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
EcoReps - 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
Final results are in for Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN), a competition to reduce energy and water consumption in residence halls in the US and Canada. Between February 4th and April 26th participating colleges and universities selected a three-week period for students to take direct action towards increasing sustainability on their campuses. Wake Forest’s own competition began on March 19th and wrapped up April 7th. Out of 120 participating schools, Wake Forest ranked in the top five for water reduction. Though the resource and cost savings achieved through the competition were victories unto themselves, the university’s top 5 ranking makes CCN 2013 an unequivocal success for the Demon Deacons.
The Office of Energy Management and Residence Life and Housing co-sponsored Wake Forest’s CCN effort. Claire Nagy-Cato (’14), an intern for the Office of Energy Management, headed up the organization of the competition. EcoReps, peer-educators for sustainability, and hall captains, representatives for the competition from each residence hall, performed educational outreach for CCN. The student body received energy and water saving tips through personalized room assessments, competition kiosks, and bulletin boards. Students could track energy and water consumption in their residence halls in real time using the Building Dashboard.
Nationally, CCN 2013 saved 2,114, 844 killowatt-hours of electricity and 1,681,241 million gallons of water. Wake Forest contributed 74,789 killowatt-hours and 139,196 gallons of water to that total. By reducing their consumption, Wake Forest students also kept 91,093 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and saved $5,443 dollars.
In addition to competing against other schools, residence halls on the Reynolda Campus also competed against each other to reduce. Palmer and Piccolo earned the top ranking for both water and energy reduction. The two residence halls, which are on a single meter system, together achieved a 23.4% energy reduction and an astounding 35.1% water reduction. Kitchen and Martin came in second and third place for energy reduction and Martin and Collins took second and third place for water reduction. Residents in Palmer and Piccolo celebrated their sweet victories with a Brynn’s frozen yogurt party. View a complete list of competition standings here.
Lauren Miller, director of engagement at Lucid (the company behind the Building Dashboard) found the results of this year’s multi-school competition impressive. Commenting on the collective reduction efforts of over 300,000 students, she says “These students are demonstrating that creating a culture of conservation and inspiring individuals to change their behaviors can significantly reduce their campus’ carbon footprint.”
While success in the competition is gratifying, the true purpose of CCN is to ingrain lasting, environmentally-preferable consumption habits among participating students. As the global community continues to seek ways to conserve limited natural resources, the results of CCN demonstrate that personal commitments to responsible consumption will play an integral role in creating a sustainable future. Wake Forest’s top five ranking in water-use reduction demonstrates that Demon Deacons are not only up to the task of sustainable living, but are ready to take the lead.
By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustainability
Did you get a chance to see those artsy trees on the Mag Quad for Earth Day? If you did, you witnessed Wake a Forest, a play on the United Nations’ Make a Forest campaign. In 2011, the UN proclaimed that year to be dedicated to the forest. Their aim was to highlight the forestry industry while shedding light on the adverse effects of deforestation at the same time. To do this, cultural institutions were prompted to create their own trees across the globe while portraying what a forest meant to them. A sample of these trees can be found at makeaforest.org.
These trees ranged from typographical trees crafted out of shoe laces to walls covered in suggested tree forms. The types of trees were wide-ranging. A team of Wake Forest students headed by De’Noia Woods and Kelsey Zalimeni decided to create their own Wake a Forest to contribute to the project. Individuals or groups who participated had one constraint – they had to use found and reclaimed materials. After much thought, students took the idea and ran with it by creating trees out of materials from plaster to old street signs. The types of trees varied as a reflection of the interest of the group or the personality of the individual student. The forest emulated the array of students that attend Wake Forest University in a very creative and unique way. Check out the WAF trees at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sustainablewfu/.
