10 Tips for a More Sustainable Christmas

By Clinton Colmenares, Director of News and Media Strategy, Furman University

It’s the season of giving. And giving. And … giving some more. Americans give each other so much between Thanksgiving and Christmas, they throw away 25 percent more waste, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

All that wrapping paper, packaging, stuff that breaks before the eggnog turns, and stuff you never wanted in the first place take a toll on the environment. It has the potential to take up space in landfills, emit carbon dioxide (if it breaks down) and foul up flora and fauna (if it doesn’t break down).

“There also are negative environmental, and sometimes social, impacts associated with the full life cycle of all these products, from the extraction of raw materials to manufacturing and production, to transportation and eventual use and disposal of the products,” says Wes Dripps, director of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability at Furman University, a Sullivan Foundation partner school.

Related: How to throw a zero-waste sustainable Christmas party

“Each of these various stages in the product’s life cycle requires materials, energy and water. They all generate carbon emissions that contribute to climate change, and sometimes they employ questionable labor practices. All of this contributes to the unsustainability of holiday consumerism.”

Fortunately, the Shi Center for Sustainability has come up with a few alternatives for a more earth-friendly holiday. Here are 10 tips for creating a more sustainable Christmas in 2019.

1. Traveling? A round-trip flight from Greenville, South Carolina, to Grandma’s house in Houston, Texas, will create about .4 metric tons of carbon. For a few bucks, you can invest in green energy or in carbon capture through a third-party company like Terra Pass or Native Energy. This New York Times story has good tips for finding the right company. Know someone who travels a lot for work? Carbon offsets are the new black, especially if you’re committed to a sustainable Christmas celebration.

2. Go green and go team! With companies like UCapture, you can credit your offsets to your favorite college and keep score. The offsets are free; just add a browser extension, create an account and start racking up green points. The extension automatically credits your account without tracking your purchases.

3. For sustainable Christmas presents, skip the unrecyclable wrapping and tissue paper. Colorful cloth bags are easy to put together, and they’re reusable for generations to come. Just Google DIY bags.

this photo shows the preferred type of wrapping for sustainable Christmas gifts

For a more sustainable Christmas, skip the unrecyclable wrapping and tissue paper this year. (Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels)

4. Go digital. Plastic gift cards aren’t recyclable; make these easy gifts easier by emailing them. Sending e-cards is faster, easier and safer than licking envelopes. Digital advent calendars are fun, interactive alternatives, and you can still eat chocolate.

5. The yearly conundrum: fake tree or real? It depends. Current science leans toward real trees because of artificial trees’ non-recyclable and non-biodegradable materials, short life spans, foreign manufacturing and shipping of artificial trees. If you go for a real tree, shop at a local tree farm that uses sustainable growing practices. And choose a small tree with a root-ball, so it can be replanted, or repurpose the tree as compost, mulch or erosion control. If you do go artificial, plan to use it at least five years.

6. Going to a white elephant party? Don’t buy something new. Gifts are just as fun, and sometimes funnier, when they’re re-gifted from last year or come from the attic.

this photo shows an example of a sustainable Christmas tree

Real Christmas trees are more sustainable, but if you choose an artificial tree, plan to use it for at least five years.

7. Stocking stuffers have high potential to be, well, junk. For a more sustainable Christmas, stuff your stocking instead with something edible, or at least something useful.

8. LED lights save energy, and they’re super-bright. Plug them into a timer or a remote controlled outlet to save even more.

9. What do you do with the leftovers? First, store them in reusable containers! But after you’ve eaten all the sandwiches and turkey tetrazzini you can stomach, be sure to compost all those coffee grounds and fruit and veggie scraps. Avoid adding animal products to home compost bins. Consider it a gift to the earth. Don’t have a compost bin at home? Some cities distribute them for a nominal fee or have curbside compost pick up or independent companies that can provide the service.

10. Give less stuff and more time. Have an adventure. Create an experience. Give passes to state or national parks and get outside.

This story has been modified slightly from the original article on Furman University’s website.

