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
A new Master of Arts in Sustainability offered by Wake Forest’s Center for Energy, Environment & Sustainability (CEES) will give students and early to mid-career professionals the diverse skillset they need to carve out a place in the burgeoning global sustainability marketplace.
The MA in Sustainability is a distinctive interdisciplinary one-year program that combines coursework in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, management and law. The program is currently accepting applicants for the Fall 2014 semester. Read more…
Twenty-seven undergraduate students from diverse disciplines attended the first-ever Social Impact Career Workshop, co-sponsored by the Office of Personal & Career Development, Service & Social Action, My Journey, and the Office of Sustainability.
Part one of a three-part series, the workshop received overwhelmingly positive feedback through student evaluations. “It really opened my eyes to the myriad of options,” commented one student. “[The workshop] taught me about the ‘next step,’” noted another attendee.
During the first half of the event, Dr. Katharine Brooks, Executive Director of Personal and Career Development, led students through a self-reflection and planning exercise. The group then heard from a professional panel that included Dr. Ananda Mitra, Professor and Chair of Communication; Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, WFU Director of Sustainability; Ryan Lesley (’06, MBA ‘14), former Peace Corps volunteer and co-president of WFU Net Impact; and Alex Tsuji (MBA ’14), secretary of WFU Net Impact. After brief introductions from each panelist, students had the opportunity to ask questions. The discussion reflected interests that ranged from local to global issues and spanned sectors from non-governmental to corporate.
Former Wake Forest Fellow Annabel Lang (’12) developed the idea for the workshop while working with EcoReps, a peer sustainability education program of the Office of Sustainability. With an increasing number of Wake Forest students gaining sustainability-related experience through curricular and extracurricular endeavors, she saw a need to bridge the gap between these undergraduates’ experiences and their future professional lives.
Part two of the Social Impact Careers Workshop will take place Tuesday, January 15th, 2014 at 5:00PM. In this next installation, students will learn how to “pitch” their experiences, passions, and skills to potential employers. Additionally, attendees will learn how to take advantage of the upcoming Job & Internship Fair, on-campus opportunities for gaining social impact experience, job search resources, and networking strategies. To participate in part two, students should register through the DeaconSource calendar. It is not necessary to have participated in part one, in order to participate in part two.
By Hannah Slodounik, Program Coordinator
Since its founding in 2011, Greeks Go Green (GGG) has worked to involve members of the Wake Forest Greek community in reaching our campus sustainability goals.
Representatives from participating chapters meet bi-weekly to talk about the many junctures between sustainability and Greek life. The effort is facilitated by sustainability interns Emily Pence (WFU ’15) and Stewart Rickert (WFU ’16).
To date, GGG has gained traction mainly with the sororities of the Panhellenic Council on campus. This year, however, the student interns are working to expand the GGG network to include both sororities and fraternities on campus. “Although in the past sororities have accounted for the vast majority of GGG involvement, that doesn’t mean that members in fraternities on campus aren’t passionate about the environment or principles of sustainability too,” said Pence.
There may be several explanations for comparatively lower fraternity involvement: initial enthusiasm for GGG was expressed most visibly by sorority members; past student GGG interns have all been sorority women. With the addition of Rickert to the leadership team this year, the network gained its first male GGG student intern and a highly visible advocate of sustainable interests within the Greek community. According to Rickert “we began working to make Greeks Go Green more appealing to fraternities and have seen a substantial increase in participation from fraternity members this year.” Pence added that, “the increased interest that we have witnessed from fraternity members over the past semester shows a lot of potential for effecting change on campus.”
The organization currently enjoys active participation from the following fraternity and sorority chapters on campus:
Kappa Beta Gamma Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Kappa Gamma Alpha Sigma
Chi Omega Delta Kappa Epsilon
Kappa Delta Pi Kappa Alpha
Alpha Delta Pi Theta Chi
Delta Delta Delta Kappa Sigma
This year, members of the Greek community can look forward to a screening of 180º South and a campus cleanup day, in addition to annual energy conservation, waste reduction, and carpool challenges.