Contributed by De’Noia Woods ‘13, Office of Sustainability Photography Intern
Many members of the class of 2013 will leave Reynolda campus behind this spring, but all Demon Deacons carry Wake Forest values with them wherever they go. These values include our campus-wide commitment to sustainability. For a third year, the Office of Sustainability is asking graduating seniors to solidify their commitment to environmental stewardship and social justice by signing the Green Graduation Pledge.
In asking seniors to make this voluntary commitment, Wake Forest joins over 100 other colleges and universities in a nationwide campaign, led by the Green Graduation Pledge Alliance, to build a global community of responsible graduates. Laura Coats (’13), a former EcoRep, sees the pledge as an opportunity to to reflect on how she will apply the values she developed over the past four years in the next phase of her life. Coats, who will begin her career in an Americorps position at Keep Knoxville Beautiful, says “It’s important to be conscious of the impact we have on our communities. I’m excited to continue to build on the environmental and social consciousnesses I cultivated at Wake Forest as I enter the workforce.”
Seniors will have the opportunity to sign the pledge when they pick up their tickets for graduation from the University Bookstore on Friday May 18th and Saturday May 19th from 9-4pm. The first 250 signatories will receive a coffee mug printed with the Green Graduation pledge, which reads: 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.
Though we say goodbye for now, we know the class of 2013 will always fly the colors black and gold and live the color green.
The following internships are available for fall 2013. In order to apply, please fill out this form. Applications are due by Tuesday, April16th at 5pm. Unless otherwise noted, these internships are with the Office of Sustainability.
Alternative Transportation Intern
The intern will conduct a comprehensive behavioral study, exploring the actual and perceived barriers and benefits to different forms of alternative transportation on campus. Based his/her research, the intern will then craft an informed social marketing strategy for one or more modes of alternative transportation. Previous research experience preferred; Qualtrics competence a plus.
Campus Garden Communications and Engagement Intern
The intern will collaborate with faculty, staff, and student volunteers to manage the campus garden at 1141 Polo Road. The Communications and Engagement intern position is part of a Campus Garden team internship. 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.
The intern will work with the permanent staff for the Office of Sustainability to develop content for the campus sustainability website including, but not limited to, news stories, calendar contributions, and social media outlets. 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.
Game-day Recycling Intern
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 about 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 Intern
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.
Propose a Unique Internship
Have a great idea for an internship, but don’t see it on our list? Feel free to submit a unique internship proposal. We are always looking for new, innovative ways to promote sustainability on campus.
Office of Energy Management- Energy Intern
The intern will assist the campus Energy Manager with communications, energy competitions, monitoring energy usage on the campus through computer programs and by physically walking around the campus, occasionally during late hours. Other responsibilities include gathering, compiling, and analyzing data from various WFU departments, coordinating with the Office of Sustainability and attending meetings as necessary.
The intern must have basic computer skills, basic Excel (spreadsheet) knowledge and a passion for reducing energy usage; advanced Excel knowledge is a plus. The position will report directly to the campus Energy Manager in Facilities and Campus Services.
ARAMARK – Sustainability in Dining Intern
The sustainability intern will have the following responsibilities:
Wellness Marketing Assistance: Assist marketing coordinator and nutrition director in implementing wellness-related projects and programs.
Local Tracking Responsibilities: Enters invoice totals each week into excel spreadsheet for local, regional, organic, biodegradable, and fair trade ARAMARK purchases; Calculates monthly purchasing and unit totals, updating year-to-date totals.
Campus Relations: Collaborate with the Office of Sustainability to highlight sustainability in dining.
Get ready, get set, reduce! This spring, students can join their peers around the nation in cutting down their electricity and water consumption during the Campus Conservation Nationals. With about 200 participating campuses, students compete against one another on each campus, and between campuses nationally.
Starting on March 18, at the kick-off event, students can sign up to participate. During the first week of the three-week competition, students can sign up for efficiency assessments of their rooms. A volunteer EcoRep will come to each student’s room during the second week to survey their daily conservation habits and to teach them how to become even more efficient. Students who sign up for an assessment at the kick-off event will get a free t-shirt.
