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Sustainability at Wake Forest

Reimagining How the World is Fed

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

“Rejuvenating the earth should be the outcome of the food system.” Vandana Shiva made this call for awareness and action last week during her visit to Wake Forest University. On Tuesday, Nov. 4, Shiva lectured as a part of the “Make Every Bite Count” speaker series, organized by the university’s Office of Sustainability and co-sponsored by the School of Divinity’s Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative. On Wednesday, Nov. 5, Shiva led a community forum with students, faculty, and staff at the School of Divinity. The “Make Every Bite Count” series featured other events including a panel discussion and film screening of GMO OMG with filmmaker Jeremy Seifert. The series aimed to investigate the role of agricultural biodiversity in our local, regional, and global food systems. The final keynote lecture by Shiva highlighted the challenges and opportunities of feeding the… Read more »

Shiva at the Forest: In Review

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I was introduced to the work of Vandana Shiva only a year ago.  It was a hot, spring day in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Pro Humanitate Institute’s Shelley Sizemore and I were unwinding with other Wake Alternative Break participants after a day on an urban farm.  Needless to say, food justice and food security were already on the brain, making the introduction of Shiva’s work impeccably timed.  The introduction, and resulting insatiable intrigue, were facilitated by none other than Shelley herself.  She was reading Shiva’s “Staying Alive” at the time, and shared several quotes from the book’s opening pages.  Each quote was poignant, unapologetic, and pointed to the various ways in which some human practices have corroded balance, both ecological and otherwise. For me, the handful of quotes demonstrated Shiva’s deep understanding of nuanced need, and prompted my interest in… Read more »

New Academic Year Brings New Opportunities for the Sustainability House

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The sustainability house, most commonly referred to as the “Sust’y House,” has experienced a revival this year and it is truly better than ever. This eclectic community of environmentally conscious students once called 1141 Polo Road “home,” but sadly had to part ways with the beautiful house due to structural damage in the basement. Last year, the Sust’y Community experienced a bit of a diaspora, spread out between a tiny four-person house, a north campus apartment, and a room in the Ahuva house. This year, however, Sust’y is officially back, with everyone under one roof. Equipped with two porches and ample room for 10 students, the Sustainability House has found a gracious new home at 1157 Polo Road. Over the years, this theme living community has become an integral part of life at Wake Forest, most prominently known for its… Read more »

Faces of Sustainability: John Shenette

Friday, November 7, 2014

Strike up a conversation with John Shenette, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Campus Services, and along with that genuine smile and deep Bostonian accent you will find a wealth of knowledge and passion about the role of facilities in higher education. Shenette joined Wake Forest University in March and has been a prominent figure on campus ever since. Facilities and Campus Services plays an important role in our effort to transform the campus, bringing strategic sustainability goals to fruition and providing metrics for continuous improvement. What attracted you to Wake Forest? I toured the university in 1997 and was struck by the uniqueness of the campus. However, the more research I did, the more I learned about the quality of education Wake provides and the presence Wake Forest has in the US and internationally. It was also evident to me… Read more »

Spencer Finch: color / temperature

Thursday, November 6, 2014

On October 21st, the exhibition Spencer Finch: color / temperature, at the Hanes Gallery, culminated with a talk by the artist in the Kulynych Auditorium. Finch engages in a close observation of nature and natural systems, tying the natural world to that of art, literature, and philosophy, expressed particularly in the properties and perception of light. He filters his fundamentally empirical approach through a poetic, eccentric sensibility that owes much to American transcendentalism and the uncanny awareness evident in the work of writers like Emily Dickinson (in his talk, Finch admitted to being a “groupie” of Dickinson and her work). Pragmatic, but also idealist and romantic, his work is in part a summation of 19th century sensibility brought into what is now being called the Anthropocene, a geological period reflecting the impact of human influence. In his talk, Spencer Finch emphasized,… Read more »

