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
Deacon Dining Connection – Student organization dedicated to influencing and discussing dining decisions at Wake Forest
- February 2016 marked the launch of the Wake Forest Re-Cycle Program—the multi-semester undertaking of previous Office of Sustainability intern Alyshah Aziz ‘16. This past fall, Re-Cycle provided more than 80 semester-long bicycle rentals to students across campus. We are working to add more bikes to the fleet to meet an ever-increasing demand. Interested in checking out a bike for spring 2017? Click on “Transportation” under the Initiatives tab on the Office of Sustainability website to fill out an interest form.
- On Move-In Day, Office of Sustainability interns distributed over 900 personal recycling totes to first-year students to help them divert waste from local landfills. More than 400 of these bins were cleaned and refurbished from the previous year.
- Over 200 members from the Wake Forest Class of 2016 made an enduring commitment to sustainability by signing the Green Graduation Pledge, an opportunity that over 100 other colleges and universities offer their graduates. By signing the Green Grad Pledge, graduates vow to take into account the social and environmental consequences of their future endeavors and to work to improve the sustainability of the communities in which they work, live, and play.
- Wake Forest students banded together to reduce their waste at move-out. In 2016, Deacs Donate helped place over 31,000 pounds of clothing and other essentials into the hands of those in need in the Winston-Salem area.
- In 2016, Campus Garden interns and volunteers nurtured over 30 different crops, providing Campus Kitchen and the Wake Forest community with local, sustainable produce. Expect the offerings to grow in 2017 with blackberries, blueberries, and concord grapes. Attend open volunteer hours next semester to check out all the garden has to offer.
Are you a student working on sustainability-focused research at Wake Forest? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can feature you in an upcoming story.
To date, the Laikipian have produced the “Hunt Me Not” comic book series, the “Mending Fences” comic book series, the “Let’s Go Wild” coloring book, several environmental posters, and even a conservation board game that will be complete in early 2017.
Materials disseminated by the Laikipian serve as teaching aids in schools, community groups, and for the general public. Some of the posters have even been used as models for wall murals painted on school walls and town centers. To date, the posters alone have reached over 6,000 students in over 50 schools and in 18 communities. As more of the group’s materials are placed online, the reach continues to broaden to outside audiences.
“The Laikipian is a movement that’s close to my heart, I discovered the group at a time when both of us were trying to find outlets in creating conservation content and awareness in Kenya and beyond,” Luka said.
To Luka, art is a universal language that can be harnessed to build an informed network of young sustainability champions who will ultimately play a pivotal role in reversing current trends of environmental degradation in Kenya.
“Blending In,” an independent documentary, is Luka’s favorite project to date—it is also the project that introduced Luka to the Laikipian team. She describes it as a labor of love and a project of passion.
The story focuses on how communities living along Kenya’s Tana Delta region are using local solutions to mitigate climate change. In this region, the communities of farmers, fishermen, and pastoralists have a history of conflict due to depleting resources of land and water.
Serving as co-executive producer, co-producer, director, and voiceover artist, Luka and a five person crew took first place in both the Inaugural Mohammed Amin Media Awards (MAAMAS 2015) and runners up the Africa Climate Change and Environmental Awards (ACCER 2014).
“Going to communities that live miles from each other and who do not know the term climate change as we know it was a humbling experience,” Luka said.
Luka’s experience with “Blending In” eventually landed her a spot in the Wake Forest Documentary Film program.
“My daily prayer is God please give me the strength to fulfill my passion. Hold my hand through this journey as I seek to mentor others by being a compelling African storyteller.”
Examples of Luka’s work with the Laikipian are shown below. For updates, follow the Laikipian on Twitter (@TheLaikipian) and on Facebook (The Laikipian).
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.
Members of the class of 2016 are invited to sign the Green Graduation Pledge on Friday, May 13 at graduation ticket pick-up outside the University Book Store. Students who sign the pledge are committing 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 [they] work, live and play.”
This is the university’s sixth year offering the Green Graduation Pledge to students. The tradition began 30 years ago at Humboldt State University. Today, more than 100 schools participate in the nationwide pledge drive, facilitated by the Graduation Pledge Alliance.
