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Sustainability at Wake Forest

Save the Dates — Fall Speaker Series

Monday, August 25, 2014

Save September 10, October 7, and November 4 on your calendar for our fall speaker series: Make Every Bite Count. The series includes a panel discussion about the importance of biodiversity to a resilient regional food supply, a documentary film about one family’s quest to understand GMO’s, and a keynote by renowned Indian activist Dr. Vandana Shiva. We have created a page with detailed information about each event and resources that we hope might be useful to you if you choose to engage. Under the “Learn More” links, you will find articles, papers, books, and websites that should help stimulate discussion. Learn more about the fall speakers series here.

Wake Forest University Partners with UpcycleLife

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

“Pro Humanitiate” is in action on the sustainability front at Wake Forest through a partnership with UpcycleLife. The Charlotte-based, not-for-profit produces one-of-a-kind bags and accessories by upcycling things like billboards or banners. It isn’t just that UpcycleLife is keeping vinyl out of our landfills, it’s the way they do it. The mission is to help protect the environment, and at the same time transform lives by creating jobs for individuals in under-served communities. The environmental problem is that vinyl billboard and banner material takes hundreds of years to break down in landfills. UpcycleLife diverts this material from the landfill by giving it a new use, and at the same time teaching folks in impoverished communities valuable job skills such as sewing, shipping, and receiving. UpcycleLife feels they have developed a method to impact a waste stream and create a steady… Read more »

Nature, Environments, and Place in American Thought

Monday, July 14, 2014

In the spring of 2012 I had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Magnolias Curriculum Project. The readings and discussions in the workshop quickly revealed the big questions of sustainability: How does personal behavior and choice relate to global phenomenon? What do we hope to sustain, and who benefits? These issues are not only about the earth’s future, but also prompt deeper reflection about our history, relationships to places, capacity for self-awareness and change, and sense of responsibility to others. I wanted to further explore these big questions in a First Year Seminar that I offered in spring 2014 titled Nature, Environments, and Place in American Thought. My intention was to introduce students to traditions of environmental thought and help them explore their relationships to places, nature and social action. The class was organized as a journey from inner reflection… Read more »

Deacons Divert 11 Tons of Waste

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Demon Deacons rallied together this May to divert over 22,500 pounds — over 11 tons — of discarded goods from the landfill as part of Deacs Donate, an end-of-year move-out waste reduction campaign. Residence Life and Housing, Facilities and Campus Services, and the Office of Sustainability each played an important role in educating residents about the annual program. The program, originally designed by the Resident Student Association and Residence Life and Housing, encourages students to deposit housewares, furniture, clothing and canned goods at designated locations during move-out. This year, Wake Forest collected over 17,000 pounds for donation to Goodwill. The non-profit provides actual weights of donations collected, rather than estimates. These more accurate metrics allow staff members to compare collections to the amount of waste landfilled and calculate a diversion rate for the end-of-year move-out period. Thanks to the Better World… Read more »

FAQ: Summer Volunteer Opportunities

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Q.  I want to stay actively involved over the summer months – are there any volunteer opportunities on campus?   A. Fortunately, you don’t have to leave Wake Forest to get out and help out. With fewer students on campus over the summer, both the WFU Campus Garden and Campus Kitchen rely on the support of regular volunteers to keep operations in full swing. The campus garden needs help with planting, weeding, harvesting, and composting. The summer months are among the most bountiful, so the garden manager needs extra hands to keep up. Most of the produce grown in the garden is donated to Campus Kitchen, allowing them to prepare more dishes from scratch. Campus Kitchen needs volunteer support to pick up produce, and create and deliver nutritious meals to community agencies that are working to serve the needs of… Read more »

Congratulations Class of 2014 Interns

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On May 19th, the Office of Sustainability proudly graduated five sustainability interns. We are grateful for the numerous contributions they have made to our office and to the Wake Forest community. Karleigh Ash graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. Karleigh worked for the Office of Sustainability as the Photography intern in the spring of 2012 as well as this past year. Her reflection on the internship: My internship with the Office of Sustainability has really shaped my college experience for the better. I was lucky enough to start interning in the spring of my sophomore year and I have been connected in various ways ever since. I have learned things about how to live a sustainable lifestyle that will stick with me for the rest of my life. My fellow interns and our… Read more »

Fourth Annual Arbor Day Celebration

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Students and staff circled around a vibrant Japanese Maple tree at Student Apartments on April 24th to celebrate Arbor Day. Landscaping Services, Residence Life and Housing, and the Office of Sustainability co-hosted the ceremony in conjunction with a Campus Beautification Day celebration that was organized by Greeks Go Green interns. University Arborist Jim Mussetter,  presented the ceremonial tree, a cultivar known as Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’ or “Lion’s Head.” Mussetter described that this specific cultivar was chosen for its slow growth and striking fall foliage of gold and crimson tones. As the first ‘shishigashira’ introduced to campus, the tree will be a seasonal focal point in the housing courtyard for decades to come.  University Chaplain Tim Auman led a poetry reading before guests in attendance planted the tree. Immediately following the ceremony, students divided into groups, led by Greeks Go Green… Read more »

Collective Action & Wicked Problems

Thursday, May 22, 2014

By Stewart Rickert (’16) Stan Meiburg, Deputy Regional Administrator of EPA Region 4 for 18 years and prominent Wake Forest alumnus, recently announced his retirement, marking the end of a 37-year career with the EPA.  He worked on a host of issues ranging from The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 to public financing strategies for water and wastewater treatment facilities. In a recent conversation with us, Meiburg discussed the misunderstanding many Americans have about sustainability, and their lack of awareness about what we can do to escape a growing web of seemingly intractable problems. In Meiburg’s view, the most wicked of these problems is climate change.   Q: Diffuse problems are sometimes lumped together under the term “wicked” problems. We think of wicked problems as persistent, complex, and relying on interconnected variables for a solution. What is a wicked… Read more »

Sharing Perspectives across Disciplines

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Eleven faculty members from across the disciplinary spectrum came together on May 13-14, 2014 for the 3rd annual Magnolias Curriculum Project. This year’s workshop was co-facilitated by communications professor Ron Von Burg, an alumnus of last year’s cohort, and Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, the university’s director of sustainability. The aims of the workshop are to build a transdisciplinary community of scholars committed to addressing issues of sustainability and to empower faculty to consider themselves the experts at infusing sustainability into their courses. Participants in the two-day workshop discussed provocative literature, considered and developed student learning outcomes, and shared resources with their colleagues. The deliverable for each participant is a syllabus into which they have infused sustainability-related outcomes. The course may be one they have been teaching and plan to teach again or a completely new course they are developing. The revised… Read more »