Get involved with the Office of Sustainability
Depending on your level of interest, there are many different ways to work directly with the Office of Sustainability. Leaders of sustainability-related student groups gather twice a year to exchange information and coordinate their efforts.
Volunteer Listserv – Be the first to know about volunteer opportunities
Green Graduation Pledge – Graduating seniors commit to sustainability after Wake Forest
Greeks Go Green – Peer-to-peer education within Greek life at Wake Forest
Sustainability Ambassadors – Student sustainability peer educators at Wake Forest
Sustainability Internships – Available internships and application form
Student groups with a sustainability-related focus
Becoming a member of these student groups and organizations is another way to contribute to building a sustainable campus community.
Sustainability Theme House – A chance for students to immerse themselves in sustainable living
EcoTHEO – Student organization at the Wake Forest School of Divinity
Net Impact Club – Student organization at the Wake Forest Schools of Business
Student Environmental Action Coalition – Wake Forest’s student-run environmental group
Outdoor Pursuits – An outdoor adventure program for students
Campus Kitchen – A food recycling and service group
For a conservation event with potentially apocalyptic connotations, Thursday’s “Pledging Responsibility for Oceans and Environmental Change Today” in Brendle Recital Hall was frank, optimistic and self-aware: panelist and scientist Nancy Knowlton even pledged to keep audience members “not utterly depressed,” to noticeable titters.
The panel, an effort to engage the public on the importance of oceans and their nascent fragility as a result of climate change, garnered a sizable crowd, perhaps partially due to the celebrity of the panelists speaking: Sylvia Earle, a National Geographic oceanographer; Knowlton, Sant Chair for Marine Science at Smithsonian’s Natural Museum of Natural History; and Amanda Leland, vice president for Oceans at the Environmental Defense Fund.
Despite the preliminary call for optimism, the scientists made the audience aware of the current dire state of the world’s oceans. Overfishing and pollution have ravaged our oceans to noticeable decline: species are becoming extinct, including New England’s famed Atlantic cod. Forty percent of fisheries are in jeopardy.
The implications, Leland stated, are as environmental as they are economic: Somali pirates originated as fisherman who ran out of fish to extract. In addition, three million of the world’s population depends on the oceans as its only source of protein.
Knowlton and Leland revealed that the solution to ocean deterioration lies largely in policy, and that increased management of fishing policies can improve fish quantities in the ocean and decrease overall waste.
However, in a visit to an undergraduate and graduate lab classroom earlier that day, Earle argued that extracting any organisms from the ocean would be problematic to the structure of the food chain, according to Wake Forest professor Dr. Katie Lotterhos, who attended the earlier session and whose area of research is marine biology.
Hope for ocean renewal is within reach, the scientists said, with policy and attitude change: “Fish are not just clumps of meat waiting for us to extract them,” said Earle.
Instead, proper fishing and ocean regulations have the capacity to revitalize communities, ecosystems, and expose the “ocean’s natural resilience.”
Lotterhos, who invited the three scientists to campus, hoped the event left people “feeling cautiously optimistic.”
“We will have to take responsibility soon if we want to have sustainable ocean ecosystems, but it is not too late yet,” she said.
By Elena Dolman (’15), Staff Writer
The sustainability house, most commonly referred to as the “Sust’y House,” has experienced a revival this year and it is truly better than ever. This eclectic community of environmentally conscious students once called 1141 Polo Road “home,” but sadly had to part ways with the beautiful house due to structural damage in the basement. Last year, the Sust’y Community experienced a bit of a diaspora, spread out between a tiny four-person house, a north campus apartment, and a room in the Ahuva house.
This year, however, Sust’y is officially back, with everyone under one roof. Equipped with two porches and ample room for 10 students, the Sustainability House has found a gracious new home at 1157 Polo Road. Over the years, this theme living community has become an integral part of life at Wake Forest, most prominently known for its delicious spaghetti dinner nights and its always-welcoming environment. Alyshah Aziz, a junior living in the house, says “It’s a place where students from all different pockets of campus come together.” It is one of the few communities at Wake Forest where you can find true diversity of interests and social circles; membership ranges from the Cycling Club, to Gender Equality Allies, computer science, Office of Sustainability interns, and even members of Greek life.
