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Sustainability at Wake Forest

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WAB Trips Offer Re-Connections

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Contributed by Alyshah Aziz (’16)

As a sophomore minoring in Environmental Studies, caring for the environment is something that has always been near and dear to my heart. Participating in the Knoxville, TN Wake Alternative Break trip served as an opportunity to reground my beliefs. Often, in our fast-moving technology-centered world, I have found myself becoming isolated from nature and its beauty.

Laura Coats and De’Noia Woods, recent WFU alumnae and current AmeriCorps members, hosted us in Knoxville and organized the activities for our trip. The heart of the work was service in areas of environmental conservation and waste reduction. Some service activities throughout the week consisted of packing Mobile Meals, laying the foundation for a disc golf course, carrying out a clean-up at Ijams Nature Sanctuary, working in an urban garden, and clearing more privet than I have seen in my entire life!

Our venture to the Queen City of the Mountains was quite unique compared to any other service trip I have experienced. Each WAB trip has a specific focus – some are more people-centered than others. For me, the WAB trip inspired the process of questioning, fostered independence, and allowed me to reconnect with nature. As a society, we benefit from many ecosystem services. Our unique adventures each day allowed me to see the raw beauty nature humbly provides for us. The primary goal was to help heal the physical environment. In turn, the hope is that the healthy environment is able to serve both humans and other living beings.

The work allowed time to think and to reconnect with our gracious hosts, Laura and De’Noia. It was interesting to hear their experiences during freshman and sophomore years at Wake, and find the similarities with my own experiences. Since Laura and I were both former EcoReps, she shared with me that she originally joined AmeriCorps with the hope that it would be similar to the EcoReps program we have on campus. Although she found her position in AmeriCorps working with Keep Knoxville Beautiful to be different from what she expected, it is still a very enriching experience.

As a current sophomore I have begun starting to ponder: Where do I see myself after I receive my four-year degree from Wake Forest? What people would I like to be surrounded by? While working in Pond Gap Elementary’s Garden, something Laura said really hit home. She shared that she has never been a part of a group of such like-minded individuals before. Transitioning from an EcoRep to an intern with the Office of Sustainability, I strongly feel that I have been able to better find my niche on campus through my encounters with students, faculty, and staff. I have met many interesting and refreshing students in my Environmental Studies minor courses and have been introduced to new activities, events, and perspectives to which I otherwise might not have been exposed.

I came to the realization that although many of my peers might not consider themselves environmentalists, we are the generation that consciously bikes more, drives less, promotes carpooling, and actively searches for local foods. My goals and values have solidified through my WAB experience; although I came into the trip with a passion for the environment, being able to interact with the environment in different ways each day was a refreshing experience. The beauty, strength, and wisdom of Nature never cease to amaze me, and I will always treasure these opportunities.

Fall 2014 Internships in Sustainability

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Aramark_Meeting_1_30_14Are you a student interested in making a difference? The following paid internships are available to Wake Forest students for fall 2014. In order to apply, please fill out this form. Applications are due by Thursday, April 17th at 5pm.  Unless otherwise noted, these internships are with the Office of Sustainability.

Campus Garden 
The intern will collaborate with faculty, staff, and student volunteers to manage the campus garden at 1141 Polo Road. The intern will coordinate garden volunteer opportunities, explore service learning possibilities with interested faculty and organize major events in the campus garden. The successful candidate will be enthusiastic, outgoing, and will have strong organizational skills. Experience with medium-scale community gardening is strongly preferred.

Communications and Outreach 
The intern will work with staff in the Office of Sustainability to develop content for the campus sustainability website including, but not limited to, news stories, calendar contributions, and social media posts. The intern will contribute to the production of a monthly electronic newsletter, based on the news stories written for the website.  Strong writing skills required, sustainability literacy preferred.  Applications from both graduate and undergraduate students will be accepted.  In addition to the application form, please submit two news-writing samples.

Gameday Recycling 
During the fall semester, the intern will recruit for and manage a volunteer game day recycling program for the home football season. Volunteers recruited for the effort will interface with fans, work with the athletic department to manage demand for recycling collection, prepare communication materials for the program, and promote the program to tailgating fans. This intern must be available to work on the program during the summer months, but does not have to be physically located on campus until the fall.

Greeks Go Green 
The intern will lead the Greeks Go Green initiative by holding weekly meetings with established Greeks Go Green representatives and organizing monthly presentations and events throughout the semester. The intern must be an active member of a registered Greek organization on campus. Excellent leadership and organizational skills are required. Familiarity with and knowledge of Prezi is a plus.

