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Sustainability at Wake Forest

Residence Halls Bring Home Silver

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Optimized energy performance may seem like a dry topic, but it’s one of the features that earned Magnolia and Dogwood residence halls LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certifications this January. Undergraduate residents have occupied the buildings since fall 2013. Prior to receiving certification from the US Green Building Council, however, both required post-occupancy performance verification. As set forth by the WFU Sustainability Strategic Plan, all new buildings on campus are designed to meet at least LEED-Silver standards. The buildings include hi-tech occupancy sensor lights, an interactive energy and water usage dashboard, and low- flow plumbing fixtures.  According to Paul Borick, senior project manager for Facilities and Campus Services, “One exciting feature for residents is greater control over individual room temperature.” Natural light and high performance lighting in the buildings also decrease energy usage. Learn more about some… Read more »

PRO+ECT Event Increases Awareness

Thursday, January 29, 2015

For a conservation event with potentially apocalyptic connotations, Thursday’s “Pledging Responsibility for Oceans and Environmental Change Today” in Brendle Recital Hall was frank, optimistic and self-aware: panelist and scientist Nancy Knowlton even pledged to keep audience members “not utterly depressed,” to noticeable titters. The panel, an effort to engage the public on the importance of oceans and their nascent fragility as a result of climate change, garnered a sizable crowd, perhaps partially due to the celebrity of the panelists speaking: Sylvia Earle, a National Geographic oceanographer; Knowlton, Sant Chair for Marine Science at Smithsonian’s Natural Museum of Natural History; and Amanda Leland, vice president for Oceans at the Environmental Defense Fund. Despite the preliminary call for optimism, the scientists made the audience aware of the current dire state of the world’s oceans. Overfishing and pollution have ravaged our oceans to… Read more »

Holiday Setback Program

Monday, January 26, 2015

Think you were the only one resting this holiday break? Think again. This past winter holiday break marked the seventh year Wake Forest has participated in the “Holiday Setback” program, during which we allow electrical use and steam production a bit of a holiday break—conserving both money and energy. The energy savings during this 2014 winter break is estimated at $32,648; electrical savings were $28,436 (475,840 kWh) and natural gas savings were $4,212 (842 dT). All seven holiday setbacks total to savings of $274,143. This is one of the many examples of how sustainable practices are a great idea not only for the planet but also for our budgets. By Andrea Becker (’16), Staff Writer

Where Are They Now: Kathleen Pritchard

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The outdoors has always been a part of Kathleen Pritchard’s life. A 2010 graduate of Wake Forest University with a degree in political science and minors in biology and environmental science, Kathleen has carried out her passion for the environment by continuing her studies in environmental law and policy; she is now a third year law student at the University of Texas in Austin. After graduation, Kathleen took two years off before continuing her education. Her hiatus began with a return to a former post at Wilderness Ventures, where she guided backpacking and climbing trips in the Pacific Northwest. She then spent time in Oxford, MS to study for the LSAT and to gain experience at a small family practice law firm. Once she completed this, she gathered her things and traveled to Argentina where she spent seven months teaching… Read more »

Tree Removed in Lot P

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A weeping cherry tree on the island in the middle of parking lot P on the east side of Wait Chapel was removed on January 6. The tree, which was part of the original campus planting plan, split down the trunk, rendering it unsalvageable. This tree will be replaced with the original varietal Weeping Higan Cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’). A description of this tree states that it “grows 20 to 30 feet tall and spreads 15 to 25 feet in a graceful weeping habit. Leaves stay glossy green throughout the summer and into the fall when they turn a vivid yellow before leaving the tree bare in winter. The drooping bare branches even lend a soothing grace to the landscape in winter. There is nothing quite like the Weeping Higan Cherry in full bloom in the spring. The light pink… Read more »

Landscaping Update: Wait Chapel

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Over the winter break, Facilities and Campus Services began renovation of the courtyards to the east and west sides of the Hearn Plaza entrance to Wait Chapel. Work, which began on December 15, 2014, is scheduled for completion on January 16, 2014. Overgrown shrubbery, which was causing damage to the building and obscuring the site, has been removed and will be replaced with a more inviting pocket garden design that opens the spaces up to Hearn Plaza. The project will include curved teak benches, brick pavers, blue stone and an entirely new planting scheme.  

Choreography: Dance & Nature

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dance is an increasingly popular art form for the investigation of cultural understandings of nature. Associate Professor of Dance, Christina Soriano, engaged her students in just such an investigation this semester. Soriano, who was a member of the 2014 Magnolias Curriculum Project cohort, modified her Dance Composition class to incorporate sustainability. Soriano challenged her students to choreograph a piece based on nature, specifically something growing in Reynolda Gardens. She asked them to observe various plants, and then choose one to explore, taking into account its color, structure, growth and movement; how it might change with the seasons, and how it might react to light. With this information, the students developed their own movement studies, aligning their dances with nature. After the assignment, the class performed Anna Halprin’s Planetary Dance to witness how other choreographers integrate nature themes into their work…. Read more »

Magnolia Room Harvest Dinner

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Forty-five students and guests enjoyed a heritage & heirloom foods dinner hosted by Wake Forest Dining on October 30 as part of the series of themed Thursday evening dinners in the Magnolia Room. The dinner was the brainchild of the sustainability team at Wake Forest in an effort to expose our campus community to heirloom and heritage foods native to and available in and around the North Carolina region. The evening’s menu featured the following local fare: pawpaws, sweet potatoes, apple butter, Joyce Farms poultry – chicken breasts, chicken sausage and chicken wings, persimmons, butternut squash ravioli, pink eyed peas, figs, and lima beans. Joyce Farms donated the poultry served as part of an ongoing effort to bring awareness of their farm’s local quality products. The butternut squash ravioli, pink eyed peas, lima beans, sweet potatoes, and apple butter were… Read more »

Southern Heirloom Apple Tree Project

Monday, December 1, 2014

“Ugly” is not the first word that comes to mind when considering which apple to eat. It does, however, describe the appearance of many heirloom apple varieties that have been lost since the standardization of the modern food system. The wild or “ugly” apple is known to have originated in Kazakhstan, and was brought to North America soon after the English settled in 1607. As cider became popular in the United States, apple seeds and grafted seedlings were planted throughout the country. This brought great biodiversity to the South with as many as 1,800 different heirloom varieties. Only 500 of those varieties, however, are still known to be in existence. This decline led Creighton Lee Calhoun, Jr. to serve as one of the foremost leaders in apple conservation in North America. He has dedicated his life to researching, growing and… Read more »

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 multiple partners. 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 world with sustainable agriculture. Shiva is the author of Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development and… Read more »