Wake Forest University

Magnolias Project - Apply to Participate - Sustainability at Wake Forest

Sustainability at Wake Forest

Magnolias Project – Apply to Participate

Magnolias Project – Apply to Participate

Magnolias Project 2017 – Applications Open

To All Wake Forest Faculty:

We invite you to enhance your teaching and engagement with sustainability issues by participating in the Magnolias Project May 10-11, 2017 on the Wake Forest campus.  No prior experience with sustainability-related issues in the classroom or in research is necessary, and faculty at all ranks and career stages are welcome.

This innovative approach to curricular change, modeled on the nationally renowned Piedmont Project (Emory University), provides faculty with an intellectually stimulating and collegial experience to pool their expertise.  Faculty who would like to develop a new course module or an entirely new course that engages issues of sustainability and the environment are encouraged to apply.

The workshop will explore how we can meaningfully integrate sustainability—broadly defined—into our classrooms.  Although we start by taking a close look at Wake Forest University and the larger Piedmont region, we invite participants to engage in local to global comparisons.

The Magnolia Project kicks off with a two-day workshop (May 10-11) that will offer opportunities to extend research and teaching horizons across disciplines and create new networks with fellow colleagues.  Following the workshop, faculty participants prepare discipline-specific course materials on their own over the summer. They reconvene in the fall to discuss their insights and experiences.  Participants receive a stipend of $500 ($250 upon completion of the workshop; $250 upon completion of a new or revised syllabus).

Project participants agree to:

  1. Read some materials prior to the workshop
  2. Participate in the full 2-day workshop on May 10-11, 2017
  3. Commit time during the summer to prepare or revise a syllabus and submit it in August
  4. Report back to the group in the fall semester

Interested? Applications will be accepted until April 17. 

  • Send a short description (one paragraph maximum) of how you plan to change an existing course, or develop a new one, that will incorporate environmental and/or sustainability issues to Kim Couch at couchkm@wfu.edu.  Please include your name, departmental affiliation, phone number and e-mail address.

Want to know more?

Browse the Magnolias or Piedmont Project websites for example syllabi and faculty statements:

Come join a community of faculty searching for new ways to engage issues relevant to their fields.

Campus Tree Update: Willow Oak Removal

July 21st, 2017

Tree Removed at SFAC

June 13th, 2017

On Monday, June 12, a Willow Oak was removed at the west entrance of the Scales Fine Arts Center after being in decline year many years. Another Willow Oak will be planted in its place.

For up-to-date news on campus tree removals, interested individuals can view a list of all tree removals and justifications on the Office of Sustainability’s website.

Sustainability across the Curriculum

June 9th, 2017

For the semester following the workshop, faculty participants submit a syllabus for a course in which sustainability-related outcomes are integrated. These courses are either classes the faculty have been teaching and plan to teach again, or are completely new courses they are developing.

Members of this year’s cohort represented a breadth of disciplinary and campus homes: music, education, the ZSR Library, romance languages, chemistry, English, anthropology, communication, and the Reynolda Gardens public education program.

Ron Von Burg, assistant professor in the Department of Communications, and Luke Johnston, associate professor in the Department for the Study of Religions, both Magnolias Project alumni, facilitated this year’s workshop. Guest presenters, Yadkin Riverkeeper, Will Scott and Sylvia Oberle, Senior Fellow with the Pro Humanitate Institute, shared resources for designing course content to engage students in locally relevant issues.

One of this year’s participants reported that the experience “has helped me not only think about my classes, but also how to frame my own research to the public. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations we had, and the presentations did a great job of making the ideas we were discussing applicable.”

Each year this workshop results in an increased number of courses that support a wide variety of sustainability-related learning objectives. This approach fits well into the context of a liberal arts education– students who are exposed to multiple disciplinary perspectives have a more complete understanding of the context in which many of the current socio-environmental trends are situated. The 2017 cohort brought the number of Magnolias Curriculum Project participants up to 66.

This year’s Magnolias Curriculum Project was hosted by the Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability and the Office of Sustainability.

