Students used materials certified to SFI on the
Habitat for Humanity home.

 CLEMSON, SC and WASHINGTON, DC — For 24 years, the Clemson University community has come together to build a Habitat for Humanity home for a local family during the 10 days leading up to the homecoming football game. As an orange wave of pride in Clemson Tigers football surged across campus, a new home for a local family came to life on Bowman Field on Saturday.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom, one-story home will be moved to a local neighborhood, where it will be home to Lakeesha Jones and her family.

The project was supported in part this year by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant program in partnership with the South Carolina SFI Implementation Committee. The grant provided funding and wood products certified to SFI. Wood was donated by Kapstone Paper and Packaging, Norbord provided subflooring, and Huber contributed roof and wall sheathing — all of which are SFI Program Participants and committee members.

“We are so proud to support this Habitat for Humanity build. It’s a big win for a local family, and the energy and excitement of homecoming helps us draw attention to the links between quality of life in our communities, people and the environment,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

The build’s first stage, on Bowman Field, saw the walls and roof go up, the drywall and siding hung, and the windows, doors, basic electricity and plumbing installed. The house was opened for homecoming fans to tour on Saturday, October 15.

Jones’ children Keyondra and Kameron are looking forward to having their own yard to play in after they leave their two-bedroom apartment. Jones will pay a reduced monthly mortgage and will eventually put in 200 sweat-equity hours of work on her own and other local Habitat homes.

Each year, more than 500 students volunteer with Clemson’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. “Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity made me want to study civil engineering. After I graduate, I want to keep helping people who can’t afford their own homes,” said Sadler Gensch, the student Homecoming Build Coordinator for Clemson’s Habitat for Humanity Chapter.

SFI has built a strong relationship with the Clemson community and the State of South Carolina over the years. In 2000, the Clemson Experimental Forest was the first university forest to be certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard. In 2013, South Carolina’s five state forests were among the first to be certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard under the SFI Forest Partners® Program.

The first SFI Implementation Committee and Habitat for Humanity partnership began in 2007, raising awareness for sustainable forestry and encouraging green building through the use of products certified to the SFI Standard. SFI Standards promote sustainable forest management in North America and responsible procurement of forest products around the world. Through this partnership, SFI and SFI Implementation Committees have donated countless volunteer hours and certified forest products for Habitat for Humanity builds throughout North America.

For the Clemson Habitat build, partners included the Clemson University Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, the Lutheran Campus Ministry at Clemson, and the South Carolina SFI Implementation Committee. The SFI committee is a grassroots network that includes private landowners, conservationists, independent loggers, forestry professionals, government agencies, associations, academics and companies.


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The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, nonprofit organization that leverages four interconnected pillars of work: standards, conservation, community, and education. SFI works with the forest sector, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments. Collaborating with our network, we leverage SFI-certified forests and products as powerful tools to help solve sustainability challenges such as climate action, conservation of biodiversity, education of future generations, and sustainable economic development.

Christine Leduc
VP, Communications and Government Relations
Sustainable Forestry Initiative

The SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program fosters partnerships between organizations interested in advancing understanding of the conservation-related benefits of well-managed forests. It helps to create vital links between communities and the forests we all depend on. Community grants help link forests and people by assisting local communities through forest education programs, supporting green building projects for low-income families, and other activities that underscore the links between people and their environment. Conservation projects address topics of current importance such as developing understanding of biodiversity and wildlife habitat needs, the contributions of sustainably managed forests to water quality, and quantifying the value of these forests toward mitigating climate change.
Since the program began in 2010, SFI has awarded 50 Conservation and 35 Community Partnership grants totaling more than $3 million to foster conservation and community-building projects. When leveraged with project partner contributions, that total investment exceeds $9.5 million.

Barry Graden
Director, SFI Forest Partners® Program
Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.