Earth Day Celebrations
Films and Lectures
Wake Forest regularly hosts nationally and internationally recognized speakers and award-winning films on themes relevant to sustainability. Check our calendar for upcoming events.
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Celebrate Arbor Day and Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees, at the Reynolda Village trailhead on March 24 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The event kicks off with a tree planting ceremony. Following the ceremony, volunteers will pull up their boots and roll down their sleeves to beautify the woods and creek head surrounding the Reynolda Village trail. Afterwards, all participants will enjoy a cookout featuring grass-fed beef burgers (vegetarian options also included). Register to participate and receive an Earth Week t-shirt and a chance to win prizes for group participation. Other Earth Week events can be found here.
Sunday, March 19 | 300 Link Loot Points
Celebration of Spring: Vernal Equinox
2:00 – 4:00 pm | Campus Garden
Kick off Earth Week by celebrating the Spring Equinox at the Campus Garden. Share and enjoy short stories, poems, essays, and songs about our relationship to spring, growth, beginnings, resistance, and healing. In addition to sharing stories, music, and food, you are invited to express your creativity by painting a banner to showcase your love and appreciation for trees. Student organizations are encouraged to register as groups to paint their banners. All materials will be provided by the Office of Sustainability. Banners will be displayed on the Upper Quad throughout the week-long celebration.
Monday, March 20 | 200 Link Loot Points
12:00 – 3:00 pm | Green space in front of ZSR
We’ve teamed up with Outdoor Pursuits, Ken’s Bike Shop, and the Cycling Club to host a free bicycle tune-up station on campus. Stop by the green lawn in front of the ZSR Library where bike mechanics from Ken’s Bike Shop will pump up your tires, make minor fixes and adjustments, and offer advice on larger repairs that cannot be done on the spot.
Tuesday, March 21 | 400 Link Loot Points
Just Eat It: Waste-Not Cooking Class
4:00 – 6:00 pm | Campus Kitchen Lounge
Don’t toss it — eat it! Ever wonder whether or not you should eat something after the “best by” date? Learn more about reducing your food waste, while also making a delicious, nutritious meal. Campus Kitchen, Thrive, and the Office of Sustainability are joining forces for a unique cooking class by cooking with food that might normally go to waste. This class is open to all students, staff, and faculty. Register on the PDC website, space is limited.
Wednesday, March 22 | 300 Link Loot Points
Campus Sustainability Awards
4:00 pm | Reynolda Hall Green Room
Join us in recognizing the work of those who have enhanced the culture of sustainability within the campus community at the fourth annual Champions of Change: Campus Sustainability Awards ceremony on March 22. Staff, faculty, and students will be awarded for their work in the following categories: resource conservation, academics and engagement, service and social action, leadership, and bright ideas. We look forward to celebrating the work of sustainable change agents across campus. RSVP here.
Thursday, March 23
Leadership Project Rally with Donna Edwards
1:30 pm | Johnson and Bostwick lawn
Former Maryland congresswoman and Wake Forest graduate Donna Edwards has spent the last few months on an RV road trip to state and national parks. Her ultimate goal is to raise awareness of parks in communities of color. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to engage with Congresswoman Edwards and learn more about her political life, community activism, and travels on March 23 during a rally on the Mag Quad. Later that day, Edwards will be speaking as part of the Leadership Project at 6:00 p.m.in Farrell Hall’s Broyhill Auditorium. More information can be found here.
Friday, March 24 | 500 Link Loot Points
Campus Beautification Day
3:30 – 5:30 pm | Reynolda Village Trailhead
Celebrate Arbor Day and Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees, at the Reynolda Village trailhead. The event kicks off with a tree planting ceremony. Following the ceremony, volunteers will pull up their boots and roll down their sleeves to beautify the woods and creek head surrounding the Reynolda Village trail. Afterwards, all participants will enjoy a cookout featuring grass-fed beef burgers (vegetarian options also included). Register to participate and receive an Earth Week t-shirt and a chance to win prizes for group participation.