In a battle of the residence halls, students at Wake Forest University will compete to reduce rates of consumption. The winners will be treated to a frozen yogurt party catered by Brynn’s and will have the satisfaction of doing their part to cut down energy consumption. To stay updated on each building’s progress, individuals can visit buildingdashboard.net/wakeforest. The site allows students to learn more about different conservation habits and to commit to new, more efficient changes. Throughout the competition, residents will also learn more about the sources of our campus electricity and the effects our choices have on climate change.
The Campus Conservation Nationals brings to light the importance of conservation, and incentivizes the development of good habits. The national competition started three years ago. Ravish Paul, the Energy Manager in the Office of Energy Management in Facilities and Campus Services, facilitates Wake Forest’s participation in the competition in partnership with Residence Life and Housing. Junior Claire Nagy-Kato, an intern for the office of Energy Management, will lead this year’s efforts.
Claire encourages everyone to attend the kick-off event, where everyone can look forward to engaging in fun activities and enjoying free food. Participants will be able to trade in their incandescent light bulbs for energy efficient replacements and learn more about conservation opportunities. She looks forward to seeing the effects of the competition on our campus because she sees it as a “good way to get students interested in something that is an important and pertinent issue.”
If you are interested in taking the next step in reducing consumption, contact Claire Nagy-Kato at and sign up to be a hall captain for Campus Conservation Nationals. The competition will end on April 7, 2013.
By Kiana Courtney, Office of Sustainability Communications and Outreach Intern
Five and a half hours later we arrived at a DC Metro station and boarded a train bound for the National Mall where our meager dozen joined the nearly 40,000 people gathered in the shadow of the Washington Monument. It wasn’t until we were on the train that I began to get a sense of what we were about to experience. Each stop added more to our number. At our final stop, amidst a train-car full of folks undoubtedly headed to the rally, I heard a woman explain to her six year old, “This is where all the tree-huggers get off.” For this comment, I felt both sharp resentment and heartfelt pride.
It wasn’t long after our small stream of supporters meandered out of the station towards Constitution Avenue that we were swept up in a river of ralliers headed to the National Mall. It was more than I could have imagined – costumes, huge signs, hand-held wind turbines, and clever chants. The crowds began to fill the space between the Washington Monument and Constitution Ave.
The march was preceded by a number of speakers. These speakers shared not volumes of data, charts, mathematical models for current and projected carbon emissions, but stories. Caleb Pusey, another divinity student present remarked, “For the first time, I recognized that the environmental movement in our country has finally stopped beating people over the head with scientific evidence and learned to tell stories of suffering and hope.”
For too long we have believed that if people would only hear the numbers, if they understood the science, then they would not only be convinced, but they would change their lives and the world. I think the environmental movement is beginning to see that this is not necessarily the case. Sometimes we need to be reminded that people are suffering. Climate change it is not simply a concept to be explored, but a reality that has actual consequences in our everyday lives and some people are dying for it. But, we also need to hear and learn to tell stories of hope, courage, bravery, and redemption.
The march began slowly as we crept down Constitution Ave. But, with each step the energy grew. Chanting and singing energized the crowd. I was particularly intent on reading every sign I could get my eyes on. They were funny, witty, grave, and thoughtful. The signs portrayed a wide spectrum of issues from fracking, to mountaintop removal, solar and wind energy advocacy, the Keystone pipeline, human rights, and many more. Holding these signs were amazingly diverse people – black, red, rich, young, yellow, dreadlocked, gay, white, brown, old, handicapped, bearded, straight, and poor. It was a powerful reminder that this is an issue that affects everyone, though some are more harshly affected. The health of our air, water, and soil is something that no one can outrun.
I was also reminded that everyone has a part to play. This was obvious not only in the 40,000 people marching around the White House, but also in our little group from Wake Forest University. Some were content with simply being present. Some couldn’t imagine passing up the opportunity to dance in the mobile drum circle while others took a wide birth around it. For some it was not enough to participate in the chants − they were moved to lead them. We each found our different niche. Reflecting on these distinct means of involvement leads us to larger questions of ideology, reform or revolt, cooperation or insurrection, grassroots or top-down.
