Located at 1157 Polo Rd., the Sustainability House is available to students who want to live more sustainable lives.
Residents collaborate with other theme houses and student groups to host programs and films relating to sustainability themes. The Campus Garden is nearby the Sustainability theme house and residents contribute to the garden by volunteering and collecting compostable food waste.
Eric Gorzeman, a Business and Enterprise Management major and Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor, will be joining the Vanguard Group in Charlotte following graduation. During his time with the Office of Sustainability, Eric served as the Carbon Footprint Energy intern (2015-2016) and the Re-Cycle Bike-share Program intern (2016-2017).
Eric’s reflection on the internship: By interning at the Office of Sustainability, I have gained project management, leadership, and communication skills. This internship experience has also inspired me to eventually work in the green energy industry, in a business capacity. In addition to my personal and professional growth, I met different friends that I may not have met otherwise, and had a great time working with the Wake Forest staff and community as a whole.
Julie Kanter has been involved with the Office of Sustainability since 2015, serving as the Earth Day Fair Coordination intern, the Arbor Day Events intern, and the Event Analysis intern. Julie graduated cum laude with degrees in Economics and Spanish. Julie’s involvement with campus events—from beginning to end—has been essential. Julie will be moving to Chicago following graduation, where she will join Fifth Third Bank’s Credit Leadership Program.
Julie’s reflection on the internship: Interning with the Office of Sustainability has provided me with the invaluable opportunity to grow my intellectual curiosity and professional skills while interacting with a supportive and motivational team of colleagues. The Office has supported, challenged, taught, and guided me over the last three years and I am so thankful for that. I know the skills and relationships I have fostered through the Office will always be present in my personal and professional life and I am anxious to see all the success that comes to my fellow interns.
Akua Maat, a magna cum laude graduate who majored in both Latin and Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies, has been a Campus Garden intern since her sophomore year at Wake Forest. Akua’s strong commitment to the nourishment and growth of the Campus Garden will yield results well into the future. She will work with CityYear next year as a mentor in a Philadelphia public school and eventually plans to pursue a PhD in sociology and a career as a college professor.
Akua’s reflection on the internship: Interning with the Office of Sustainability and working so closely with the garden has opened me up to a world I couldn’t have anticipated my freshman year. I’ve learned an extraordinary amount about myself and the world around me. After three years as an intern and a soon-to-be-graduate, what I have gained and appreciated the most is the capacity I now have to implement sustainable practices in my life beyond Wake Forest.
Emily McMullen, a biology and chemistry double major and an environmental studies minor, graduated magna cum laude and with honors. This year, Emily served as an Energy intern working with Facilities & Campus Services to draft an energy plan for the University. After graduation, Emily will be teaching high school science at Geneva Classical Academy in Lakeland, Florida. She plans to pursue a PhD in marine molecular ecology.
Emily’s reflection on the internship: My time as an intern with Facilities and Campus Services and the Office of Sustainability has provided me with an incredible professional skill set which will serve me well in all my future endeavors. The high level of expectations have allowed me to strengthen my communication and technical skills, and appropriately plan for long term projects and goals. The friendships I have developed with the other interns have been invaluable additions to my college experience- I am very thankful for the opportunity I have had to work with many of them this past year.
We also want to congratulate our former interns who graduated with the Class of 2017:
Ann Nguyen, Photography intern (Fall 2014 – Spring 2015) and Freelance Photographer (Fall 2016 – Spring 2017). Ann graduated cum laude and with honors in Studio Art.
Kristen Cortese, Office of Energy Management intern (Fall 2014, Spring 2015).
The entire Sustainability staff wishes all 2017 graduates the best in the next chapter of their lives and careers.
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
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)
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