Camp Snowball at WFU
In late July, over 240 students, educators, and administrators came to Wake Forest University to attend Camp Snowball, an annual summer “camp” that promotes systems thinking and education for sustainability. Camp Snowball, which is hosted annually in various locations around the country, chose Wake Forest as its first university host site. This choice signals the recognition of Wake Forest’s sustainability efforts in the broader community.
Camp Snowball’s vision, inspired by renowned systems theorist Peter Senge, is to develop a community of leaders to build capacity to shape the future through systems thinking and education for sustainability. Speakers at this year’s camp included Nancy Conrad, the founder of the Conrad Foundation and the Spirit of Innovation Challenge; Marv Adams, COO of TD Ameritrade; Jessica Bailey, Dean of the School of Business and Economics, Winston-Salem State University; and Michael Fullan, noted expert on change in education.
Elayne Dorsey, a lead member of the camp staff explained that WFU’s commitment to sustainability, exemplified by the Office of Sustainability, drew the camp to select WFU as a venue. “With a focus on education for sustainability, it felt like a natural match to choose an institution that reflects the values of the camp,” Dorsey said. Camp co-organizer LeAnne Grillo echoed the sentiment: “We look for a location that has both an espoused and implemented sustainability plan.”
A university setting also supports the concepts Camp Snowball promotes. “It helps reinforce systems thinking education and learning,” Dorsey commented. WFU provided the 40 students in attendance a college campus experience including conversations with admissions counselors and campus tours. Although the organizers have not settled on next year’s host site, Grillo attested “Several students commented that thinking about going to college became more real to them now that they had the chance to experience college life.”
By Hannah Slodounik, Program Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability