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Sustainability at Wake Forest

Archive for the ‘Get Involved – Students’ Category

Nominate a Champion of Change

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

Do you know an individual who has made an impact on campus sustainability at Wake Forest? Nominate her or him for a 2017 Champions of Change Award. This year’s winners will be recognized at the fourth annual Campus Sustainability Awards ceremony on March 22.

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Five Ways Wake Students Impacted Sustainability in 2016

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

Wake students are instrumental in crafting, launching, and nurturing campus-led sustainability initiatives. These efforts—both big and small—contribute greatly to creating a culture of sustainability at Wake Forest University.

To learn how you can be part of the action in 2017, browse our website or email sustainability@wfu.edu. Below are just a few examples of the many sustainable initiatives undertaken by students this past year.

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Art Speaks a Universal Language

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Noella Luka is adjusting to living life in a foreign land—Winston-Salem.

Luka, a documentary film student, recently made the move from her home in Kenya to her “home away from home” at Wake Forest University.

From over 7,700 miles away, Luka continues to seek creative means of communication to teach communities in Kenya, and around the globe, about conservation and environmental stewardship. She describes herself as a storyteller who crafts local stories with global resonance.

“Storytelling gives me an unnerving responsibility to be an opinion leader, to evoke reactions and stir up conversations,” Luka said. “Through words, sounds, and images I attempt to portray a reflection of society, the importance of our actions, and possible solutions.”

In 2015, Luka joined the Laikipian—a youth movement that uses creativity to highlight conservation solutions from an African perspective. Through art, the Laikipian seeks to inspire a generation of informed conservationists. With the primary audience of kids and youth in mind, the Laikipian has successfully fused conservation education into board games, educational posters, a comic book series, and even a coloring book.

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Congratulations Class of 2016 Interns

Friday, May 27th, 2016
Alyshah was recognized for her Sustainability Leadership at the annual Champions of Change awards ceremony.

Alyshah was recognized for her Sustainability Leadership at the annual Champions of Change awards ceremony.

Alyshah Aziz graduated Cum Laude with a major in Politics & International Affairs and a minor in Middle East & South Asian Studies. Alyshah served as an Alternative Transportation Intern for six consecutive semesters. She is working as a Business Analyst within Deloitte’s Federal Human Capital Consulting division.

Alyshah’s reflection on the internship: My internship with the Office of Sustainability helped me strengthen my skills in research, writing, marketing, and creativity. My time in the office and my friendships with Dedee, Hannah, Annabel, initiative co-sponsors, and interns are invaluable to me. My biggest takeaway that I will always carry with me is to think critically of what I read, hear, and see. The weekly intern meetings taught me to listen to what I hear and/or see and then investigate. My internship has lead me to view the world and all the activities of humankind from a holistic perspective. 

Graduates Commit to Living Green

Thursday, May 26th, 2016
Graduating Sustainability Interns Stewart Rickert and Alyshah Aziz host the sixth annual Green Grad pledge.

Graduating Sustainability Interns Stewart Rickert and Alyshah Aziz host the sixth annual Green Grad pledge.

Over 200 WFU graduates made an enduring commitment to sustainability by signing the Green Graduation pledge, an opportunity that over 100 other colleges and universities offer their graduates. All signatories received a reusable travel mug to reinforce sustainable habits.  The mugs are printed with Wake Forest’s Green Graduation pledge: I pledge to take into account the social and environmental consequences of any future endeavors and to work to improve the sustainability of the communities in which I work, live and play.

This is the sixth year that Wake Forest graduates have participated in the nationwide pledge movement.

Graduates who missed the initial opportunity to commit can come by the Office of Sustainability during our Homecoming reception in the fall to sign the pledge and/or grab a reusable mug.

Class of ’16 invited to sign Green Grad Pledge

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

IMG_3794Members of the class of 2016 are invited to sign the Green Graduation Pledge on Friday, May 13 at graduation ticket pick-up outside the University Book Store. Students who sign the pledge are committing to “take into account the social and environmental consequences of any future endeavors and to work to improve the sustainability of the communities in which [they] work, live and play.”

This is the university’s sixth year offering the Green Graduation Pledge to students. The tradition began 30 years ago at Humboldt State University. Today, more than 100 schools participate in the nationwide pledge drive, facilitated by the Graduation Pledge Alliance.

