Sustainability in the Workplace
Looking for a way to incorporate sustainability into your workplace? Get your department or office involved by joining the Green Team Network. The Green Team Network is a campus-wide initiative that empowers faculty and staff to integrate sustainability through education, support, and collaboration.
Faculty members seeking academic resources can visit the Academics page for information about the Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability and the annual Sustainability across the Curriculum workshop.
Looking for immediate solutions? Check out these how-to guides:
- How to recycle on campus
- How to print sustainably
- How to make a sustainable purchase
- How to use technology more sustainably
- How to plan sustainable events
- How to register a carpool
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.
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.
* Itinerary times are subject to change.
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.
When asked what makes the Environmental Program at Wake Forest great, Stottlemyer says the strength of the program stems from the high level of engagement Wake Forest professors have with their students. As director, maintaining this high level of interactivity between professors and students is essential. Additionally, Stottlemyer aims to continue previous efforts to offer a broad range of interdisciplinary classes centered on the environment, create internship and scholarship opportunities, and incorporate experiential learning opportunities into the curriculum.
“We want to give them [students] opportunities to have a world-class environmental education, and we want to see them succeed,” Stottlemyer said.
Stottlemyer assumed the role of directorship on July 1, 2016.
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.
On the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, change agents for sustainability across the Wake Forest campus gathered for the Champions of Change campus sustainability awards. The awards program recognizes the creativity and innovation of individuals and teams who work to integrate principles of sustainability into operations, teaching, and engagement. Dean of the School of Divinity, Gail O’Day, and Chief of Staff for the Office of the President, Mary Pugel, presented the awards.
Winners were recognized in four categories: Resource Conservation, Service and Social Action, Teaching Research and Engagement, and Bright Ideas.
- The Office of the Registrar and the Surplus Property Program won in the Resource Conservation category. This year, the Office of the University Registrar completed four projects that saved over 13,000 pieces of paper, as well as printing and mailing costs for the university. Since its start in 2011, the Surplus Property Program has diverted nearly 250,000 lbs. of waste from the landfill, repurposed over 3,000 pieces of furniture and other items for use on campus, captured close to 30,000 lbs of residential electronic waste through a free pickup program, and helped the university avoid over $1 million dollars of new purchase costs.
- Department of Religion faculty member Steve Boyd was named as a winner in the Service and Social Action category. Steve was recognized for his leadership of the Religion and Public Engagement Program and his statewide organizing of Scholars for North Carolina’s Future. Since its approval in 2011, 17 students have graduated with the Religion and Public Engagement concentration, and a record 12 more are set to graduate this year.
- Ron Von Burg was recognized for Teaching, Research and Engagement. Ron teaches the popular interdisciplinary undergraduate course Humanity & Nature; taught the communications workshop and led a graduate research course on Coasts and Climate Change in Belize this year for the new MA in Sustainability; and directs undergraduate students in writing and performing plays for school-aged children and “moot court”-style debates on sustainability issues annually. He is also an alumnus of Wake Forest’s own sustainability-across-the curriculum workshop, the Magnolias Project, and is co-facilitating that workshop for the second time this year.
- JL Bolt and the construction team of Facilities and Campus Services and Frank Shelton with Residence Life and Housing were recognized for a Bright Idea partnership. The construction team upcycled discarded bed frames from residence halls into white boards, bulletin board frames, safety bed rails, storage racks, benches, tables, mirror replacements, and mail boxes.
Additionally, Green Team captains Barbara Macri and Kate Ruley were named champions of change for their departmental leadership. As the Green Team captain for Human Resources, Barbara facilitated a department-wide sustainability goal-setting pilot, working collaboratively to develop a range of goals to meet the varying needs of her colleagues.
Kate coordinates the tracking of our institutional food purchases, identifying and calculating what we spend on regionally-grown, organic, and fair-trade-certified items. She mentors the team’s sustainability intern, and advocates for sustainable choices in menu development and procurement.
65% of our departments and units across campus are now led by Green Team captains – they support their colleagues with the resources and encouragement to integrate sustainability into everyday workplace decisions.