Related: 15 zero-waste tips for beginners

“Dream Like a Kid”: The Inspiring Story Behind Me & The Bees Lemonade

Nearly every kid gets stung by a bee at some point, but for Mikaila Ulmer, founder of Austin, Texas-based Me & the Bees Lemonade, it was a life-changing experience.

Mikaila was four years old when a bee delivered that first fateful sting, followed by another bee and another sting later that same week. The experiences scared her, as she explains on her website, but also piqued her interest in honeybees. Fascinated, she set out to learn more about the insects and their importance to the world’s ecosystem. At the same time, the entrepreneurial-minded child was mulling over ideas for a business competition for an upcoming Acton Children’s Business Fair and Austin Lemonade Day.

this photo shows how young Mikaila Ulmer was when she founded Me & the Bees Lemonade

Mikaila Ulmer was four years old when she started the lemonade stand that would lead to her social enterprise, Me & the Bees Lemonade.

Mikaila’s plan began to come together when her great-grandmother sent her family an old cookbook with a recipe for flaxseed lemonade. Blown away by the flavor, Mikaila set up a lemonade stand in front of her family’s home, with a rather modest goal in mind: “The first time I sold it,” she told CNBC in 2017, “I thought, ‘This is only going to be a one-time thing. I am going to do it once, get the money, donate some and then save some and then use the rest to buy this awesome toy that I wanted.’”

Related: Scottish social enterprise leads World’s Big Sleep Out to raise funds for the homeless

Now bit by the business bug, though, she was back in action six months later, making and selling more lemonade. Then, when she was seven, a local pizzeria began offering the beverage to its customers.

here we see the founder of Me & the Bees Lemonade when she was a little older

Mikaila hit upon the idea for her tasty Me & the Bees lemonade after trying out a recipe from her great-grandmother.

“That’s how Me & the Bees Lemonade was born,” Mikaila explains on her website. “It comes from my Great Granny Helen’s flaxseed recipe and my new love for bees. So that’s why we sweeten it with local honey. And today my little idea continues to grow.”

A dedicated social entrepreneur, Mikaila has sold Me & the Bees Lemonade and given speeches at youth entrepreneurial events around the country. Ten percent of her profits goes to local and international organizations, such as the Healthy Hive Foundation, that are working to save the world’s dwindling honeybee populations.

Related: Social enterprise trains blind women to detect early signs of breast cancer

Me & the Bees Lemonade products come in five flavors: Original Mint, Ginger, Iced Tea, Prickly Pear and Classic. They contain no high-fructose corn syrup, just natural sweeteners like honey, cane sugar and monk fruit.

As of July 2018, Mikaila’s beverages were available in 500 stores nationwide, according to the BBC, with sales of 360,000 bottles a year.

Whole Foods Market started carrying the Me & the Bees Lemonade brand in 2015. “Mikaila and her company caught our attention on a number of fronts,” Whole Food Market’s Jenna Gelgand told the BBC. “She had a unique product that tasted great, along with a strong passionate founder and social mission. We were immediately impressed with Mikaila as a young entrepreneur and with her vision to create awareness around the importance of pollinators.”

this photo shows Mikaila Ulmer with her Me & the Bees Lemonade bottles on supermarket shelves

Mikaila Ulmer’s lemonades can now be found in hundreds of stores around the country.

And make no mistake: Mikaila is a lot more than a cute face on a bottle. She has co-managed the mission-driven business from its inception, along with her parents, both of whom have degrees in business. “We’re considered co-CEOs because I make decisions that my parents wouldn’t make and my parents make decisions that I wouldn’t make,” she told the BBC. “Also, I am young … I know I don’t know everything, and so I am definitely going to take their advice and opinions into consideration.”

Related: This 12-year-old social entrepreneur uses bowties to help shelter animals get adopted

Mikaila’s profile rose dramatically when she appeared on “Shark Tank” in 2015, where she persuaded Daymond John of FUBU to invest $60,000. According to CNBC, the exposure sent her sales soaring by 231 percent in the next year. Meanwhile, President Obama invited her to the White House, and a consortium of former and current NFL football players kicked in for $800,000 two years later.