Decaying Willow Oak Removed from Lot P

June 8th, 2017

A new tree will not be replanted at this site. Instead, Landscape Services is considering a redesign to better accommodate foot traffic between Farrell Hall, Lot P, and Hearn Plaza.

A second declining Willow Oak in Lot P will also be removed in the month of June. Another Willow Oak will be planted in its place.

For an up-to-date list of campus tree removals, interested individuals can view a list of all campus tree removals and justifications.

Congratulations 2017 Sustainability Intern Graduates

May 16th, 2017

Eric Gorzeman, a Business and Enterprise Management major and Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor, will be joining the Vanguard Group in Charlotte following graduation. During his time with the Office of Sustainability, Eric served as the Carbon Footprint Energy intern (2015-2016) and the Re-Cycle Bike-share Program intern (2016-2017).

Eric’s reflection on the internship: By interning at the Office of Sustainability, I have gained project management, leadership, and communication skills. This internship experience has also inspired me to eventually work in the green energy industry, in a business capacity. In addition to my personal and professional growth, I met different friends that I may not have met otherwise, and had a great time working with the Wake Forest staff and community as a whole.

Julie Kanter has been involved with the Office of Sustainability since 2015, serving as the Earth Day Fair Coordination intern, the Arbor Day Events intern, and the Event Analysis intern. Julie graduated cum laude with degrees in Economics and Spanish. Julie’s involvement with campus events—from beginning to end—has been essential. Julie will be moving to Chicago following graduation, where she will join Fifth Third Bank’s Credit Leadership Program.

Julie’s reflection on the internship: Interning with the Office of Sustainability has provided me with the invaluable opportunity to grow my intellectual curiosity and professional skills while interacting with a supportive and motivational team of colleagues. The Office has supported, challenged, taught, and guided me over the last three years and I am so thankful for that. I know the skills and relationships I have fostered through the Office will always be present in my personal and professional life and I am anxious to see all the success that comes to my fellow interns.

Akua Maat, a magna cum laude graduate who majored in both Latin and Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies, has been a Campus Garden intern since her sophomore year at Wake Forest. Akua’s strong commitment to the nourishment and growth of the Campus Garden will yield results well into the future. She will work with CityYear next year as a mentor in a Philadelphia public school and eventually plans to pursue a PhD in sociology and a career as a college professor.

Akua’s reflection on the internship: Interning with the Office of Sustainability and working so closely with the garden has opened me up to a world I couldn’t have anticipated my freshman year. I’ve learned an extraordinary amount about myself and the world around me. After three years as an intern and a soon-to-be-graduate, what I have gained and appreciated the most is the capacity I now have to implement sustainable practices in my life beyond Wake Forest.

Emily McMullen, a biology and chemistry double major and an environmental studies minor, graduated magna cum laude and with honors.  This year, Emily served as an Energy intern working with Facilities & Campus Services to draft an energy plan for the University. After graduation, Emily will be teaching high school science at Geneva Classical Academy in Lakeland, Florida. She plans to pursue a PhD in marine molecular ecology.

Emily’s reflection on the internship: My time as an intern with Facilities and Campus Services and the Office of Sustainability has provided me with an incredible professional skill set which will serve me well in all my future endeavors. The high level of expectations have allowed me to strengthen my communication and technical skills, and appropriately plan for long term projects and goals. The friendships I have developed with the other interns have been invaluable additions to my college experience- I am very thankful for the opportunity I have had to work with many of them this past year.

We also want to congratulate our former interns who graduated with the Class of 2017:

Ann Nguyen, Photography intern (Fall 2014 – Spring 2015) and Freelance Photographer (Fall 2016 – Spring 2017). Ann graduated cum laude and with honors in Studio Art.

Kristen Cortese, Office of Energy Management intern (Fall 2014, Spring 2015).

The entire Sustainability staff wishes all 2017 graduates the best in the next chapter of their lives and careers.