 

Reduce Waste at Move-Out

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

20100614donate4472Did you know… that the big green dumpsters in front of residence halls are headed to the landfill? Help us keep all reusable or recyclable items out of the dumpsters and in the hands of those who can use them.

Spread the word about these opportunities:

 

Deacs Donate

What? Reusable housewares, clothing, small appliances, school supplies, canned/dried food and furniture

When? April 29 – May 8

How? Smaller items can be placed in blue Goodwill donation boxes in the lobby of every residence hall. Bulky items (futons, shelving units, bookshelves, rugs, etc.) can be taken out in front of each residence hall and placed next to the Deacs Donate sign. Residents of theme houses should contact their resident advisers for information about the location of the donation bins in their areas.

Why? In 2015, the program helped students put approximately 20,000 pounds of clothing and other essentials into the hands of those in need in the Winston-Salem community.

Peer Educators for Sustainability

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

2016-sustainability-ambassadors-wfuWe are excited to announce this year’s Sustainability Ambassadors at Wake Forest University. Sustainability Ambassadors complete a comprehensive curriculum to develop the literacy and skills to be effective peer educators for sustainability. In this role, ambassadors work closely with the Office of Sustainability to educate, encourage and measure success of sustainability efforts among students.

Emily Claire Mackey, an Advanced Sustainability Ambassador, explains, “Many students view sustainability as the green recycling tote in their dorm room, but living in a sustainable world goes far beyond that.”

Among other outreach activities, Sustainability Ambassadors deliver presentations to fellow students, participate in outreach events, and conduct sustainability assessments in residence halls. During the fall 2016 semester, students can become ambassadors by completing a two-credit course titled, Leadership for Sustainability.


Introductory Sustainability Ambassadors

Taylor Barrett, Sophomore
Interests: Renewable energy and recycling

Cristin Berardo, Junior
Interests: Renewable energy

Erika Brandon, Junior
Interests: Sustainable agriculture

Forrest Dodds, Junior
Interests: Waste reduction and composting

Bill Leftwich, Freshman
Interests: Energy and water conservation

Wesley Skidmore, Freshman
Interests: Renewable energy and climate change


Advanced Sustainability Ambassadors

Stephanie Cobb, Sophomore
Interests: Climate change and food production

Zoe Helmers, Freshman
Interests: Climate change and waste

Mackenzie Howe, Freshman
Interests: Ocean acidification and energy

Emily Claire Mackey, Junior
Interests: Food and landscape degradation

Maggie Powell, Freshman
Interests: Biodiversity and ecological systems

Brennan Radulski, Sophomore
Interests: Ecology and biodiversity

Talia Roberts, Freshman
Interests: Waste and climate change

Cameron Steitz, Junior
Interests: Water conservation and food production

Cameron Waters, Freshman
Interests: Renewable energy and waste

Climate Change Forum: “You must adapt.”

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

This article was originally published in the Old Gold & Black on November 12, 2015.

On Nov. 10 evening, Dr. Eban Goodstein, Director of Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy and the Bard MBA in Sustainability in New York City, introduced students’ roles in climate change mitigation strategies through his presentation, New Rules for Climate Protection: Student and Citizen Action to Change the Future.

Although Goodstein emphasized the importance of student voices in many forums, his presentation focused on the Bard Center for Environmental Policy’s nationwide “Power Dialog” on April 4, 2016, an initiative to mobilize efforts of college students and enable them to have a direct effect on state-level policy.

On Aug. 3, 2015, President Obama announced the Clean Power Plan, a new US Environmental Protection Agency regulation designed to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants by 2030.

By 2030, the Plan calls for a reduction by 32 percent of 2005 levels, which are already much lower than those recorded today; however, Goodstein argued that the CPP was too timid and flexible.

Although power plants account for 40 percent of U.S. global warming pollution emissions, the CPP allows each state to set a different emission goal and “implementation plan” to meet it. Additionally, the 32 percent cuts are only a fraction of what Goodstein argues is necessary: 80 percent by 2050.

The Power Dialogs, which allow faculty at colleges nationwide to take their classes on coordinated field trips to their state capitols, aim to enable 10,000 students in all 50 states to have a face-to-face conversation with policymakers and to have a voice in these state level plans.