One of those players was former Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. “We look for companies that match our main focus of developing a good product but [that] are also good people and do it for the right reasons,” Foster told the Houston Chronicle in 2017. “It’s more than about money to us. We believe that investing in small black businesses is extremely important.”

this photo shows the kid-friendly appeal of the brand

Smart branding with a dose of cuteness has helped Me & the Bees Lemonade grow to more than 20 states.

“[Mikaila] is super smart,” Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin, another investor, said in the Chronicle interview. “She’s very special. Obviously, she has a bright future. Hopefully, I can be a part of it and nourish it and watch her grow. The sky is the limit. I’m very impressed with her.”

In a CNBC interview, Mikaila advised other aspiring entrepreneurs to focus on a business idea that they’re genuinely passionate about and that helps “solve a problem in the world that needs to be solved.”

“Dream big, and not only dream big, but also dream like a kid,” she added. “When a kid has a dream and they want it to come true, they will do whatever it takes to do so. They don’t see the obstacles in the way—they will just fight hard to make it come true. Sometimes you have to get into that mindset and dream like a kid.”

Related: Grade schoolers’ social enterprise turns a profit in 10 weeks

Service Dogs Guided This Rollins College Graduate to a New Career Specialty

Plenty of dogs can roll over, fetch or shake hands. Ari, a black Labrador and golden retriever mix, can do a lot more than that. He has been trained as a service dog to help people with disabilities navigate their way through challenges that otherwise might restrict them from fulfilling their potential. And it’s all thanks to many months of work with Marissa Cobuzio, a 2019 graduate of Sullivan Foundation partner school Rollins College.

As a member of Rollins’ Bonner Leaders Program—a community-service initiative that pairs students with local nonprofits—Cobuzio spent the last year and a half of her time at Rollins raising Ari for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). A nonprofit headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif., CCI provides expertly trained assistance dogs free of charge to people who need them. The service dogs help adults and children with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities as well as the deaf and hard of hearing.

As Rollins College explained in a recent story on its website, Cobuzio, who graduated with a double major in biology and sociology, worked with CCI to get Rollins approved as a service-dog-raising campus. She also coordinated with campus administrators to develop the infrastructure needed to continue the service dog program for future Rollins students.

this photo illustrates how service dogs trained by Canine Companions for Independence help people with disabilities

Marissa Cobuzio with Ari, a service dog that she trained to help people with disabilities. (Photo by Scott Cook)

After graduating from Rollins earlier this year, Cobuzio started at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in August. The vet-in-training hopes to eventually work for a mission-based organization like CCI.

Cobuzio became a puppy trainer for CCI after volunteering in a pet therapy program at the AdventHealth for Children (called the Florida Hospital for Children at the time) in Orlando. “I had never really gotten to explore the animal-human bond in that way before,” she said. “I realized I wanted to shift focus in vet school more toward this route.”

Related: This 12-year-old social entrepreneur uses bowties to help shelter animals get adopted

While volunteering with the pet therapy program, Cobuzio met Rollins alumnus Bill Gordon, an experienced service dog trainer. They worked together to set Rollins up as a campus approved for raising service dogs. “There was so much thought put into it—making sure there’s housing on campus and a system in place for bringing dogs to classes, determining where the dogs can and can’t go, giving the people raising puppies the support they need,” she recalled. “It’s been a long ride, but I’m so thankful to everyone who helped make it a reality.”

Raising a service dog inspired Cobuzio to reconsider her own career goals. “It’s something I’m super-passionate about, and it has completely shaped what I want to do as a vet,” she said. “I wanted to be a wildlife vet for the longest time, but I’ve talked to several of the vets at CCI, and they do a lot of work with breeding. All the service dogs with CCI are bred in California, and they do a lot of genetic testing as well as just general research on dog longevity and quality of life. And there’s a mission behind it. That sounds incredible to me—not only doing your job but serving other people in the process.”

this photo shows the close relationship between Marissa Cobuzio and her service dog

Service dogs like Ari help people with disabilities navigate challenges that might otherwise keep them from fulfilling their potential. (Photo by Scott Cook)

“I know now that I want to get a specialty in animal reproduction and work in service dog breeding,” she added. “It’s shifted my mindset about what I could do as a vet and how that could affect people.”