Over 200 Graduates Commit to Living Green

May 14th, 2017

The creation of the Green Graduation Pledge allows future alumni to carry on Wake Forest’s legacy of sustainability and civic responsibility throughout their careers and lives.

All signatories received a reusable travel mug printed with the pledge to reinforce sustainable habits. This is the seventh year that Wake Forest graduates have participated in this nationwide pledge movement.

Make the Pledge to be a Green Grad

April 28th, 2017

Volunteers will be at the graduation ticket pick-up table outside of the University Bookstore from 9:00-5:00 on Friday, May 12 to assist seniors in signing the pledge. As a reminder of their commitment, signees will be awarded a reusable travel mug, while supplies last.

This is Wake Forest’s seventh year offering the Green Graduation Pledge to students. The tradition began over 30 years ago at Humboldt State University. Today, the pledge has been offered at over 100 colleges and universities throughout the world facilitated by the Graduation Pledge Alliance.  

Students Overlook Campus Ride-Sharing Network

April 15th, 2017

Zimride, a ride-sharing network, was introduced to Wake Forests’ campus in 2012 as a way to encourage students, faculty and staff to protect the environment and save money. It works to connect drivers and riders who are headed in the same direction through its website or Facebook page.

This ride-sharing network requires a registered Wake Forest email address to sign up. Zimride is economical because it allows drivers to save up to 75 percent on travel costs by splitting a ride with three passengers. Most importantly, the act of carpooling has a major impact on the overall reduction of car pollution, ultimately protecting our environment.

“Since its inception in 2012, we’ve had over 1,100 users and over 1,100 individual rides posted,” said Brian Cohen, the program coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, “That being said, it is undeniable that many people have still not heard of Zimride.”

“I assume that students are unaware of Zimride because they aren’t looking for a ride matching platform,” said Dedee Johnston, the chief sustainability officer. “Sometimes we don’t see things that are clear in sight because we’re not looking for them.”

This idea of not looking for a carpooling network stems from the lack of knowledge regarding its influence on the environment, thus contributing to the refusal to participate in it. 

Sara Cecere, a Greeks Go Green representative, carried out research on the creation of this ride-sharing system.

“In terms of Zimride, only 2.56 percent of those who responded used it or another carpooling app,” she said.  “We found that the biggest barrier to carpooling was that an overwhelming majority (85.71 percent) felt it was inconvenient to coordinate with other people.”

In addition to this, Cecere said that only 2.59 percent of students reported that they believed carpooling reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

This information illustrates the discouraging fact that most people on campus are uninformed about the impact that humans have on our surroundings. In reality, every ride-share works to take away four cars from the road, which is equal to planting about 4,000 trees, according to the Mother Nature Network.

A once-a-week switch to carpooling can decrease a drivers’ carbon footprint by 20 percent.

Considering today’s political climate, our understanding of this data is more important than ever.

On March 28, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to roll back former President Barack Obama’s six-year effort to reduce the effects of climate change and manage carbon emissions. 

Trump believed that Obama’s restrictions on power plants and coal mines only worked to hurt American workers. As a result, he eliminated many government regulations on environmental protection.

While this executive order does not directly pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, which commits 196 nations to reducing its carbon footprint to decrease global warming, it puts less pressure on individuals, businesses and the country to accomplish this goal.

This is why awareness is imperative.

“I think if students were more exposed to learning about the impact that they have on the environment, like driving in a car, the more likely they would be to use a system like Zimride,” said junior Mariweir Harris.

There is hope for the future.

“Our Greeks Go Green representatives have also been promoting it within their sororities and fraternities,” Cohen said. “We’ve seen a gradual increase in users, especially before breaks.”

After learning about the ride-sharing network, sophomore, Mitch Dyer, said, “I had no idea [Zimride] existed. If I had known, I would have definitely used it.

“That’s why I believe this is the type of thing that will take off once it becomes a norm on campus,” Cohen said. “But we really need the help of other organizations in reaching more people.”

Originally published in the Old Gold and Black.

Attend the March for Science in Raleigh

April 11th, 2017

The itinerary* posted by the march organizers can be found below.