If you’d like to get involved, contact Greeks Go Green interns Emily Pence ( ) or Stewart Rickert ( ) for more information.
By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern
This coming April, Wake Forest will host our inaugural Champions of Change award ceremony.
In March, 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).
We look forward to hearing about the work of all the inspiring change agents across campus.
This summer, Wake Forest had to say goodbye to a beloved campus home. Due to structural damage in the basement, there was no alternative to demolishing the Sustainability theme house, a house which a group of students had formerly called “home.”
The Sustainability house was one of the handful of theme houses owned by Wake Forest and operated by Residence Life & Housing. In this house, students who embraced a sustainable lifestyle could live together and share their common interests and passions. On any given day, these students were biking to and from the house, composting, volunteering at the campus garden located in the backyard, and hosting events such as spaghetti dinner night. During the four short years of its existence, the Sustainability House residents developed a network of students throughout campus that all came together to enjoy different facets of the Wake Forest experience. Although the only visible remnant of the former “Sust’y” house, as it was known, is now an empty gravel lot, the Susty community continues to thrive.
Logan Healy-Tuke, the theme program assistant for the house, says that although the demolition is a setback, it allows the community to grow in different ways. The house right next door to the now empty lot—what would have been an annex to the Sustainability theme house—is now the flagship house for these students. Additionally, the community has expanded to the North Campus Apartments and the Ahuva theme house, where the displaced students now live. Logan says “Though we are bummed, we believe with full faith that this shift will make us more appreciative of what we do have, and look forward to keeping a tight-knit, sustainability-based community inclusive to all.”
The sustainability student community is continuing their traditions, including spaghetti dinner night on Thursdays (which is open to all students), volunteering at the Campus Garden on Sundays, riding their bicycles all over campus, and attending different events on campus as a group. With or without the former home, the Susty community will continue to flourish and promote sustainable living on campus.
As it turns out, 1141 Polo housed important memories for another Wake Forest family as well. The Susty House history dates back to its construction in June of 1923, when it was built as part of the Oak Crest neighborhood. For most of its existence, the Susty House belonged to the Hauser family. Gena Hauser, the granddaughter of the original owner says, “It’s where my dad grew up and our family enjoyed a whole lot of good memories—including my grandma’s amazing cooking on many Sunday afternoons.”
In addition to great dinners and family memories, this home will be missed for its beauty. According to local historian Kent Strupe, several people have referred to it as one of the prettiest homes along Polo Road, and he adds, “With its coordinating two-tone green color, beautiful mature trees, and well-manicured lawn, I have to agree. Oak Crest has truly lost a treasure.”
By Andrea Becker (’16), Staff Writer
Snorkeling with sea turtles and hiking volcanoes may sound like amazing vacation highlights all on their own, but for David Song (‘15) these experiences were part of a 45-day Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA (WWOOF-USA) internship to learn about sustainable agriculture. It was just an added bonus that the practicum was located on the easternmost point on the big island of Hawaii, at Dragon’s Eye Learning Center.
As an EcoRep and incoming 2013 garden intern, Song looked for a unique summer opportunity that would allow him to experience sustainable living on a different level and “fully appreciate the value of food.” WWOOF-USA provided just that for him: a program that is part of the global WWOOF network, which connects volunteers with organic farmers in exchange for room and board and the opportunity to study ecologically sound farming practices.
The diversity of agriculture Song worked with on the rural, 32-acre farm near Pahoa, ranged from jaboticaba to jackfruit and everything in between including breadfruit, noni, and macadamia. Part of the information exchange consisted of learning about the aquaponic tilapia and greens system and about the Cornish hens and Dexter Cows that live on the hearty landscape.
