Browse the list of topics for answers to your frequently asked questions. Have a question we haven’t answered? Direct your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recycling and Waste Reduction
Water Coolers (Office Water Dispensers)
Food and Dining
Water and Energy
Life on campus
Sustainability Resources - 2011
Q: Is double-sided printing now the default setting for printers on campus?
A: With the launch of the new Pharos Printing Systems, starting with the ZSR Library, double-sided printing (also known as duplex printing) has now become the default printer setting for machines across campus. According to ZSR Director of Access Services, Mary Beth Lock, the transition was motivated, in part, by goals in sustainability.
The switch to default duplex printing translates to significant paper conservation in the library, where the busiest printers on campus are located. Lock reported that as of mid-October 2013, the three copy/print machines across from the Circulation Desk in the ZSR have already been used 70,000 times since their installation on September 23rd and 24th. Between classes it’s not hard to tell that these are the most frequently used machines on campus. Their predecessor, a single machine sitting in the same location, had been used well over a million times in the three years it faithfully served the students faculty and staff who used it.
Single-sided printing is, of course, still available for those who prefer it.
Q. I’ve heard Wake Forest offers a Masters in Sustainability. Is this true?
A. Yes. The Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES) at Wake Forest plans to offer a Master of Arts in Sustainability. The inaugural cohort will be recruited to matriculate in fall 2014. The program offers a four-course core – global human systems; sustainable organizational management; resource management and energy science; and environment law and policy – as well as an applied sustainability course and a capstone research project or extended practicum. The 30-credit MA in Sustainability is one of a select few across the nation.
In addition to the MA in Sustainability, CEES will offer a Graduate Certificate Program in Sustainability. The 12-credit certificate includes all core courses from the master’s program. Although the certification can stand alone, providing substantive knowledge of sustainability-related issues, it can also be earned in conjunction with another Wake Forest master’s degree program.
The priority application deadline to be a part of the fall 2014 class is January 15, 2014. Learn more about the program and application requirements here.
Q. How do I get produce from the campus garden?
A. During the summer, the campus garden occasionally offered a produce stand on campus. However, now that the school year has started, the only way to enjoy the organic produce from the garden is to volunteer. If you, or a group you’re involved in are looking for hands-on service, then volunteering in the garden is an exciting opportunity. Not only will you get to enjoy working outside, but you can also take home some of the fruits of your labor in the form of tomatoes and other produce. Campus garden volunteer hours are every Wednesday and Sunday from 4-6 PM. Come alone, bring a group of friends from your residence hall, or schedule a volunteer event with your club. Located at the corner of Polo Road and Student Drive, across from Martin, the campus garden can always use an extra set of hands.
Email for more information or to schedule a service event for your organization.
Q: If my electronics have an off switch (like my television), do I still have to worry about vampire energy?
A: Yes. Vampire energy, also know as phantom energy or phantom load, is the electricity used by electronics that are plugged in but not currently in use. Both electronics that have off-switches (such as television sets and laptops) and electronics without off-switches (such as cell-phone chargers) have phantom loads. About 10% of the energy expense in the average American household derives from vampire energy.
You can prevent vampire energy costs by always unplugging your electronics or by plugging all your electronics into a power-strip and switching the power strip off when your electronics are not in use. Unlike most electronics, power-strips are designed to cut off energy flow at the wall, eliminating vampire energy. If you have a last one, lights out policy in your home or office, expand that policy to cover your power-strips as well.
Q: The water that comes out of the faucet in my residence hall is bubbly. What’s wrong with it?
A: There is nothing wrong with the water coming out of the faucet. The bubbles are a a result of an aerator that spreads the water stream into many different droplets, rather than a continuous flow. This helps conserve water.
Q: I know #5 plastics are not recyclable on campus, but I’ve noticed Whole Foods collects#5 plastics in a separate bin. Could we start a separate collection for #5 plastics here in the residence halls?