Did you know… that the big green dumpsters in front of residence halls are headed to the landfill? Help us keep all reusable or recyclable items out of the dumpsters and in the hands of those who can use them.
Spread the word about these opportunities:
What? Reusable housewares, clothing, small appliances, school supplies, canned/dried food and furniture
When? April 29 – May 8
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. Residents of theme houses should contact their resident advisers for information about the location of the donation bins in their areas.
Why? In 2015, the program helped students put approximately 20,000 pounds of clothing and other essentials into the hands of those in need in the Winston-Salem community.
We are excited to announce this year’s Sustainability Ambassadors at Wake Forest University. Sustainability Ambassadors complete a comprehensive curriculum to develop the literacy and skills to be effective peer educators for sustainability. In this role, ambassadors work closely with the Office of Sustainability to educate, encourage and measure success of sustainability efforts among students.
Emily Claire Mackey, an Advanced Sustainability Ambassador, explains, “Many students view sustainability as the green recycling tote in their dorm room, but living in a sustainable world goes far beyond that.”
Among other outreach activities, Sustainability Ambassadors deliver presentations to fellow students, participate in outreach events, and conduct sustainability assessments in residence halls. During the fall 2016 semester, students can become ambassadors by completing a two-credit course titled, Leadership for Sustainability.
Introductory Sustainability Ambassadors
Taylor Barrett, Sophomore
Interests: Renewable energy and recycling
Cristin Berardo, Junior
Interests: Renewable energy
Erika Brandon, Junior
Interests: Sustainable agriculture
Forrest Dodds, Junior
Interests: Waste reduction and composting
Bill Leftwich, Freshman
Interests: Energy and water conservation
Wesley Skidmore, Freshman
Interests: Renewable energy and climate change
Advanced Sustainability Ambassadors
Stephanie Cobb, Sophomore
Interests: Climate change and food production
Zoe Helmers, Freshman
Interests: Climate change and waste
Mackenzie Howe, Freshman
Interests: Ocean acidification and energy
Emily Claire Mackey, Junior
Interests: Food and landscape degradation
Maggie Powell, Freshman
Interests: Biodiversity and ecological systems
Brennan Radulski, Sophomore
Interests: Ecology and biodiversity
Talia Roberts, Freshman
Interests: Waste and climate change
Cameron Steitz, Junior
Interests: Water conservation and food production
Cameron Waters, Freshman
Interests: Renewable energy and waste
This article was originally published in the Old Gold & Black on November 12, 2015.
On Nov. 10 evening, Dr. Eban Goodstein, Director of Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy and the Bard MBA in Sustainability in New York City, introduced students’ roles in climate change mitigation strategies through his presentation, New Rules for Climate Protection: Student and Citizen Action to Change the Future.
Although Goodstein emphasized the importance of student voices in many forums, his presentation focused on the Bard Center for Environmental Policy’s nationwide “Power Dialog” on April 4, 2016, an initiative to mobilize efforts of college students and enable them to have a direct effect on state-level policy.
On Aug. 3, 2015, President Obama announced the Clean Power Plan, a new US Environmental Protection Agency regulation designed to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants by 2030.
By 2030, the Plan calls for a reduction by 32 percent of 2005 levels, which are already much lower than those recorded today; however, Goodstein argued that the CPP was too timid and flexible.
Although power plants account for 40 percent of U.S. global warming pollution emissions, the CPP allows each state to set a different emission goal and “implementation plan” to meet it. Additionally, the 32 percent cuts are only a fraction of what Goodstein argues is necessary: 80 percent by 2050.
The Power Dialogs, which allow faculty at colleges nationwide to take their classes on coordinated field trips to their state capitols, aim to enable 10,000 students in all 50 states to have a face-to-face conversation with policymakers and to have a voice in these state level plans.
Because only 23 states have formed teams, and North Carolina does not yet have any Power Dialog organizers, Goodstein’s presentation was intended not only to equip attendees with updates on global warming that would enable them to better understand the upcoming International Climate Talks in Paris, but also to give interested students information on how to join the initiative.
A series of flight cancellations and delays prevented Goodstein’s arrival on campus and required him to present to the ZSR library auditorium virtually, but the professor engaged the over 50 attendees easily, asking audience members to guess statistics and pose theories, and even jokingly turning Dulles airport’s loudspeaker announcements into metaphors demonstrating the necessity of change.