Despite the diversity among the members, there is a palpable feeling of unity within the house. “This house has gone beyond a residential area, it has become a place where we find family,” says Ann Nguyen, a new house member this year. The Sustainability House is a reminder of the importance of exploring life outside the comfortable realms of our small social circles, and of finding common ground and friendship as Demon Deacons. As theme program assistant David Hughes reflects, “For me, Sust’y means making the world a more habitable place, both ecologically and socially. It is a place that strives to be a welcoming sanctuary, and a hub to promote sustainability through engaging the community.”
This year, the Sust’y House is rich with old and new faces, as well as old and new traditions. In addition to the regular homemade spaghetti dinner nights, residents and friends are also enjoying Quesadilla Nights on Thursdays. Both house members and regular visitors are very excited for this academic year and renewed community at the Sustainability House.
By Andrea Becker (’16)
Karleigh Ash graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. Karleigh worked for the Office of Sustainability as the Photography intern in the spring of 2012 as well as this past year.
Her reflection on the internship: My internship with the Office of Sustainability has really shaped my college experience for the better. I was lucky enough to start interning in the spring of my sophomore year and I have been connected in various ways ever since. I have learned things about how to live a sustainable lifestyle that will stick with me for the rest of my life. My fellow interns and our mentors Dedee and Hannah have been such an inspiration to never let the problems we face get too overwhelming. There is always something that we can do, no matter how small.
Glenn Bergesen graduated with a BA in Psychology and a double minor in Environmental Studies and Biology. Glenn joined the sustainability team as the Earth Day Planning Intern in the spring of 2014.
His reflection on his internship: I could not have asked for a more rewarding and challenging experience. It allowed me to learn from and work with some of the best and most wonderful faculty and staff members at Wake. The work was fun, engaging, and the Office of Sustainability knows how to get things done! Thank you for all that you do and I know that my experience here will forever shape how I pursue a future in sustainability.
Patrick Doran graduated with a BS in Business and Enterprise Management. This year he served as the Sustainability in Dining intern for Aramark.
His reflection on his internship: My internship exposed me to a wonderful field that works to leave a legacy and benefit others, namely posterity. I especially value my experience as sustainability is becoming increasingly prevalent in business, with companies becoming attuned to consumer demand for sustainable practice. Above all else, my internship gave me the opportunity to work with a group of people who are endlessly friendly, considerate, and passionate about what they do.
Dominik Haja graduated Cum Laude and earned departmental honors with a BS in Chemistry with a Biochemistry concentration. Claire Nagy-Kato graduated with a BA in Chemistry and a minor in Environmental Studies.
Dominik and Claire both served as Energy interns for the Office of Energy Management.
Students and staff circled around a vibrant Japanese Maple tree at Student Apartments on April 24th to celebrate Arbor Day. Landscaping Services, Residence Life and Housing, and the Office of Sustainability co-hosted the ceremony in conjunction with a Campus Beautification Day celebration that was organized by Greeks Go Green interns.
University Arborist Jim Mussetter, presented the ceremonial tree, a cultivar known as Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’ or “Lion’s Head.” Mussetter described that this specific cultivar was chosen for its slow growth and striking fall foliage of gold and crimson tones. As the first ‘shishigashira’ introduced to campus, the tree will be a seasonal focal point in the housing courtyard for decades to come. University Chaplain Tim Auman led a poetry reading before guests in attendance planted the tree.
Immediately following the ceremony, students divided into groups, led by Greeks Go Green representatives, to pick up litter across campus as part of the Campus Beautification Day celebration. From small tools to cigarette butts, students collected litter of all shapes and sizes in an effort to Keep the Forest Green. Participants were recognized for their contributions: the first-year class turned out in the highest numbers as did brothers from Alpha Sigma Phi. After the clean-up, students were rewarded with at a cookout, including grass-fed burgers made from Grayson Natural beef, which was generously co-sponsored by Residence Life and Housing, Outdoor Programs, and Landscaping Services.
The fourth annual Arbor Day ceremony and the inaugural Campus Beautification Day service event exemplify Wake Forest University’s commitment to our Tree Campus USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation.
Wake Forest’s celebration of Earth Day this year included the announcement of Champions of Change award winners. This was the first year of the program, which recognizes the creativity and innovation of individuals and teams who work to integrate principles of sustainability across campus. Provost Rogan Kersh and Sr. VP/CFO Hof Milam presented the awards.
Winners were recognized in four categories: Resource Conservation, Service and Social Action, Teaching Research and Engagement, and Bright Ideas.