A: Whole Foods partners with a company called Preserve to divert #5 plastics from the landfill through Preserve’s Gimme 5 program. The Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling(OWRR) explored bringing the Gimme 5 onto campus, but Preserve is not ready to expand beyond Whole Foods at this time. However, OWRR will continue to be in contact with Preserve to pursue a partnership in the future.
You can personally mail your #5 plastics directly to Preserve’s headquarters in Courtland, New York, but, because of the ratio of fuel resources necessary for shipping relative to the amount of #5 plastics you would be able to collect at once, it is likely a more sustainable choice to keep bringing your #5 plastics to Whole Foods. Whole Foods collects enough #5 plastics to tip the scale in favor of shipping their collection off to be recycled.
Try starting a collection on your hall and then going on a group outing about once a month to drop off your #5s. Everyone can do their grocery shopping (or just sample Whole Foods’ gelato).
Read more about what is recyclable at Wake Forest University here.
Q: I’m a leader in several organizations and I end up making quite a few t-shirt purchases. How should I go about making those purchases as sustainable as possible?
A: There are many factors to consider in evaluating the sustainability of a t-shirt, from where and how the cotton is grown to the labor conditions in the factory where the t-shirt was stitched.
Wake Forest University is a member of the Worker Rights Consortium, an independent labor rights organization that monitors the manufacture of university apparel. All university branded apparel sold by Athletics or the University Bookstores must come from a vendor with a supply chain that complies with the WRC code of conduct. In keeping with the spirit of the university’s commitment, other groups on campus that purchase t-shirts should also purchase from vendors who are WRC compliant when possible.
Use our t-shirt purchasing guide to find vendors who are use local, recycled, and/or organic materials. Sustainable purchasing can make a huge difference in terms of your impact on the environment, but remember, sustainability should be a concern throughout the lifecycle of your apparel, so wash with cold water and line dry whenever possible. If you would like any additional information feel free to email us at .
Q: At my friend’s school, they have a ban on disposable plastic water bottles. Why doesn’t the Office of Sustainability push for a ban on disposable plastic water bottles here?
A: Well, we have thought about it. Many universities have adopted a ban on disposable plastic water bottles on their campuses and we respect their approach to this issue. However, we have decided to pursue a different approach, for several reasons.
First, we make a tremendous effort to make reusable water bottles a convenient choice for all Wake Forest students, staff, and faculty. At present there are six hydration stations located in high traffic areas around campus. These stations are designed to facilitate the use of reusable water bottles and to keep a running count of how many disposable water bottles each unit keeps from ending up in the landfill.
Second, we see our role as providing the information members of our campus community need to make their own decisions – information on the environmental, financial, and health impacts of bottled water. The theoretical free hand of the market requires good information to function. Third, hydration is important for health. You should always carry a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go, but, if you forget yours, it is healthier to consume a disposable plastic bottle of water than a disposable plastic bottle of soda. Email us your thoughts at .
Q. I heard that the Environmental Program is making modifications to its minor curriculum. What are these changes and which students will it affect?
Q: Over the summer I read a few books that got me thinking about where my food comes from. I’ve adjusted my habits at home and I would like to continue eating responsibly when I get back to Wake. Where can I find information on restaurants that serve locally sourced food and other sustainable dining options?
A: Winston-Salem is a great city for those seeking to eat responsibly. If you are interested in eating out, our Green Guide has a listing of local green dining options, ranging all the way from cafes to fine dining. If you like to do your own cooking, check out an updated listing of famers markets on Slow Food Piedmont Triad’s web page. You could also consider buying a CSA membership. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and buying a membership is like owning a small piece of a farm over the course of one growing season. Every week you will receive a box of goods from the farmer, according to the size of your share. Some CSAs have different sized packages to meet different needs and you can also split a single membership between a few friends. Sign-ups happen in the winter, before the growing season, so that farmers know how much to plant. Three local CSAs to consider are Harmony Ridge, Shore Farm Organics, and Goat Lady Dairy. Also look out for sustainable dining initiatives on campus, like the Fresh Food Company’s monthly Farm-to-Fork Friday and the Nutrition Fair hosted by the campus nutritionist each semester.