Have you facilitated a change to a sustainable practice on campus? Are you teaching a sustainability-focused course or leading a research effort with sustainability-centered outcomes? We want to hear about it!
On April 22, 2015 Wake Forest will host our second annual Champions of Change award ceremony.
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).
Dance is an increasingly popular art form for the investigation of cultural understandings of nature. Associate Professor of Dance, Christina Soriano, engaged her students in just such an investigation this semester. Soriano, who was a member of the 2014 Magnolias Curriculum Project cohort, modified her Dance Composition class to incorporate sustainability.
Soriano challenged her students to choreograph a piece based on nature, specifically something growing in Reynolda Gardens. She asked them to observe various plants, and then choose one to explore, taking into account its color, structure, growth and movement; how it might change with the seasons, and how it might react to light. With this information, the students developed their own movement studies, aligning their dances with nature.
After the assignment, the class performed Anna Halprin’s Planetary Dance to witness how other choreographers integrate nature themes into their work.
The students were also asked to consider how an art form like dance might become more sustainable through rehearsal, repetition, and thoughtful use of time and resources. She encouraged them to consider what made dance sustainable, and to journal their thoughts and experiences.
Annie Stockstill, a student in Soriano’s class, reflected that by continuing to dance well-known pieces, “I am preserving the ongoing life of the dances, and therefore acting out sustainability.” Serena Cates expressed similar feelings, stating “Personally, I choose to perceive dance as sustainable because, although the technique, style, or choreography alters over time, the motivation and impact of it has remained.”
I was introduced to the work of Vandana Shiva only a year ago. It was a hot, spring day in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Pro Humanitate Institute’s Shelley Sizemore and I were unwinding with other Wake Alternative Break participants after a day on an urban farm. Needless to say, food justice and food security were already on the brain, making the introduction of Shiva’s work impeccably timed. The introduction, and resulting insatiable intrigue, were facilitated by none other than Shelley herself. She was reading Shiva’s “Staying Alive” at the time, and shared several quotes from the book’s opening pages. Each quote was poignant, unapologetic, and pointed to the various ways in which some human practices have corroded balance, both ecological and otherwise. For me, the handful of quotes demonstrated Shiva’s deep understanding of nuanced need, and prompted my interest in her work. Additionally, and importantly, I desired to better understand my own role in contributing to the sustainable, conscious agricultural and ecological practices our world so desperately needs.
When I learned that Shiva was visiting Wake Forest, I was overjoyed. The opportunity to attend her keynote, and engage further with her writing through book clubs hosted on Wake’s campus, was immensely appealing. In truth, neither engagement disappointed. At the “Staying Alive” book club, I was surrounded by members of the Wake Forest community and of the broader, all-encompassing Winston-Salem community. My book club co-host was a former member of Forsyth Local Food, a local consortium that works to further program development and food policy within the existing Forsyth community food system. Another group participant was a student like myself, whose work developing local food related entrepreneurial ventures opened his eyes to matters of accessibility and convenience in the world of local food. Yet another participant was the owner of a local composting center, and thus provided interesting insights with regard to waste, costs, and sustainability. Surrounded by a myriad of rich perspectives, my understanding of Shiva’s text, and of the needs of our community, deepened. Each book club participant hailed from a different place and had experienced different things where food and agriculture were concerned. Despite these differences, we all agreed on the importance of looking to the future, and prioritizing the various facets of food justice and food security.
Like the book club, Shiva’s keynote was enriching. Her fiery support of local, diverse, sustainable agriculture, and equally fiery denouncement of genetically modified foods and destructive industrial practices, probed me. As an audience member, I was forced to, again, reexamine my own practices in honest ways, and think holistically about the impacts I create, both long and short term. I found myself agreeing with Shiva’s words in some areas, and pushing back in others. I thought about the ways in which her proposed policies would impact those whose hunger needs were satiated by industrially produced aid, and what support these communities might require during transitions from larger scale production to smaller scale, sustainable practices. My ruminations were many, but importantly, my gratitude and appreciation for Vandana Shiva were reinforced. Her work is renowned for its emphasis on sustainability, consciousness, and demonstrated appreciation of local knowledge—a practice all but forgotten in many corners of the world. As a student, I am encouraged and inspired to do my part, daily. As a community, we should all be inspired.