- Residence Life & Housing and Financial Services were jointly named champions of change in Resource Conservation. Residence Life and Housing dramatically reduced solid waste and conserved water through renovation and retrofit programs this past year; Financial Services supported the conversion to electronic business processes campus-wide.
- Campus Kitchen was named as a winner in the Service and Social Action category. Campus Kitchen repurposes prepared, but not served, food from our campus dining facilities into balanced meals for members of the broader Winston-Salem community.
- For Teaching, Research and Engagement, Lynn Book and her faculty colleagues Angela Kocze and Wanda Balzano were recognized for their work in the new course, “Women, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability.” Students collaborated with community partners Margaret Norfleet-Neff and Salem Neff, the mother-daughter team who founded the Old Salem Cobblestone Farmers Market.
- Abby McNeal was recognized for her Bright Idea in turf management and the installation of the UgMo Wireless Soil Sensor System at Spry Soccer Field. UgMo is an underground monitoring system that measures soil moisture at the root level and determines when and how much to water on a zone-to-zone basis.
Thirty nominations were received for the four awards. A committee evaluated the nominations based on:
- The ways in which the nominees have helped advance one or more of the Wake Forest University campus sustainability strategic goals
- The level of participation by colleagues within the department or unit
- The measurable impact among constituents across campus or in the community served
Additionally, Green Team captains Peter Romanov, Darlene Starnes and Carol Lavis were named champions of change for their departmental leadership. 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.
Those big green dumpsters in front of the residence halls should be the containers of last choice at move-out. A number of programs are available to make it easy for students to donate or recycle unwanted possessions to prevent these items from ending up in the landfill. Read on for a summary of the move-out programs planned for this year.
What? Reusable house wares, clothing, small appliances, school supplies, canned/dried food and furniture
When? May 2 – May 9
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. Deacs Donate donations are collected by the Resident Student Association, in collaboration with Goodwill.
In 2012, Residence Life and Housing’s Deacs Donate program helped students put 5,225 pounds of clothing and dorm room essentials into the hands of those in need in the Winston-Salem community.
Residents of the Polo Rd. and Rosedale Circle RL&H Theme Houses should contact their resident advisers for information about the location of the donation bins in their areas.
Questions? Contact Ashley Jones ( ) or Cherise James ( ), RSA advisors
Recycling Tote Collection
What? Small green recycling totes with white handles
When? May 2 – May 9
How? If you received a green personal recycling tote on move-in dayand do not wish to keep it over summer, place it next to the GREEN recycling bin signs outside residence halls. Unwanted totes will be cleaned and redistributed in the fall.
Questions? Contact the Office of Sustainability ( )
Better World Books
When? April 30 – May 19
How? All books can be deposited in collection boxes located conveniently near the registers in the school textbook department.
Students always seem to end up with textbooks that the bookstore just cannot buy back at the end of the semester. Better World Books collects and resells these volumes to fund literacy initiatives at home and abroad. Those books that cannot be resold are donated directly to partner programs around the world.
Questions? Contact the Office of Sustainability ( )
Recycle Your Notes
What? Class notes and all recyclable paper
When? May 2 – May 9
How? Recycle loose-leaf notes, class handouts, fliers and other paper and small pieces of cardboard by depositing them in the blue paper recycling bags given to all residents. Full bags can be placed next to the BLUE paper recycling signs outside residence halls.
Questions? Contact Megan Anderson ( )
What? Reusable to-go containers
When? April 22 – May 9
How? Return any green reusable to-go containers to the Fresh Food Company to receive your initial $5 deposit back. For the week of finals, bio-compostable disposable to-go containers will be used in all dining establishments.
Before the fair officially began, we celebrated a unique group of change agents. At the inaugural Champions of Change award ceremony, Provost Rogan Kersh and Sr. VP/CFO Hof Milam presented campus sustainability leadership awards in four categories: resource conservation; service and social action; teaching, research, and engagement; and bright ideas.
Wake Forest’s own Hobbs Sisters led the crowd that gathered for the awards program down to Manchester Plaza, where fair attendees were lined up to receive their participation passports and ready to begin the fun.
Over 400 students, faculty, staff, and friends attended the celebration. In addition to food and entertainment, fairgoers learned about the ways that caring for one’s self, caring for one’s community and, ultimately, caring for life on the planet are related and interdependent. We would like to thank all of the entertainers, exhibitors, and vendors who provided the inspiration to love the world we’re with.
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.
Are 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.
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.
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.
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