Because only 23 states have formed teams, and North Carolina does not yet have any Power Dialog organizers, Goodstein’s presentation was intended not only to equip attendees with updates on global warming that would enable them to better understand the upcoming International Climate Talks in Paris, but also to give interested students information on how to join the initiative.

A series of flight cancellations and delays prevented Goodstein’s arrival on campus and required him to present to the ZSR library auditorium virtually, but the professor engaged the over 50 attendees easily, asking audience members to guess statistics and pose theories, and even jokingly turning Dulles airport’s loudspeaker announcements into metaphors demonstrating the necessity of change.

The tone of his remarks did not detract from his message; in fact, it was the personal nature of the conversation that made Goodstein’s call to action affective.

“This will be the work of your lives,” said Goodstein. “You will adapt.”

That adaptation, which he explained will be a constant part of the lives of today’s students going forward as global warming is found to affect more and more aspects of the climate, demonstrates why students’ informed concern and efforts are imperative.

2014 was the hottest year recorded to date, and 2015 will be hotter still. There is 5 percent more water vapor in the atmosphere than there was 500 years ago, which has brought not only record-breaking floods in England, but unprecedented forest fires in California, demonstrating that the pressure of climate change on the water cycle and other weather patterns is causing a multitude of severe changes.

“If we do our best, the world will still get twice as hot,” Goodstein said.

Goldstein also asked the audience what had previously been the largest source of carbon emissions.

“If we were able to reduce emissions from horse manure by well over 90 percent, simply as a product of time, why can we not confidently say that we will be able to reduce fossil fuel emissions by 90 percent as well?”

Some of the effects of global warming are irreversible, but change is needed to minimize their impact. Although it may seem to students that the change necessary is unachievable, Goodstein maintained that this was not the case.

By Natalie Wilson (’19)

Goodstein Introduces the Power Dialog

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Power Dialog2Anticipated speaker Dr. Eban Goodstein of Bard College found himself travel-locked in D.C. on November 10, unable to make his long-awaited appearance at Wake Forest.

The upshot? Goodstein still managed to deliver his message to students loud and clear: it’s now or never for college students to stake their claim in the national climate change conversation.

Two hours before the Republican debate kicked off in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Goodstein settled in at Wake Forest via webcam to stress students’ role in mobilizing climate change initiatives despite the politicized efforts to keep the conversation off the table. Spearheading a new campaign called the Power Dialog, Goodstein is calling for students to engage in face-to-face discourse with climate legislators in all fifty states.

“There are lots of ways for students to offer their perspective on this,” said Goodstein. “And by sparking this discussion in all fifty states collectively, we’ll create a media platform. Presidential candidates will see that students want to have a voice in the matter.”

State-level climate change conversations were forced after President Obama unveiled his Clean Power Plan in August 2015. With the goal of reducing national carbon emissions from power plants by 32% by 2030, the Clean Power Plan requires each state to come up with an implementation program to meet specific emission reduction targets within fifteen years.

As the EPA’s pressure on states to enact policy changes reached beyond partisan tensions, Goodstein sought the opportunity to recruit educated young people who will witness the long-term impacts of today’s decisions.

“While countless industries weigh in on these matters, lawmakers aren’t connecting with students,” said Goodstein. “You’re the ones who will be alive to feel the effects of these measures in 2050, and your children will the ones reaping the consequences of our action or inaction in 2100.”

In creating the Power Dialog, Goodstein provides students with a voice in measures that will not only determine their future, but the future of the planet.

The Dialog is working now to organize a meeting with five hundred college students in every state capital during the week of April 4, 2016. These students will get a policy-making update from their state legislators and will be able to give input in the process.

In Raleigh, Governor McCroy and his advisors are currently devising a strategy to cut its emission rate from the power sector by at least 40% in the next fifteen years.  While this conversation ensues, students from North Carolina have yet to join the 23 states already on board with the Dialog.

“It’s not an ordinary day out there and it’s not going to be an ordinary day for the rest of your lives,” said Goodstein. “You’re either going to change the future or you’re not.”

Looking to get involved? Learn more about the Power Dialog here and contact us at sustainability@wfu.edu to be part of the movement.

–By Taylor Olson, ’16