Contributed by Elizabeth Busby (’15)
My family and I live on a 22-acre farm in Stokes County. We are serious gardeners. I can’t remember the last time I bought a tomato at the store and I have saved my own okra and basil seeds each year for over a decade. Now late October, we have over 60 garlic heads up in the garden and have put the cold frame in place. We also raise Shetland sheep, a very hardy heritage wool breed. For a few years we raised heritage turkeys (Bourbon Reds) and maintain a flock of about 30 free-range laying hens and sell their eggs to wonderful people on campus. Sometimes I go to meetings and people say, “Oh, you are the egg lady.” All of this effort supplies fabulous, fresh and taste-laden ingredients to cook with. At my house, we eat very well.
But all of these farming endeavors do not pay the mortgage. My husband and I are both faculty in the Department of Chemistry, and Bruce currently serves as Associate Provost of Research. In the Chemistry Department, teaching slots are a common topic of discussion. We never have enough faculty members to meet demand for all the courses required for our majors and pre-med students. We run out of faculty teaching slots every semester and work hard to fill the needs of our students. Because of this, we are truly limited in the number of First Year Seminars (FYS) we can offer each year. Faculty who have developed FYS offerings offer them on a rotating basis.
I have taught the FYS True Value Meals several times in the past. According to the syllabus, True Value Meals “has been designed to develop the analytical and critical thinking skills of students, and their ability to express in writing and aloud their opinions and ideas, in a setting that focuses on the production, processing distribution and eating of food.” It is an ideal topic for the FYS, and a topic that I am passionate about. Luckily, my turn in the rotation came during the fall 2014 semester.
By coincidence, the semester I was offering a food-centered FYS class, the Office of Sustainability organized Make Every Bite Count, a speaker series about the food we grow and eat that challenges us to imagine how we can sustainably feed the world. Students are required to attend the events and we sit together as a group. In the following class meeting, the discussion is centered on frank analysis of each event and how it compares with other course material. In twenty years of teaching at Wake, I have never seen students as fired up as they were the day after viewing the documentary GMO OMG. I have no doubt that the talk by Vandana Shiva on the challenges of feeding a growing world population will be just as powerful, if not more so.
Since I taught True Value Meals last, the sustainability movement on campus has blossomed. I was able to participate in the Magnolias Project, which strives to integrate sustainability across the curriculum. The campus garden has grown both in size and organization. Campus Kitchen now has dedicated space on campus and has expanded its programming. All of these have combined for wonderful service-learning opportunities for my students. Each student is required to complete 18 hours of food-related service with community partners to enhance their readings for the course and aid class discussion. What have they been doing? The mid-term logs of service hours showed that they have been gleaning food from the Cobblestone Farmers Market for redistribution to food-insecure families; repackaging food from the on-campus dining hall for delivery to persons in need; making sandwiches for homeless individuals on Saturday mornings; turning plots, compost and planting fall crops. All of this effort has helped the partner agencies AND the students’ learning. Our class discussions are livelier because they are all experiencing different aspects of food culture in their work outside of class. And the students actually enjoy their service learning hours. It’s a nice break from reading and writing and gives them time to reflect on course material and try to integrate all the different pieces. Some students have found a “niche” at the university through their service learning partners. I am astounded by the number of students who want to become shift leaders for Campus Kitchen or interns with the campus garden. It’s helped me realize how important extra-curricular activities are to students’ overall wellness.
I can say with confidence that this semester students are the most engaged in my FYS material, thinking more deeply and broadly. I encourage all faculty to find a topic they are passionate about and use the plentiful teaching resources here at Wake to develop a class that will impact students. From teaching workshops on community engagement and sustainability to on-campus service learning opportunities, our university has a bounty of support for engaged learning.
By Dr. Angela King, Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Chemistry