The tone of his remarks did not detract from his message; in fact, it was the personal nature of the conversation that made Goodstein’s call to action affective.
“This will be the work of your lives,” said Goodstein. “You will adapt.”
That adaptation, which he explained will be a constant part of the lives of today’s students going forward as global warming is found to affect more and more aspects of the climate, demonstrates why students’ informed concern and efforts are imperative.
2014 was the hottest year recorded to date, and 2015 will be hotter still. There is 5 percent more water vapor in the atmosphere than there was 500 years ago, which has brought not only record-breaking floods in England, but unprecedented forest fires in California, demonstrating that the pressure of climate change on the water cycle and other weather patterns is causing a multitude of severe changes.
“If we do our best, the world will still get twice as hot,” Goodstein said.
Goldstein also asked the audience what had previously been the largest source of carbon emissions.
“If we were able to reduce emissions from horse manure by well over 90 percent, simply as a product of time, why can we not confidently say that we will be able to reduce fossil fuel emissions by 90 percent as well?”
Some of the effects of global warming are irreversible, but change is needed to minimize their impact. Although it may seem to students that the change necessary is unachievable, Goodstein maintained that this was not the case.
By Natalie Wilson (’19)
Anticipated speaker Dr. Eban Goodstein of Bard College found himself travel-locked in D.C. on November 10, unable to make his long-awaited appearance at Wake Forest.
The upshot? Goodstein still managed to deliver his message to students loud and clear: it’s now or never for college students to stake their claim in the national climate change conversation.
Two hours before the Republican debate kicked off in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Goodstein settled in at Wake Forest via webcam to stress students’ role in mobilizing climate change initiatives despite the politicized efforts to keep the conversation off the table. Spearheading a new campaign called the Power Dialog, Goodstein is calling for students to engage in face-to-face discourse with climate legislators in all fifty states.
“There are lots of ways for students to offer their perspective on this,” said Goodstein. “And by sparking this discussion in all fifty states collectively, we’ll create a media platform. Presidential candidates will see that students want to have a voice in the matter.”
State-level climate change conversations were forced after President Obama unveiled his Clean Power Plan in August 2015. With the goal of reducing national carbon emissions from power plants by 32% by 2030, the Clean Power Plan requires each state to come up with an implementation program to meet specific emission reduction targets within fifteen years.
As the EPA’s pressure on states to enact policy changes reached beyond partisan tensions, Goodstein sought the opportunity to recruit educated young people who will witness the long-term impacts of today’s decisions.
“While countless industries weigh in on these matters, lawmakers aren’t connecting with students,” said Goodstein. “You’re the ones who will be alive to feel the effects of these measures in 2050, and your children will the ones reaping the consequences of our action or inaction in 2100.”
In creating the Power Dialog, Goodstein provides students with a voice in measures that will not only determine their future, but the future of the planet.
The Dialog is working now to organize a meeting with five hundred college students in every state capital during the week of April 4, 2016. These students will get a policy-making update from their state legislators and will be able to give input in the process.
In Raleigh, Governor McCroy and his advisors are currently devising a strategy to cut its emission rate from the power sector by at least 40% in the next fifteen years. While this conversation ensues, students from North Carolina have yet to join the 23 states already on board with the Dialog.
“It’s not an ordinary day out there and it’s not going to be an ordinary day for the rest of your lives,” said Goodstein. “You’re either going to change the future or you’re not.”
–By Taylor Olson, ’16
We sent off our graduating interns from the Class of 2015 with hearty congratulations on their outstanding achievements.
Bridget Keeler graduated with a major in economics with a minor in environmental studies. After working as the campus dining intern for ARAMARK her sophomore year, Bridget studied sustainability abroad and returned to serve as a Greeks Go Green intern for the 2014-2015 academic year. She is working at Aramark headquarters in a one-year management program, Accelerate to Leadership.
Her reflection on her internship: My time with the office allowed me to further explore my interest in sustainability, and made me realize that my career path points toward the sustainable business sector. Working in the office provided me with invaluable information and experience, and I am very grateful for the guidance that was provided by Dedee and Hannah.