Service dogs are so smart, a golden retriever named Hollywood even earned a degree from Cobuzio’s alma mater. Rollins College awarded Hollywood, a service dog to Rollins Disability Service Coordinator Jon Viera, an honorary “dogorate” degree for “extraordinary service to a student” when Viera collected his own master’s degree in human resources in May 2016. Hollywood had been raised from puppyhood by New Horizon Service Dogs, another nonprofit specializing in training and matching service dogs with people who have disabilities.

Related: This Florida nonprofit serves pet owners who can’t afford veterinary care

Cobuzio said her education at Rollins prepared her for success at Cornell, one of the country’s most prestigious universities. “Rollins definitely taught me how to prioritize my time in an efficient manner and gave me the opportunity to be involved with so many things, like the Bonner program, a sorority, and being a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence,” she said. “The rigor of the science department at Rollins taught me how to study effectively in order to not just remember concepts and regurgitate them on an exam, but rather to think critically through the information so that I have a working understanding of it long-term.”

this photo shows a service dog with an owner who has a disability

Hollywood, Jon Viera’s service dog, received an honorary degree from Rollins College. (Photo by Scott Cook)

Cobuzio credited Rollins biology professor Jay Pieczynski with mentoring her in her journey to a career in veterinary medicine. “[He] helped me conduct mock interviews for vet schools, helped me research different programs, and helped me with requirements and getting an internship. He also encouraged me all along the way. He made a personal investment in me to make sure I was on the right path, which was huge. Bailey Clark [in the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement] was my supervisor in the Bonner Leaders Program and was so wonderful at making sure I was caring not only for my academic health, but also my mental health and focusing on the things that really matter. I also loved working with sociology professor Amy Armenia, who was my thesis advisor. She always encouraged me and made sure I wasn’t overworking myself.”

Her experience at Rollins, Cobuzio added, “educated me about the world in general, which I think is really important—not just for vet school, but for being a functioning human in the world. Also, applying to vet school and having them see that I wasn’t just focused on biology but on being a person in the world as a veterinarian was really important. You can’t just study something in isolation. That’s not how it works. Understanding all the different influences on what you want to study is important, and being in the honors program at Rollins did that for me.”

Marissa Cobuzio with her Rollins College mentor, biology professor Jay Pieczynski (Photo by Scott Cook)

Kayla Harris Wins Business Pitch Competition With Computer Game for Personal Finances

Few things in life are more important than keeping track of your finances—and few things are more boring to restless young minds. Kayla Harris, a sophomore at Sullivan Foundation partner school Mary Baldwin University, has an idea for teaching personal finance skills through a computer game that will engage students’ creativity and imagination. Her idea and pitching skills won the grand prize of $300 in a business pitch competition at the Sullivan Foundation’s Fall 2019 Ignite Retreat in Asheville, N.C. last month.

Harris, a native of North Chesterfield, Virginia, majors in business management and double-minors in human resources management and economics at MBU. She said she sees a need to “reconstruct the way personal finance and economics are taught in middle school, high schools and colleges.”

Related: Elon University students learn how to “make a mark in the world” at Sullivan Foundation’s Ignite Retreat

“Many courses and classes that teach finances are very informative,” Harris says. “However, it’s a big challenge for students to remember what they’re learning because it’s not being applied to reality.” After all, most kids don’t have any money to manage yet. “As we mature, we face financial challenges that we don’t necessarily know how to solve due to the fact that that connection was never made in personal finance and economic classes,” Harris adds.

this photo shows an Ignite Retreat facilitator prepping students for a business pitch competition

Ignite Retreat facilitator Reagan Pugh walks students through the elements of a successful pitch.