True Value Meals

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My family and I live on a 22-acre farm in Stokes County.  We are serious gardeners. I can’t remember the last time I bought a tomato at the store and I have saved my own okra and basil seeds each year for over a decade.  Now late October, we have over 60 garlic heads up in the garden and have put the cold frame in place.  We also raise Shetland sheep, a very hardy heritage wool breed.  For a few years we raised heritage turkeys (Bourbon Reds) and maintain a flock of about 30 free-range laying hens and sell their eggs to wonderful people on campus.  Sometimes I go to meetings and people say, “Oh, you are the egg lady.”  All of this effort supplies fabulous, fresh and taste-laden ingredients to cook with.  At my house, we eat very well…. Read more »

The Importance of Eating Ugly Fruit

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

“Be skeptical and curious. Go beyond reading labels…really know your producer.” This final piece of advice from panelist April McGreger was just one response to the overarching question: if every dollar we spend is a vote for the world we want, how can we make every bite count? During September 10th’s panel, Make Every Bite Count, heritage and heirloom food experts Eric Hallman, Executive Director of the Livestock Conservancy; Eliza Greenman, orchardist at Foggy Ridge Cider; April McGreger, founder of Farmer’s Daughter Brand; and Janette Wesley, Slow Food USA Regional Governor, provided insights into the importance of biodiversity and sustainable land and water use to a resilient food system. Orchardist and charismatic agri-entrepreneur Eliza Greenman left a lasting impression with her parting advice: eat ugly apples. Our tendency to buy fruits and vegetables that are perfectly symmetrical, with no creases… Read more »

Apply Today: Earth Day Internship

Monday, September 22, 2014

Are you interested in planning a campus wide event? Do you want to work with a highly collaborative team of peers? If you answered yes to both of these questions, apply for the WFU Earth Day Planning internship. The intern will work with the Office of Sustainability, community stakeholders, and campus organizations to plan and execute the Earth Day 2015 celebration at Wake Forest. From organizing stakeholder meetings, planning the entertainment line-up, developing outreach materials, securing community support, and managing marketing, this paid internship will provide resume building experiences. Previous experience with campus-wide event planning is preferred. Note: this internship will start in November and carry through the spring semester. All enrolled students are encouraged to apply including undergraduate, graduate, part-time, and full time students. In order to apply, please fill out this form. Applications are due Friday, October 10th at 5:00pm.

North Dining Hall Compost Campaign

Monday, September 22, 2014

“Did you know, only food and paper go in the North Dining Hall dish return? All wrappers, lids, and caps must be thrown away.” Thanks to a robust outreach campaign and a great story in the Old Gold & Black, Deacons are making history with the first post-consumer composting program on campus. During the span of the nine-day campaign, 3,600 pounds of food and paper waste was collected by Gallins Family Farm and transported to their offsite facility for composting. Although this diversion is something to celebrate, we can never take our eye off the ball. Turning the same 9-day campaign, 900 pounds of food waste was turned away and sent to the landfill due to contamination. One milk carton, or a couple of plastic wrappers, can render a whole container of food waste unusable. As a campus community, we have the… Read more »

Transatlantic Interest in Sustainability

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Since 2006, Wake Forest has hosted the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship (BFTF) Summer Institute, a Department of State-funded grant that brings 45 high-school aged students—35 from across Europe and 10 from the United States—to Winston-Salem to learn about citizenship and democratic deliberative practice. The month-long summer program features classes and workshops on civic engagement and social entrepreneurship, helping students develop projects they could implement that make a difference in their home communities. Over the past few years, the BFTF fellows have expressed increased interest in environmental and sustainability-related issues. We have accommodated their interests by connecting with numerous community partners dedicated to sustainability issues, including Wake Forest Campus Kitchen, the WFU Campus Garden, the Shalom Project, and Forsyth Futures. These hands-on partnerships, in addition to small-group conversations with sustainability professionals, provide opportunities to learn and practice new strategies to advance… Read more »