Monday, March 20 – Friday, March 24
Get Caught Green-Handed
Throughout the week, individuals who are “caught green-handed” making everyday environmentally conscious decisions will receive a sticker or temporary tattoo. Decisions might include riding bikes, using reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, and shopping bags, taking the campus shuttles, eating at Deacon Dining’s new vegan station, or pledging to reduce energy and water use on campus.
Saturday, March 25
Forsyth Creek Week
Saturday, March 25 marks the start of a nine-day celebration of our local waterways. Join in on the fun with Creek Crawls, trail rides, Creek Week trivia, a photography contest and more. Further information about Creek Week, and ways to get involved, can be found here.
For questions about the events or other opportunities to engage, contact Ally Hellenga. Follow the Office of Sustainability on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@SustainableWFU) to stay up to date on all events.
We are seeking nominations for students, faculty, and staff who advance sustainability through:
- Resource Conservation (energy, water, or waste reduction)
- Nominations may include projects and efforts that have resulted in energy conservation, water conservation, waste reduction, or a combination of these areas.
- Academics and Engagement (teaching, research, engaged learning)
- Nominations may include classes with sustainability-focused learning outcomes, research in sustainability-focused areas, and/or opportunities to learn about sustainability through practical application.
- Service and Social Action
- Nominations may include service projects or campaigns that result in social and/or environmental justice outcomes for individuals and the communities served.
- Bright Ideas (innovative ideas that have been or could be implemented)
- Nominations may include sustainability-focused projects, efforts, or ideas that are unique and innovative on the Wake Forest campus.
- Nominations will include individuals who have empowered others to lead the sustainability transformation.
Nominations will be evaluated based on:
- The way(s) in which the nominee(s) has/have helped advance one or more of the WFU campus sustainability goals,
- The level of participation by colleagues within the department or unit,
- Measurable impact among constituents across campus or in the community served (students, faculty, staff, and/or community members) and
- Any additional information or data available to support the nomination.
Self-nominations are accepted. We look forward to hearing about the work of all the inspiring change agents across campus.
Leavell and his wife, Rose Lane, own and operate a tree forest called Charlane Plantation in Bullard, Georgia. In his 2004 memoir, “Between Rock and a Home Place,” Leavell reflects on the wildly different lives he leads. His ‘day job’ at Charlane Plantation consists of waking up at 5 a.m., riding around on a tractor, pruning trees and being honored—twice—as a Georgia Tree Farmer of the Year and as a National Outstanding Tree Farmer.
During his visit to Winston-Salem and Wake Forest University, Leavell was able to merge his two worlds as a rock’n’roll keyboardist and a Georgia tree farmer together for a two-day event full of solo performances, a conservation panel discussion, and a tree planting.
On Nov. 10, shovels hit the ground as Leavell helped plant a white oak tree outside Farrell Hall near Poteat Field on the Wake Forest University campus. Leavell was joined by Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, chief sustainability officer, Hof Milam, executive vice president of Wake Forest, Andy Tennille, a freelance music journalist, photographer and curator of the “More Barn” concert series, as well as other members of the Wake Forest sustainability community.
Later that evening, Leavell joined Wake Forest’s Dr. Miles Silman, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation Professor of Conservation Biology and Director of the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, for a presentation and panel discussion on conservation and environmental stewardship.
Both speakers challenged the audience to take action and be good environmental stewards. Leavell emphasized that “being a good steward is hard work, but it’s important and it’s worth it.”
“His level of dedication to understanding sustainability—to using the land without using it up—is amazing,” said Silman in regards to Chuck’s conservation work.
The celebration of environmental stewardship and land conservation continued on Nov. 11 with a sold-out, solo concert at the Barn in Reynolda Village.
One thing is certain—Chuck holds his recognitions from the National Arbor Day Foundation, the Georgia Conservancy, and the Urban Forest Council equally high—or higher—than his numerous gold and platinum records.
“Rolling Stones keyboardist, multi-book author, owner of a profitable, sustainable farm—Chuck does it all,” Silman said.
This event was sponsored by the Office of Sustainability and the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES), in conjunction with the “More Barn” series at the Barn at Reynolda Village.
Click here to view photos from the event on Flickr.
Click here to read a piece about the tree planting by the Winston-Salem Journal.
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.