To solve the problem, Harris plans to work with her high school’s STEM class to develop a prototype for a computer game “that allows students to play out these financial challenges in real-world situations and learn from it. Think something like ‘The Sims’ meets credit scores, taxes and budgeting.”

About a dozen student presenters participated in the business pitch competition, with the other Ignite Retreat student attendees casting votes to choose the winner. Students who judged the contest walked from booth to booth and listened to the pitches. “The goal was to encourage the presenters to go out of their way to recruit people to their project rather than expect everyone to passively listen to their short pitch,” said Ignite Retreat organizer Spud Marshall. “Part of the goal, in addition to pitching, is to get them to think about creative community building.”

Related: Sullivan Foundation offers study-abroad program in Scotland for Summer 2020

“We asked [the student judges] to prioritize projects that were going to make the best use of ‘prototype funds,’ meaning they could produce something tangible with just a few hundred dollars rather than requiring thousands,” Marshall added.

Winning the business pitch competition was just part of an important learning experience for Harris. “I absolutely loved the Ignite Retreat,” she said. “I came in very blind about what the event was about but was open-minded. Starting off, I knew there was an issue [with her business idea] that I wanted to fix, and I knew how I wanted to fix it but just didn’t know how to get started. The retreat definitely gave me the tools necessary to turn my thought into a reality. I was asked questions that I never thought to ask myself about my project. I was showed different angles on how to view the situation I wanted to solve and really was just welcomed and supported at a level I had never felt before.”

Above all, Harris says, she learned to “never give up” on a good idea. “There are thousands of people in the world who want to make an impact on the issue you want to change but feel like they don’t have the ability to. I’m so grateful that the Sullivan Foundation, through the Ignite Retreat, gave me the means necessary [to move forward with the project]. So, I have a lot of people counting on me and rooting for me.”

“My other takeaway,” she added, “was that change is going to be a challenge, but challenge is good. The retreat really helped me understand how to face these challenges and how to create the perfect team to overcome the challenges.”

Related: Selma Community Innovation Immersion Program gives students a chance to work with the poor in Selma, Alabama

Elon University Students Learn How to “Make a Mark in the World” at Ignite Retreat

By Chloe Kennedy

Four students from Sullivan Foundation partner school Elon University learned how to “make a mark in the world” using social entrepreneurship at the foundation’s Fall 2020 Ignite Retreat.

Christopher Raville, Imani Vincent, Mikayla Ford and Angy Aguilar took part in the twice-yearly event, held Oct. 18-20 in Asheville, N.C. They attended workshops, activities and events focused on changemaking, honing leadership skills and the principles of social enterprise. The retreat workshops were hands-on and experimental and allowed each participant time to work on a project of their choice, gain clarity on potential career paths and dig deeper into a set of problems, all while focusing on connecting skills and interests in a way to create positive community change.

Related: Sullivan Foundation offers Study Abroad opportunity in Scotland for Summer 2020

“An activity that particularly stood out to me was about empathic listening,” said Aguilar, a computer science and entrepreneurship double major. “Students formed groups, and one person in the group shared a problem in their life that they had. We were encouraged to ask ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions rather than ‘why’ questions to really understand the problem. I found this activity very valuable as most of the time we listen to respond rather than listen to understand and empathize.”

The Elon group was among more than 100 students and young professionals in attendance who are passionate about social entrepreneurship. “Students came from all over with different problems, passions and curiosities, with the goal to make a mark in the world,” said Ford, a communication design major.

“After this weekend I know I have a community of people who understand my motivation,” added Vincent, who majors in public health. “What amazed me about the Ignite Retreat was being able to be in a space with so many people with different perspectives who all want in some way to make social change.”

Related: Ole Miss changemaker Cecilia Trotter says “yes” to risks and new life experiences

Alyssa Martina, director of the Doherty Center for Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Elena Kennedy, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, accompanied the students and met with faculty and staff from a variety of schools in the Sullivan Foundation network to learn best practices related to teaching social entrepreneurship and innovation.

