What is in this article?:
- Smart School Furniture
- Furniture Assets Under Scrutiny
Refinishing furniture can be a good solution for residence halls on a tight budget.
Practical, cost-effective and sustainable, school furniture refinishing has many benefits for education institutions with tight budgets and a commitment to sustainability. Refinishing keeps structurally sound pieces out of crowded landfills, giving students high-quality, long-lasting furniture for a fraction of the cost of new purchases.
On dozens of campuses, summer marks the beginning of construction season. During the past summer, building projects ranged from relatively small, such as the $3 million renovation of a chapel roof at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, to massive programs such as the $864 million expansion of the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. At the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, USC also stands for the "University of Summer Construction;" the campus had 51 different construction projects underway, all slated for completion before the beginning of the fall semester.
In the budget
In virtually all of these building programs, schools have budgeted for new furnishings. But in older buildings, particularly for student residence halls, the decision to buy new school furniture or refurbish existing furniture assets is more complex. The evaluation must take into account variables such as the condition of furniture, its usage patterns, the rate of wear and tear, and even the building’s location and floor plan. And budget constraints always must be a factor in deciding whether to buy new or refinish existing furniture.
Another important factor is the increasing awareness and concern for the impact of new school furniture production on the environment—from harvesting sustainably grown wood products to the use of non-toxic adhesives.
Colleges and universities are among the leading drivers of the sustainability movement. The founding of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in 2005 was a landmark event in helping colleges and universities coordinate and strengthen campus sustainability efforts. The association also serves as the first North American professional association for those interested in advancing campus sustainability. By the end of 2010, AASHE had 839 members, and the number continues to grow.
AASHE is not the only organization to influence sustainability efforts at colleges and universities. The U.S. Partnership of Education for Sustainable Development also was founded in 2005, with a mission "to leverage the U.N. Decade of Education for Sustainable Development to foster education for sustainable development in the United States."