7:00 a.m.          WFU bus departs from the flagpole outside of the Benson Center
9:00 a.m.          Arrive at Shaw University in downtown Raleigh
9:30 a.m.          Begin lining up for the march
10:00 a.m.        March for Science begins
12:00 p.m.        March for Science concludes at Moore Square
12:00 p.m.        Rally and Science Fair begin
2:00 p.m.          March for Science activities conclude
2:15 p.m.           WFU bus departs from Moore Square
4:30 p.m.          Bus arrives back at Wake Forest University*

Each rider will pay a flat fee of $15 for transportation. By signing up, you will reserve your seat on the bus and also commit to paying the $15 fee (note that cash and check are the preferred methods of payment; make checks out to Wake Forest University).

Seats are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Click here to reserve your seat.

Additional information and the full itinerary for the Raleigh March for Science can be found at raleighmarchforscience.org. Email cohenbj@wfu.edu with any questions.

* Itinerary times are subject to change.

Move Out, Don’t Throw Out

April 11th, 2017

Below is a complete description of all donation and reuse stations that make it easy to divert waste from the landfill.

Deacs Donate 

  • What? Reusable house wares, clothing, small appliances, school supplies, furniture, and unopened canned/dried food
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? Smaller items should be placed in blue Goodwill donation boxes located in the lobby of every residence hall. Bulky items (futons, shelving units, bookshelves, rugs, etc.) must be placed next to the “Deacs Donate” sign  in front of each residence hall. Items for Deacs Donate are collected by the Resident Student Association, in collaboration with Goodwill.
  • Why? In 2016, Residence Life & Housing’s Deacs Donate program helped students put over 5 tons of clothing and other essentials into the hands of those in need in the Winston-Salem community.
  • Questions? Contact Elizabeth Leslie (leslieea@wfu.edu) or your RSA advisor. Residents of the Polo Road and Rosedale Circle RL&H Theme Houses should contact their RAs for information on the location of the donation bins in their area.

Recycling Tote Collection

  • What? Small green recycling totes with white handles
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? If you have a personal green recycling tote and do not wish to keep it, place it next to the green recycling bin signs outside you residence hall.
  • Why? Your tote is yours to keep for all four years. If you no longer want it, it will be collected, cleaned, and redistributed to a first-year student next year. Note: you will not receive a replacement tote next year if you choose to give it back.

To-Go Container Collection

  • What? Green to-go containers from Deacon Dining.
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? Return any green reusable to-go containers to the Fresh Food Company to receive your $5 deposit back. If you do not wish to receive your deposit back, please leave your to-go container next to the green recycling bin sign outside your residence hall. For the week of finals, bio-compostable disposable to-go containers will be used in all dining halls.

Donate Textbooks to Better World Books

  • What? Textbooks
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? All books can be deposited in collection boxes located conveniently near the registers in the bookstore textbook department– you don’t even have to wait in line.
  • Why? Students always seem to end up with textbooks that the bookstore just cannot buy back at the end of the semester. Better World Books collects and resells these volumes to fund literacy initiatives at home and abroad. Last year, over 1 ton of books were recovered and donated to partner programs around the world.

Recycle Your Notes

  • What? Class notes and all recyclable paper
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? Recycle loose-leaf notes, class handouts, fliers and other paper and small pieces of cardboard by depositing them in the blue paper recycling bags given to all residents by their RAs. Full bags can be placed next to the blue paper recycling signs outside residence halls.

Donate Your Bike to the Re-Cycle Fleet

  • What? Is your bike looking for a new home? Donate it to Wake Forest’s Re-Cycle Bike Share Program. Donated bikes will be reconditioned and added to the bike share program to increase the number of bikes available to other students.
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? Contact Lee Collette (colletls@wfu.edu/336-758-6046) to schedule a drop-off time at Outdoor Pursuits.

These move-out waste reduction initiatives are sponsored by Residence Life & Housing, Goodwill, Facilities & Campus Services, and the Office of Sustainability.