And so it is for the entirety of the environmental movement. Everyone has his or her favorite issue and we bring a unique set of skills, desires, and experiences with us. While this movement has leaders and voices that draw a larger audience than others, no one owns this movement, no one at Sierra Club, 350.org, or Wake Forest. Movements that create lasting change employ a wide range of tactics, strategies, and approaches. They articulate scientific, economic, sociological, and political points of view. They have conversations with co-workers at lunch, email members of congress, and march in the streets. They embody a diversity of ideas, opinions, and people.
On the train ride back to the van, I couldn’t help but think of the woman who identified the tree-huggers for her six year old. Neither she nor I realized that there were way more people on our train headed to the rally than we would have ever guessed. So, whether you are a quiet marcher avoiding the drum circles or a costume-wearing-sign-hoisting-chant-leading-enthusiast, there is a place for you in this movement. Bring your skills, bring your passion, bring your story, bring your voice, and save the Earth.
By Jamie Sims, Wake Forest Divinity School, Class of 2013
Peer education, long a well-loved tool in the field of public health, has inspired curiosity from sustainability advocates in recent years. As research in psychology and marketing continues to affirm that environmental awareness alone does not result in environmentally preferable behavior changes, those seeking to foster sustainable behaviors hope to tap into the power of peer influence to affect necessary change.
On campuses across the United States, groups of peer educators, many of whom operate under the title EcoReps, are pioneering peer education programs in collegiate settings. Wake Forest University’s own re-imagined EcoReps program, launched in the fall of 2012, is off to a promising start.
Last fall the EcoReps kicked off the semester by giving a presentation at the Monday Talks series hosted by the Health and Exercise Science Department. Their presentation, titled “A Day in the Life of a Sustainable Student” highlighted the surprising impacts and perks of adopting simple behaviors, like using a reusable water bottle or shopping at thrift stores.
The EcoReps also played an integral role in Energy Bowl 2012, where they performed personalized room assessments and staffed kiosks promoting the competition. In addition, the EcoReps performed educational outreach at events hosted by the Office of Sustainability, Outdoor Pursuits, Residence Life and Housing, and Campus Dining.
Through their participation in the program, EcoReps earn points towards a Peer Educator for Sustainability certification. The Office of Sustainability designed this 100-point certification to ensure that EcoReps develop both sustainability literacy and outreach skills, which are crucial for their success as peer-to-peer educators and future sustainability professionals. Lauren Formica, a first year student, became the first EcoRep to complete the Peer Educator for Sustainability certification at the end of last semester.
This spring the EcoReps gave an expanded version of their Day in the Life presentation as part of the Monday Talks series on January 28th. They will also present at the Sustainability Theme House’s weekly spaghetti supper on February 21st.
Delegates from the Wake Forest EcoReps program will head to a regional conference for EcoReps in the Southeast in February. In March, the EcoReps will support the Campus Conservation Nationals competition sponsored by the Office of Energy Management.
For more information on how to become an EcoRep, email . Enrollment in the program closes on February 14th.
By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustainability
This month Wake Forest competed with Notre Dame in Energy Bowl 2012 – Lights Off, Lights Out, an energy-reduction competition between the residence halls at the two universities. The competition ran November 1st to 14th —the two weeks leading up to the football game on the 17th.
At the end of the competition, the results were close. Wake Forest attained an 8.1% energy reduction, falling just short of Notre Dame at 9.6%.
However, since both schools set their goal at a 6% reduction, the result was a win for both teams.
The reduction in electrical energy usage from both schools combined to save some 77,040 kWh or the equivalent of 103,515 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
The residence hall at Wake Forest that contributed most significantly to this reduction was Polo Residence Hall with a whopping 16.5% reduction.
