For the next couple of weeks, trees across the Wake Forest University campus will be sporting yellow tree tags. Some of the tags offer the calculated value of ecosystem services that the trees provide. Others offer the general positive benefits of trees in our landscape. Others are quotes collected from authors and figureheads about the incalculable value of our campus trees.
Archive for the ‘Events’ Category
Celebrate our urban forests, waterways, and the landscapes that surround us during Earth Week at Wake Forest. Inspired by Terry Tempest Williams’ quote “finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find,” this week-long celebration will take place March 19-25 with a variety of events to connect the Wake Forest community to actions that will protect and heal the ecosystems that support life.
One of the most respected keyboardists in the world of rock’n’roll visits Wake Forest to speak about environmental stewardship and conservation
When you think of living a double life, the action-packed escapades of professional spies, secret agents and undercover cops come to mind. For Chuck Leavell, living a double life is simply a way to combine his passions and talents—and it certainly is action-packed.
Leavell has spent over half of his life performing with bands and artists such as the Rolling Stones, the Black Crowes, the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, George Harrison and John Mayer. Living on tour buses, waking up at noon in foreign cities and playing music for millions of screaming fans differs greatly from Leavell’s other life as a Georgia tree farmer.
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.
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.
The Wake Forest University Campus Sustainability Awards presentation was held on Earth Day– Friday, April 22, 2016–in the Green Room of Reynolda Hall. A combination of students, faculty, and staff who have demonstrated or initiated successful sustainable practices on campus were recognized as Champions of Change.
Two individuals were honored with special awards for their meritorious leadership. Green Team captain for Reynolda House, Dan Rossow, was recognized for his work in producing zero-landfill receptions and developing recycling education for staff and visitors. Sustainability intern Alyshah Aziz, Class of 2016, was honored for her successful work in implementing the Re-Cycle bike sharing program for Wake Forest.
Wake Forest University Provost Rogan Kersh and Executive Vice President Hof Milam recognized the following award recipients in four categories: Teaching, Research and Engagement; Resource Conservation; Service and Social Action; and Bright Ideas.
How valuable are trees to you? Some of the yellow tree tags you’ve seen around campus offer the calculated value of ecosystem services that the trees provide. Others offer the general positive benefits of trees in our landscape. Still others offer sentiments from treasured authors about the inestimable value of our beloved trees.
The WFU Arbor Day Celebration takes place on Tuesday, April 19th from 4:00-6:00pm at the Reynolda Village trailhead. We will roll up our sleeves to plant some more trees and clean up the streams and forests that line our beautiful campus. Everyone who registers will enjoy a cookout following the service; vegetarian options available. This event takes place rain or shine, and is sponsored by Greeks Go Green, Landscaping Services, WFU Residence Life & Housing, Student Engagement, and the Pro Humanitate Institute. To register for this event, click here.
By Lauren Newton
MA in Sustainability Candidate
Last week, the North Carolina Power Dialog allowed students to participate in civil discourse through a different lens: their own. The US has made a climate commitment of 30% cuts in global warming pollution by 2030. Unfortunately, energy-related issues in the United States have been politicized to the point that young stakeholders often feel disempowered and forced to accept the status quo of political stalemate.
The mission of the national Power Dialog was to allow 10,000 students to engage in face-to-face dialog with state officials and energy experts in more than thirty states nationwide. Students and faculty for North Carolina’s dialog hailed from Wake Forest, Appalachian State University, Duke University, Guilford College, and NC A&T University.
The student participants of the Power Dialog were given the opportunity to speak up, for their opinions must be strongly considered when making critical decisions about the planet’s future. Wesley Skidmore, a sophomore at Wake Forest who is majoring in physics and mathematics, reflected on the experience: “The Power Dialog provided me with an excellent opportunity to engage in a complex discussion about North Carolina’s energy regulations, and gave me a chance to voice my qualms and opinions to representatives from the companies and agencies who will play a large part in determining North Carolina’s future plans for energy.”
The event was attended primarily by undergraduates from participating colleges and universities. Graduate students, however, played a critical role. Students in the Applied Sustainability class in Wake Forest’s M.A. Sustainability program collaboratively developed an issue guide prior to the event to help guide moderated breakout discussions. “My experience as a graduate student in Sustainability has allowed me access to a debate I’m usually excluded from…” explained Kelsey Gaude, a graduate student at Wake Forest.
The issue guide was informed by a series of in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in civil society, government, and the energy sector. For example, Gaude interviewed stakeholders from NC A&T University’s Center for Energy Technology and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute: “They believe the topic is critical, so anyone willing to engage is an ally.” The following perspectives emerged on how North Carolina could proceed in meeting the US climate commitment:
1. Stay the current course toward GHG reductions
2. Increase efficiency in our buildings and infrastructure
3. Increase the deployment of renewable energy technologies
4. Increase education and advocacy for greenhouse gas reduction
M.A. candidates acted either as moderators or scribes in each of three breakout sessions to discuss these themes. Scribes were challenged with the task of accurately capturing participant perspectives and stories in just a few words. For M.A. Sustainability candidates, who could have been considered “experts” in the discussion but served as neutral moderators, without adding personal commentary, was equally challenging.
While the dialog succeeded in giving students access to powerful stakeholders like the NC Department of Environmental Quality and the US EPA, it was at times difficult for students to embrace their own power and voice. In one breakout session, for example, the conversation was at times dominated by sparring between the state’s primary utility provider and another expert stakeholder. While the dialog’s intentional foray into civil discourse was applauded by several industry and governmental stakeholders, the instinct for some to engage in a more polemical debate was difficult to resist.
Once breakout sessions concluded, participants from all three groups rejoined for a collective debrief on action items. Increased education and advocacy were identified as emerging priorities for North Carolina, and staying the current course toward GHG reductions is simply not enough. “Different minded people were able to find common ground, which was a fantastic way to see how progress can occur,” concluded Gaude. Students of all ages should continue to develop confidence in their ability to communicate across difference, to view complex issues from multiple perspectives, and ultimately to discover viable solutions–for they have the greatest stake in the future of the planet.
View the North Carolina Power Dialog photos below on Flickr.
Nominations for the Campus Sustainability Awards are now open! Students, faculty and staff who have demonstrated or initiated successful sustainable practices on campus are eligible. Nominate yourself or someone else as a Champion of Change in one of the following categories:
- Resource Conservation
- Academics and Engagement
- Service and Social Action
- Bright Ideas
Nominations will be evaluated based on demonstrated ways the nominee has advanced the WFU campus sustainability goals, measurable impact among constituents and other criteria. Click here to learn more about the award categories, winning criteria and previous winners. To nominate yourself or someone else, complete the online nomination form by 5:00pm on Monday, March 28, 2016. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on April 22, 2016.