When Song committed to the internship, he was focused on the agricultural component of the program and didn’t anticipate the culinary knowledge he would gain too. “I helped make cheese, yogurt, ice cream, scratch-flour cake, and a variety of meat dishes, starting with hunting, to butchering, and cooking the animal.” Another sustainable component he experienced was living “off the grid,” as the farm relies on solar power for both water access and electricity.
It is this full-systems approach to sustainability that he plans to bring back to campus this fall. Eager to apply his new skills, he envisions testing an aquaponics operation, increasing attention to soil composition at the campus garden, and “…on a more abstract level, promoting and explaining the value of sustainable living as a sustainability intern.”
Through the internship Song gained an understanding of what it meant to participate in a culture of sustainability outside of his previous realm and is an advocate of the program: “I would recommend it to anyone interested in agriculture, livestock, and sustainability or just to people who would like to experience something completely different, culturally.”
By Hannah Slodounik, Program Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability
Although summer is usually a time for relaxation, rejuvenation, and rest, for game day recycling intern Lauren Formica (‘16), summer is more about the three R’s of resource management: reduce, reuse, and recycle. To prepare for this fall’s Go Deacs. Go Green. football game day recycling campaign, Formica attended the Collegiate Sports Sustainability Summit this June in Atlanta, GA.
Held at Georgia Tech and hosting 110 attendees, the annual meeting is an opportunity to engage with national peers who orchestrate and support sustainability efforts in collegiate athletics. The meeting includes speaker sessions and an idea-sharing forum focused on athletic event recycling at colleges and universities. The summit doesn’t just highlight success stories; it also includes lessons learned from less-than-successful efforts.
Formica found these group interactions to be a highlight of the conference. “It made me realize there are some real advantages and disadvantages to being a smaller university. Many of the things that didn’t work at some of the larger institutions, may work well at Wake Forest because of our size,” she concluded.
Another goal of the forum is to showcase the benefits of sports-focused sustainability efforts. These include fan pride and loyalty, which Formica touts as a key reason she was interested in the game day recycling internship. “When I volunteered as a freshman, I enjoyed interacting with alumni who weren’t aware of the resources we now have on campus. They were excited about our programs.”
Formica speaks with enthusiasm about the ideas that the meeting provided, many of which she thinks could be effective at Wake Forest. “I want to continue the success we have and hope to expand upon it,” she says. These developments might include creating a strategic plan for game day recycling or garnering more program participation from both on and off-campus organizations.
Mindful of the work ahead, Formica is excited about the prospects for the fall football season. And honestly, what true Demon Deacon fan isn’t already?
By Hannah Slodounik, Program Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability
Summer isn’t necessarily a vacation for Wake Forest students. From late May to early August, The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest, a student-run service organization, maintains full operations, serving 154 meals per week to underserved members of the Winston-Salem community. Unlike during the spring and fall, when Campus Kitchen is run by a six-member executive board and a 24-member leadership team, during the summer three interns are at the helm of one of Wake Forest’s flagship service organizations.
The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University is an affiliate of the Campus Kitchens Project, a national organization dedicated to fighting hunger and reducing waste through food recycling programs on college campuses. The Campus Kitchen model takes surplus prepared (but never served) meals from campus dining facilities and distributes these meals to partner agencies serving local communities. In addition to this basic model, the Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University partners with the Fresh Market, rescuing edible produce and baked goods and delivering the food in bulk to agencies serving populations with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University also partners with the Campus Garden, incorporating fresh, campus-grown produce into balanced meals.
Brittany Forniotis (’15), David Hale (’15), John Iskander (’16), and Monica Hedge (’14) make up the summer 2013 team of Campus Kitchen interns. Brittany, who is also spending her summer conducting original research on American slave narratives, splits five cooking shifts and five food delivery shifts with David, a premedical student who is also currently conducting summer research. John serves as the Fresh Market intern, running five food rescue shifts per week and researching the feasibility of food trucks as a means of increasing access to nutritious food. Monica will replace Brittany as one of the cooking and delivery interns for the second half of the summer.