For their efforts, the residents of Polo will receive a football signed by the Wake Forest football team to display in the building along with a celebration, compliments of the Office of Energy Management.
For more about the nature of this year’s competition click here.
By Joey DeRosa Communications and Outreach Intern
Greeks Go Green (GGG) is a student-led initiative located at the intersection of sustainability and Greek life. Upon its inception in the spring of 2011, the idea was met with considerable interest among members of the Greek community. Greeks Go Green interns with the Office of Sustainability, Erin Murphy (WFU ’13) and Becka Brolinson (WFU ‘15) are facilitating the initiative this year. Under their leadership, the program has grown to include delegates from the eight Panhellenic Conference sororities on campus, who represent their chapters at bi-monthly GGG meetings. GGG is working with Interfraternity Council members on a more informal level and looks forward to increased cooperation in the future. Additionally, GGG hopes to recruit representatives from the sororities and fraternities on campus that are affiliated with the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).
In the spirit of competition, organizations are incented to participate through a recognition-and-reward process. But, this isn’t the only motivator. According to Brolinson, “Countless members of the Greek community truly have a passion for sustainability.”
The purpose of Greeks Go Green is twofold. The first goal is educational. GGG members seek to raise awareness about principles of sustainability within the Greek life community. In service of this goal, GGG delegates deliver monthly presentations at their respective chapter meetings, from sustainability themes determined at the GGG representative meetings. Presentation topics have ranged from conscious consumerism to recycling and energy conservation awareness.
The second goal is hands-on. GGG members seek to incorporate sustainable practices into the functional operations of fraternities and sororities on campus. To these ends, members organized a “bin rollout” earlier this year to install recycling containers into all the sorority lounges on campus. Also, since service has always been an important aspect of Greek life, especially here at Wake Forest, GGG members volunteer for sustainability on campus. Groups and individuals have supported both the campus garden and the game-day recycling program.
With respect to both these goals Brolinson said that, “Because Greek organizations are such a huge part of student life at Wake Forest, GGG really has the potential to make a big impact.”
By Joey DeRosa Communications and Outreach Intern
On November 1st we kicked off a residence hall energy conservation competition against Notre Dame — Energy Bowl 2012: Lights Off, Lights Out. We’re now at the halfway point of the competition, which wraps up on November 14th.
The first half of the competition has been a successful exercise in cross-campus collaboration. Facilities and Campus Services is the sponsor of Energy Bowl 2012 and Office of Energy Management interns , Allie Gruber and Joey Matt, are planning and managing the competition. Hall Captains recruited by Residence Life and Housing are serving as Energy Bowl ambassadors in their residence halls, reaching out to their fellow students through posters, e-mails, and word of mouth. Hall Captains are also assisting the EcoReps, our campus peer-to-peer educators for sustainability, in conducting personalized energy conservation room assessments.
Although we have reason to celebrate this early success in getting everyone involved, one hard cold fact still remains: Wake Forest University is currently losing to Notre Dame. Luckily, we are not far behind, and our residential students still have plenty of time to reach the energy conservation goal of 6%. Here are 4 quick tips for students living on-campus to reduce their energy consumption in the residence halls:
- If you’re able, take the stairs. Give the elevator a rest until November 14th – and beyond. You’ll save energy and even get a little work out.
- Turn it off (all of it). When you leave the room, turn off your lights, turn off your power strip (or unplug your electronics), and turn off your heat if you have in-room controls.
- Put on a sweater. If your room feels chilly, try to add more layers before cranking up the temperature, especially in Palmer and Piccolo, where the heating source is electric.
- Tell your friends. Update your friends on the status of the competition, and ask them to consciously conserve over the next week. You can refer them to the Building Dashboard, where they can keep up with the results of the competition in real time.
Look out for a traveling kiosk promoting the competition in residence halls around campus this weekend and early next week.
Lights Off, Lights Out. Let’s Beat the Irish.