“The Ignite Retreat provided a space for those of us who are deeply passionate about creating social change to interact and network with like-minded social entrepreneurs,” said Raville, a finance and entrepreneurship double major. “Workshopping my own initiative provided fresh insights on how to deliver an impactful prototype. Pitching my own initiative provided a space to practice delivering my message to a large, diverse group and left me with feedback as to how better communicate my vision.”

This story was edited slightly from the original article appearing on the Elon University website.

Study: How Restaurants Can Help Reduce Food Waste

Restaurants can help reduce food waste in landfills by offering compostable plates, cups and utensils, according to a new study by Eco-Cycle, a nonprofit zero-waste organization.

“Restaurants play a critical role in reducing and recovering food scraps, and composting is one of the fastest, most cost-effective solutions for reducing carbon pollution and reducing waste,” said Kate Bailey, Eco-Cycle’s policy and research director and one of the study’s authors along with Dale Ekart.

Offering compostable serviceware would make it easier for restaurant customers to help reduce food waste by composting their scraps and sorting it into the right bins, the study found. It noted that restaurants are recovering some food waste, but far too much still gets thrown out.

Related: This social enterprise makes it easier for restaurants to reduce plastic waste and Styrofoam

“Less than 15% of restaurant food waste is collected for composting, and these efforts have primarily focused on collecting food scraps from the kitchen,” the study said. “However, on average, diners leave 17% of their meal uneaten, and more than half of these potential leftovers are not taken home. This means there is a large, untapped potential to recover food waste generated by diners through front-of-house composting programs that collect food scraps from customers.”

One of the keys to composting success, the study found, is for restaurants to simplify their serviceware by using durable plates, glasses and utensils or using all compostable serviceware. Nationwide, 85% of customers say they are willing to sort their waste after eating out if bins are provided.

However, for recycling and composting to succeed, the sorting has to be done properly. The study found that consumers struggled with how to sort materials when there were several different types of food serviceware. By contrast, those restaurants that used one primary type of serviceware — either durable, reusable plates and utensils or a fully compostable system — had higher rates of success. The result: more of what composters love (food scraps) and less of what composters hate (materials like non-compostable plastic that contaminates the compost).

Related: This bioplastics entrepreneur is helping save the world from plastic waste.

The quick-service restaurant with all compostable food serviceware performed well — meaning they captured most of their food scraps with very little contamination — as did the quick-service restaurant using all durable food serviceware, suggesting both of these approaches can be used successfully to capture food scraps for composting, the study found.

“This report is the first of its kind to demonstrate this can be done well and is worth doing,” Bailey said. “Food establishments are capable of very high diversion rates, making them a key partner in moving toward Zero Waste, reducing our carbon emissions and building healthy soils through composting.”

Carson-Newman Mobilizes 500 Volunteers for Operation Inasmuch

More than 500 students, faculty and staff from Sullivan Foundation partner school Carson-Newman University exhibited the love of Christ for their communities during the University’s recent Operation Inasmuch day of service.

On Saturday, Nov. 9, student volunteers canvassed more than 35 service sites in Jefferson, Knox, Hamblen, Grainger and Cocke counties. Projects included installing a sensory walk path at an elementary school, building an accessibility ramp, assisting poverty-reduction programs, cleaning fire engines, landscaping at a shelter, preparing medical supplies for a Haitian hospital and much more.

Related: This bioplastics entrepreneur is helping save the world from plastic waste.

“For many of our students, Operation Inasmuch is an important first step toward being more involved in the community and region,” said Dr. Matt Bryant Cheney, director of the Bonner Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement. “Carson-Newman tends to attract students who are already service-minded, and this is a great event for them to find ways to be more involved.”

In 2006, Carson-Newman was the first college or university to implement OI. Founded by Dr. David Crocker, OI has since been adopted by organizations across the country.

The program’s name stems from Matthew 25:40, where Jesus says: “Inasmuch as you serve the least of these, you serve me.”

“Scripture makes clear that the way we treat our neighbors is how we treat our savior Jesus, because we are all of us one kinship, created as brothers and sisters in Christ,” Bryant Cheney said.