According to the Campus Kitchens Project’s national guidelines, all meals must include a protein, a vegetable, a starch, and a dessert. Because there are fewer students on campus during the summer, the Fresh Food Company has less surplus food to donate to Campus Kitchen, so the interns must creatively combine resources to meet the organization’s standards. Brittany, who plans many of the summer menus, relies heavily on produce grown in the WFU Campus Garden. Most recently, she and summer volunteers prepared a huge salad with roasted beets, greens, and beet greens from the Campus Garden.
David, who served the salad at the SECU Family House, an agency providing housing for the families of patients who travel to Winston-Salem for medical treatment, reports “Everyone is always really happy when I say we grew these beets in our Campus Garden…they were so impressed that it was full circle, that we are using what we have and being sustainable.”
Partner agencies rely on Campus Kitchen to stay open during the summer, but David explains that the summer also provides an opportunity to reach new volunteers. He says “it is also important for us to educate volunteers, whether they are at a summer camp here, faculty and staff, or just anyone in the Winston-Salem area, to realize that [food insecurity] is an important issue in our region that many people don’t know about.” He also explains that bringing new volunteers into Campus Kitchen “is really about removing the stigma from certain areas [of Winston-Salem] or the stereotypes someone might associate with a particular type of person.”
In the context of cooking shifts, Brittany takes care to talk to volunteers about “where the food is going, what sort of people are receiving the food, and what sort of health problems they might have.” She explains the intentional choices she makes based on the population being served, such as sending reduced dessert portions and low-salt meals to senior housing where many residents suffer from diabetes and hypertension.
In the context of delivery shifts, David explains the goal of a particular partner agency and how food from Campus Kitchen fits into that goal. For instance, at Prodigals Community, a faith-based drug rehabilitation facility, David explains to volunteers how the Sunday night meal provided by Campus Kitchen allows Prodigals to allocate funds towards programs that facilitate residents’ recovery.
When asked what the Campus Kitchen needs from the Wake Forest community this summer, the interns offer a single emphatic answer: volunteers. David says “We need people who are willing to be flexible, to try something new…to go out of their comfort zone, to get out of the Wake Forest bubble and realize that these places exist in Winston-Salem.”
To volunteer for Campus Kitchen, contact Brittany Forniotis at .
By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustainability
On May 20th, the Office of Sustainability wished farewell and good luck to six graduating interns. We are proud of their work on behalf of our office and on behalf of our campus partners. Their undergraduate accomplishments are just the beginning of many contributions they will make as members of the Wake Forest community.
Sanders McNair graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Politics and International Affairs. He earned honors in History and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta, an honor society for exceptional history students. Sanders worked for the Office of Sustainability, as the Campus Garden intern, from the fall of 2011 to the spring of 2013. He plans to seek employment at a renewable energy company or in the environmental/energy policy sector after traveling internationally to work on organic farms through the WOOF network.
His reflection on his internship: I can say without a doubt that my experience as an intern with the Office of Sustainability was one of my favorite parts of my time at Wake Forest. I learned a great amount about environmental issues and sustainable agriculture and improved the social and professional skills that I will use in my future career. Most of all, I made connections with students, staff, faculty and administrators through this internship that I hope will not be lost after graduation.
Joey Matt graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. This year he served as the Energy Intern for the Office on Energy Management. He is currently considering his post-graduation options.
His reflection on his internship: I’m fortunate to have had this internship. The position provided an outlet to learn from some of the brightest and most passionate members of this university. My experiences shaped my understanding of the diligence, patience, and commitment required to induce environmental changes. Going forward, I feel confident that my internship sharpened my professional and people skills that will aid me in my future endeavors.
Erin Murphy graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and minors in Environmental Studies and Politics and International Affairs. She was also a member of Lambda Pi Eta Communications Honors Society. Erin joined the Office in the fall of 2011 as a Game Day Recycling Intern, served as the RecycleMania Intern in the spring on 2012 and spent her senior year serving as one of two interns leading the Greeks Go Green initiative. This summer, Erin will head to New York City for an internship at an advertising and marketing agency.