The intern will attend and photograph Office of Sustainability events and maintain an active photostream on the office Flickr account. Events will range from high profile speakers to weekly community engagement events. Attendance at weekly intern meetings is required. The intern must have his or her own photography equipment and some photo editing skills. Familiarity with Flickr is a plus.

ARAMARK – Sustainability in Dining 
View the responsibilities of the Sustainability in Dining Intern.


Net Impact Club in the Black & Gold

Monday, March 31st, 2014

net impactContributed by Gray Robinson (MBA 14′)

The WFU School of Business Net Impact Club entered last fall aiming to increase interest and participation in the club via a three-pronged strategy: building teams to compete in competitions, creating a Net Impact business incubator and networking with students and professionals with like minds.

As May approaches, those objectives have been well met and participation is up with 25 active members, all School of Business graduate students.

The club assembled teams to compete in three competitions (the Leeds Net Impact Case Competition, the Sustainable Venture Capital Investment Competition and the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investment Challenge) and also consulted all-natural energy bar startup, Threshold Provisions of Asheville, NC, on its business plan and strategy.

The club has recruited Dan McCabe, CEO of Causetown, to be a BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism speaker this spring.  Causetown is an Atlanta-based enterprise that works with businesses large and small to create positive social impact in their communities.  Driving social impact throughout his career, McCabe is a WFU MBA alumnus (’06) and will speak in Farrell Hall Room A17 at 4:00 PM on April 24th.

The Wake Forest chapter will join the Net Impact clubs from Duke and UNC as well as students from Duke’s Master’s in Environmental Management in Durham this spring to visit local businesses focused on positive impact.

Moving forward, the club aims to continue growing membership by offering further opportunities to get hands-on experience marrying the pursuits of sustainability and capitalism.

The John B. McKinnon Professor of Economics and Finance at the School of Business, Rick Harris, is the club’s faculty sponsor.  The club is run by co-Presidents, Gray Robinson and Ryan Lesley; Senior Officer, Alex Tsuji; and 1st-year Officer, Laura Bondel.

For more information, please contact Gray Robinson at

Student Sustainability Collaboration

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The Student Sustainability Group network kicked off the spring semester with a networking meeting to discuss opportunities for cross-campus collaboration. Representatives of student groups that support sustainability at WFU, including EcoTheo, Net Impact, the Environmental Law Society, Campus Garden, Greeks Go Green, Outdoor Pursuits, SEAC, and VSC gathered to discuss semester activities.

The network meeting provided an opportunity to explore future collaborations and share events planned for the semester. Sarah Millsaps (’16) attended the meeting on behalf of Outdoor Pursuits (OP). OP recently introduced events that engage students on campus through activities like Smores Outdoors. Millsaps found the event particularly helpful: “Getting together with other leaders and collaborating in ways to promote sustainability on campus allows us to better know the community and thus better serve it.”

Tori Erb (’14) and Jake Teitelbaum (’16) attended on behalf of the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC). The two discussed SEAC’s plans to host an Earth Hour event in late March. Greeks Go Green representatives Emily Pence (’15) and Stewart Rickert (’16) valued the support they received from the network in planning a campus-wide beautification day.

For the three graduate organizations who attended — the Environmental Law Society, Net Impact, and EcoTheo — the event was an opportunity to engage with undergraduates and students outside of their respective schools. Ryan Lesley (’06, MBA ’14), co-president of Wake Forest’s chapter of the MBA organization Net Impact, shared information about upcoming speakers and projects.

The Office of Sustainability serves as a convener of these organizations; the semi-annual Student Sustainability Group meeting helps individual organizations increase their reach across campus by allowing students with similar goals to identify opportunities to collaborate.

To get involved in the Sustainability Group network or to learn more about upcoming events, stay connected to the Office of Sustainability through Facebook and Twitter and sign up for weekly sustainability updates on our homepage.

By Hannah Slodounik, Program Coordinator

Master of Arts in Sustainability

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

A new Master of Arts in Sustainability offered by Wake Forest’s Center for Energy, Environment & Sustainability (CEES) will give students and early to mid-career professionals the diverse skillset they need to carve out a place in the burgeoning global sustainability marketplace.

The MA in Sustainability is a distinctive interdisciplinary one-year program that combines coursework in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, management and law. The program is currently accepting applicants for the Fall 2014 semester. Read more…

Social Impact Career Workshop Series

Monday, December 9th, 2013
EcoReps participate in Choose to Reuse @ Hit the Bricks

EcoReps participate in Think Green Thursday

Twenty-seven undergraduate students from diverse disciplines attended the first-ever Social Impact Career Workshop, co-sponsored by the Office of Personal & Career Development, Service & Social Action, My Journey, and the Office of Sustainability.