Related: How tuition-free college works at Berea College and Alice Lloyd College

The University’s Operation Inasmuch is a partnership of the Carson-Newman Bonner Center, Campus Ministries, Student Activities and C-Nvolved.

This story is edited slightly from the original version published on the Carson-Newman University website.

Shepherd Hotel to Employ Special-Needs Adults in 2021

The Shepherd Hotel, a boutique hotel in downtown Clemson, South Carolina, will hire special-needs adults for more than half of its positions when it opens in 2021, according to the Greenville News.

Developers of the five-story, 65-room Shepherd Hotel have partnered with ClemsonLIFE, a program for students with intellectual disabilities at Sullivan Foundation partner school Clemson University. ClemsonLIFE students will fill 60 percent of the hotel’s jobs. A group of ClemsonLIFE students took part in the hotel’s ceremonial groundbreaking on November 14. Dabo Swinney, Clemson’s head football coach and a longtime supporter of ClemsonLIFE, spoke in a panel discussion at the event. “Football is important, but we want to prepare [players] for life after football,” Swinney said. “It’s the exact same responsibility with ClemsonLIFE.”

Related: Winthrop University to collaborate on Miracle Park for South Carolinians of all abilities.

Rick Hayduk, one of the Shepherd Hotel investors, has worked in and managed hotels for 30-plus years. His youngest daughter, Jamison, wants to work in the business, too. While her father hoped she’d eventually join him in the managerial ranks, Jamison, who has Down syndrome, would prefer a job in the housekeeping department. “She loves to clean,” Hayduk told the Greenville News last year. “She’s an organizer, a planner. As much as I would like her to be the general manager one day, she aspires to be the cleaner.”

this photo shows the beauty of the Shepherd Hotel

This rendering shows what the Shepherd Hotel will look like when it opens in 2021.

Finding jobs is seldom easy for people with special needs. Only a little more than 19 percent of people with disabilities are employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s compared to almost 66 percent of Americans without disabilities.

ClemsonLIFE has figured out how to beat those daunting odds. Nearly 100 percent of its graduates currently have jobs, the Greenville Times says. The organization partners with 31 local businesses as well as a number of departments within the university to provide internships and jobs for ClemsonLIFE’s 40 students.

The Shepherd Hotel will likely employ between 25 and 30 ClemsonLIFE students. “The opportunity to partner with a hotel opens up so many doors for us,” said Dr. Joe Ryan, ClemsonLIFE’s director.

Swinney is famously close to a young man with Down syndrome: David Saville, the Tigers’ equipment manager. Swinney applauded the Shepherd Hotel developers for investing in the differently abled community. “When you come to this hotel, you’re going to feel what makes Clemson special, and that’s the spirit of Clemson,” he said at Thursday’s event. “And no one represents the spirit of Clemson better than these ClemsonLIFE students.”

Sullivan Foundation Sponsors Social Entrepreneurship Trip to Germany for Faculty

A study by SEFORÏS found that German social enterprises are global leaders in collaboration and innovation. Educators in the Sullivan Foundation network can see for themselves how these social entrepreneurs operate in a faculty trip to Germany next spring.

The Social Entrepreneurship Faculty Trip to Nuremberg, Germany takes place May 20-31, 2020. Estimated costs are $3,300 per person (including flight, some meals, transfers and accommodations), plus dinners, drinks and personal items. The trip will be limited to nine people, and the spots will likely fill up fast.

Click here for all the details about the trip.

Faculty at Sullivan Foundation-endowed partner schools may be able to get some of their costs covered by endowment funds.

Sullivan faculty members will get the chance to examine Germany’s basic principles of social entrepreneurship and the philosophical foundations upon which they’re built. They’ll also visit social businesses and meet the owners while taking part in classroom experiences with students and professors from the University of Applied Sciences in Nuremberg. Additional experiences will provide an in-depth perspective on the historical and ethical context in which German businesses operate as compared to the American business culture.

To learn more about this trip, contact Dr. Ralph Griffith at ralph.griffith@lr.edu or call 989-493-9041.