Her reflection on her internship: My internship with the Office of Sustainability has been an amazing experience that has led me to grow personally and professionally. I got the opportunity to work on many different projects over my two years as an intern and each of them taught me something extremely valuable that I will take with me when I leave Wake Forest. Being an intern helped me realize the value of hard work and dedication and how you can really make a difference in the community you are a part of. It was so rewarding to work with such an amazing group of people at the Office of Sustainability, and it is an experience I will remember forever.
Kiana Courtney graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and minors in both Sociology and Environmental Studies. She joined the Office of Sustainability in the spring of 2013 to serve as the Communications and Outreach Intern. After graduation she will return to her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia to serve with Teach for America for two years.
Her reflection on her internship: I truly enjoyed working with the Office of Sustainability this semester. It was a wonderful learning opportunity, in that I met some of the great people on our campus and in our community working towards making the world a more sustainable place. These experiences have affirmed that I want to pursue a career in environmental justice.
Austin Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English with a minor in Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies. He is also the recent recipient of the Excellence in Entrepreneurship award. Austin joined the Office of Sustainability as the Game-day Recycling Intern in the fall of 2012 and stayed on as the Earth Day Planning Intern in the spring of 2013. In September, he will move to the Philippines to produce a documentary film and multimedia web project that examines Filipino life and culture through the stories and messages of street artists.
His reflection on his internship: Working with the Office and the other interns was the highlight of my last year at Wake. Everyone was so friendly and funny and got along really well. These are the superstars on campus. They are great, passionate people who care about their community. I had a blast working on my projects and will definitely take this experience with me as I go on to the next stage in my life.
De’Noia Woods graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Studio Art. She was also the recipient of the Ted and Nancy Meredith Art Scholarship for art majors. De’Noia has served as the Photography Intern for the Office of Sustainability since the fall of 2010 and also served as the Community Grassroots Coalition Intern in the fall of 2011. Before pursuing graduate studies, she will take the next year to explore employment opportunities.
Her reflection on her internship: I learned so much as an intern under Dedee’s supervision. I grew as a professional and an environmental artist. I was able to merge my passions for art and sustainability to produce meaningful products that have a lasting impression. By allowing the addition of artistic creativity to come into the campus sustainability realm, it gave another dimension to the great work that the office is currently doing. I am grateful for this tremendous opportunity to work with the office and I see sustainability being a part of my life for the future ahead.
By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustainability
Each year the Wake Forest Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship holds a banquet honoring students and faculty for their accomplishments and innovative ideas. This year, two interns for the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Energy Management respectively were honored for their projects: senior Austin Smith, and junior Claire Nagy-Cato.
Smith, who served as both the Game Day and Earth Day Fair intern, was honored with the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award for an Artistic Venture for the Filipino Street Art Project. The project consists of a feature-length documentary, an interactive website, and a multimedia installation exhibit. It explores the rapidly changing political and social landscape of the Philippines through the lens of street art and the artists who embody the new generation of motivated, organized, and empowered Filipino youth. More information about the project can be found here.
Claire Nagy-Cato, one of the two Energy Management interns this year, won first place with fellow chemistry major, senior Grant Gilbert in the i2i wooden pallet competition. The competition challenged students to find creative uses for the massive amounts of wooden shipping pallets disposed of in North Carolina. The duo decided to inoculate the wooden pallets with mushroom mycelium. The mycelium contains many acids, notably oxalic acid that binds to calcium and forms insoluble salts that grow expansively, breaking down the chemical structure of organic compounds like rock, wood, metals, and petroleum products. “This could be the natural solution to biodegrading the organic wastes that pose serious threats to the environment and the health of our ecosystems,” added Nagy-Cato, “humans included.”
By Kiana Courntey, Communications and Outreach Intern