Araceli Morales-Santos graduated Cum Laude with a major in biology with a minor in Spanish. Araceli served as a Campus Garden intern in fall 2014 before going abroad in spring 2015. She earned a Fulbright Scholarship and will be an English teaching assistant in Brazil.
Her reflection on her internship: As an intern with the Office of Sustainability I gained valuable work experience and career tools that I will carry with me everywhere I go. Moreover, I was impressed at the level of professionalism that this internship offered and expected from each of the interns. What I most appreciate from my experience with the Office of Sustainability is the regular check-ins…[the] constructive criticism was helpful for me because professionally, it has helped me grow. As an intern, I also enjoyed all work and time spent in the garden. There is nothing more special than heading to the garden on a warm afternoon with a nice breeze and getting your hands and feet dirty harvesting and talking to the volunteers about their day and interest in gardening. I can’t thank the Office of Sustainability enough for offering me the opportunity to have this wonderful experience.
Emily Pence graduated Cum Laude with a major in mathematical business and minor in French. Emily served as a Greeks Go Green Intern for five consecutive semesters.
Her reflection on her internship: I am so thankful to have been able serve as an intern for the Office of Sustainability over the past few years. My internship has helped me grow into a more thoughtful, dynamic and professional individual, and has provided me with an opportunity to learn from and work alongside some of the most passionate and devoted members of the community. It has been such a rewarding experience to have been on a team with students who come from such diverse backgrounds, yet who share a similar commitment to stewardship and environmental sustainability. Looking back on my time at Wake Forest, my internship has been one of the most valuable and formative experiences I have been fortunate enough to have; it will be one that will stay with me as I enter the next chapter of my life.
Macaela Seward graduated with a major in biology and was commissioned with distinction as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Chemical Corps. Macaela served as the Sustainability in Dining intern for the 2014-2015 academic year. She will begin training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. In the fall she will be moving to South Korea to be the Chemical Officer for an Assault Helicopter Battalion.
Her reflection on her internship: My experience as the Sustainability in Dining Intern was eye-opening. Being sustainable as an individual is very different than at a corporate level, and it was incredibly interesting to learn how sustainable practices are implemented. In my internship I learned all about what food purchases are made and how we select vendors, as well as being able to run a project of my choosing and helping to prepare the STARS 2.0 review. It has been a great experience being the Dining Intern, and I will certainly be able to apply the skills I’ve learned in this internship – time management skills, creativity, resilience, tenacity – to the future.
Natalie Solomon graduated with a double major in psychology and religious studies with a concentration in Religion and Public Engagement. Natalie served as a Campus Garden Intern in the spring of 2015. She will begin a five year journey to earn a Doctorate in Psychology from Stanford Consortium in the fall.
Her reflection on her internship: Recently in the garden, the strawberries came up and I felt a profound sense of fulfillment and happiness. My internship has deepened my understanding of therapeutic resources. I have really loved that my internship included a physical component, that of literally gardening, and that my internship in the garden highlighted that the body and mind are the vehicles for pain, pleasure, and prayer. I have completed my Religion and Public Engagement Concentration on this fluidity of the inner and outer components of a person, much informed and influenced by my work in the garden. The garden has helped me to literally ground what I am learning in class and intern meetings, as well as provide a therapeutic outlet. This is a resource that was very rewarding to share with others. I honestly felt like my work in the garden reconnected me with the therapeutic resources of the outdoors that were central to my childhood in rural Southern Africa. My internship in the garden has provided me with a wider perspective and deeper understanding of sustainable agriculture, components of education, stewardship to the Earth, and benefits of the outdoors.
We wish all of our former interns who graduated with the Class of 2015 a fond farewell:
Jack Sypek, energy conservation intern with Facilities and Campus Services, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a major in biology.
Elena Dolman, staff writer, graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors in English.
Shoshanna Goldin, former Sustainable Community Development intern, graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors in interdisciplinary studies – global health.
Maegan Olmstead, former Communications and Outreach intern, graduated with a major in communications.
David Song, former Campus Garden intern, graduated with a major in biology.
Nicky Vogt, former Campus Garden intern, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a major in politics and international affairs with double minors in Spanish and psychology.