Part one of a three-part series, the workshop received overwhelmingly positive feedback through student evaluations. “It really opened my eyes to the myriad of options,” commented one student. “[The workshop] taught me about the ‘next step,’” noted another attendee.

During the first half of the event, Dr. Katharine Brooks, Executive Director of Personal and Career Development, led students through a self-reflection and planning exercise. The group then heard from a professional panel that included Dr. Ananda Mitra, Professor and Chair of Communication; Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, WFU Director of Sustainability; Ryan Lesley (’06, MBA ‘14), former Peace Corps volunteer and co-president of WFU Net Impact; and Alex Tsuji (MBA ’14), secretary of WFU Net Impact. After brief introductions from each panelist, students had the opportunity to ask questions. The discussion reflected interests that ranged from local to global issues and spanned sectors from non-governmental to corporate.

Former Wake Forest Fellow Annabel Lang (’12) developed the idea for the workshop while working with EcoReps, a peer sustainability education program of the Office of Sustainability. With an increasing number of Wake Forest students gaining sustainability-related experience through curricular and extracurricular endeavors, she saw a need to bridge the gap between these undergraduates’ experiences and their future professional lives.

Part two of the Social Impact Careers Workshop will take place Tuesday, January 15th, 2014 at 5:00PM. In this next installation, students will learn how to “pitch” their experiences, passions, and skills to potential employers. Additionally, attendees will learn how to take advantage of the upcoming Job & Internship Fair, on-campus opportunities for gaining social impact experience, job search resources, and networking strategies. To participate in part two, students should register through the DeaconSource calendar. It is not necessary to have participated in part one, in order to participate in part two.

By Hannah Slodounik, Program Coordinator

Greeks Go Green: O Brothers, Where Art Thou?

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Since its founding in 2011, Greeks Go Green (GGG) has worked to involve members of the Wake Forest Greek community in reaching our campus sustainability goals.

Representatives from participating chapters meet bi-weekly to talk about the many junctures between sustainability and Greek life. The effort is facilitated by sustainability interns Emily Pence (WFU ’15) and Stewart Rickert (WFU ’16).

To date, GGG has gained traction mainly with the sororities of the Panhellenic Council on campus. This year, however, the student interns are working to expand the GGG network to include both sororities and fraternities on campus. “Although in the past sororities have accounted for the vast majority of GGG involvement, that doesn’t mean that members in fraternities on campus aren’t passionate about the environment or principles of sustainability too,” said Pence.

There may be several explanations for comparatively lower fraternity involvement: initial enthusiasm for GGG was expressed most visibly by sorority members; past student GGG interns have all been sorority women. With the addition of Rickert to the leadership team this year, the network gained its first male GGG student intern and a highly visible advocate of sustainable interests within the Greek community. According to Rickert “we began working to make Greeks Go Green more appealing to fraternities and have seen a substantial increase in participation from fraternity members this year.” Pence added that, “the increased interest that we have witnessed from fraternity members over the past semester shows a lot of potential for effecting change on campus.”

The organization currently enjoys active participation from the following fraternity and sorority chapters on campus:

Kappa Beta Gamma                                 Kappa Alpha Theta

Kappa Kappa Gamma                             Alpha Sigma

Chi Omega                                                 Delta Kappa Epsilon

Kappa Delta                                               Pi Kappa Alpha

Alpha Delta Pi                                           Theta Chi

Delta Delta Delta                                      Kappa Sigma

Delta Zeta

This year, members of the Greek community can look forward to a screening of 180º South and a campus cleanup day, in addition to annual energy conservation, waste reduction, and carpool challenges.

If you’d like to get involved, contact Greeks Go Green interns Emily Pence ( ) or Stewart Rickert ( ) for more information.

By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern

Are You a Champion?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Have you or are you preparing to facilitate a change to a sustainable practice on campus? Have you implemented a new sustainability initiative in your area? If so, you might be a winner!

This coming April, Wake Forest will host our inaugural Champions of Change award ceremony.

In March, we will accept nominations for awards that honor sustainability through:

  • resource conservation (energy, water, or waste reduction),
  • academics (teaching, research, engaged learning),
  • service and social action, and
  • bright ideas (innovative ideas that have been or could be implemented).

We look forward to hearing about the work of all the inspiring change agents across campus.

