fellows and their fellowship projects announced today include:
- Duke University: Charlie Molthrop of Longwood, Fla. (Class of 2014) and Marc Loefke of Auburn, Ala. (Class of 2013). Charlie and Marc will work on a pilot residential energy efficiency program, installing energy efficiency upgrades in 15 Durham-area homes and monitoring energy use to determine changes in carbon emissions. The data will be used to generate carbon offsets to help Duke meet its climate neutrality commitment.
- Furman University: Wes Floyd of Charleston, S.C. (Class of 2014) and Patrick Starr of Atlanta (Class of 2013). Wes will work with the City of Greenville to research and develop an implementation strategy for the city's Sustainability Action Plan. Patrick will conduct research for the Greenville-based U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities on initiatives related to watershed protection and expanding protection of working forests.
- Vanderbilt University: Alexandra Scavone of Princeton, N.J. (Class of 2014) and Kelsey Kaline of Beverly Hills, Mich. (Class of 2014). Alexandra will work with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to create a Governor's Sustainability Statement, prepare TDEC's annual report, and research funding for sustainable initiatives. Kelsey will work in TDEC's Sustainable Communities Division, doing research, writing grants, and helping to create a state sustainability statement.