Update: Sustainability Theme House

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Susty_Spaghetti_5This summer, Wake Forest had to say goodbye to a beloved campus home.  Due to structural damage in the basement, there was no alternative to demolishing the Sustainability theme house, a house which a group of students had formerly called “home.”

The Sustainability house was one of the handful of theme houses owned by Wake Forest and operated by Residence Life & Housing. In this house, students who embraced a sustainable lifestyle could live together and share their common interests and passions. On any given day, these students were biking to and from the house, composting, volunteering at the campus garden located in the backyard, and hosting events such as spaghetti dinner night.  During the four short years of its existence, the Sustainability House residents developed a network of students throughout campus that all came together to enjoy different facets of the Wake Forest experience. Although the only visible remnant of the former “Sust’y” house, as it was known, is now an empty gravel lot, the Susty community continues to thrive.

Logan Healy-Tuke, the theme program assistant for the house, says that although the demolition is a setback, it allows the community to grow in different ways. The house right next door to the now empty lot—what would have been an annex to the Sustainability theme house—is now the flagship house for these students. Additionally, the community has expanded to the North Campus Apartments and the Ahuva theme house, where the displaced students now live. Logan says “Though we are bummed, we believe with full faith that this shift will make us more appreciative of what we do have, and look forward to keeping a tight-knit, sustainability-based community inclusive to all.”

The sustainability student community is continuing their traditions, including spaghetti dinner night on Thursdays (which is open to all students), volunteering at the Campus Garden on Sundays, riding their bicycles all over campus, and attending different events on campus as a group. With or without the former home, the Susty community will continue to flourish and promote sustainable living on campus.

As it turns out, 1141 Polo housed important memories for another Wake Forest family as well. The Susty House history dates back to its construction in June of 1923, when it was built as part of the Oak Crest neighborhood. For most of its existence, the Susty House belonged to the Hauser family. Gena Hauser, the granddaughter of the original owner says, “It’s where my dad grew up and our family enjoyed a whole lot of good memories—including my grandma’s amazing cooking on many Sunday afternoons.”

In addition to great dinners and family memories, this home will be missed for its beauty. According to local historian Kent Strupe, several people have referred to it as one of the prettiest homes along Polo Road, and he adds, “With its coordinating two-tone green color, beautiful mature trees, and well-manicured lawn, I have to agree. Oak Crest has truly lost a treasure.”

By Andrea Becker (’16), Staff Writer

Garden Intern WWOOFs it in Hawaii

Monday, August 5th, 2013
David Song ('15) at Dragon's Eye Learning Center.

David Song (’15) at Dragon’s Eye Learning Center.

Snorkeling with sea turtles and hiking volcanoes may sound like amazing vacation highlights all on their own, but for David Song (‘15) these experiences were part of a 45-day Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA (WWOOF-USA) internship to learn about sustainable agriculture. It was just an added bonus that the practicum was located on the easternmost point on the big island of Hawaii, at Dragon’s Eye Learning Center.

As an EcoRep and incoming 2013 garden intern, Song looked for a unique summer opportunity that would allow him to experience sustainable living on a different level and “fully appreciate the value of food.” WWOOF-USA provided just that for him: a program that is part of the global WWOOF network, which connects volunteers with organic farmers in exchange for room and board and the opportunity to study ecologically sound farming practices.

The diversity of agriculture Song worked with on the rural, 32-acre farm near Pahoa, ranged from jaboticaba to jackfruit and everything in between including breadfruit, noni, and macadamia. Part of the information exchange consisted of learning about the aquaponic tilapia and greens system and about the Cornish hens and Dexter Cows that live on the hearty landscape.

When Song committed to the internship, he was focused on the agricultural component of the program and didn’t anticipate the culinary knowledge he would gain too. “I helped make cheese, yogurt, ice cream, scratch-flour cake, and a variety of meat dishes, starting with hunting, to butchering, and cooking the animal.” Another sustainable component he experienced was living “off the grid,” as the farm relies on solar power for both water access and electricity.

It is this full-systems approach to sustainability that he plans to bring back to campus this fall. Eager to apply his new skills, he envisions testing an aquaponics operation, increasing attention to soil composition at the campus garden, and “…on a more abstract level, promoting and explaining the value of sustainable living as a sustainability intern.”

Through the internship Song gained an understanding of what it meant to participate in a culture of sustainability outside of his previous realm and is an advocate of the program: “I would recommend it to anyone interested in agriculture, livestock, and sustainability or just to people who would like to experience something completely different, culturally.”

By Hannah Slodounik, Program Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability