Wake Forest University

Sustainability at Wake Forest

Meet Wake Forest’s Newest Human-Powered Parking Enforcement Officer

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Meet Wake Forest’s Newest Human-Powered Parking Enforcement Officer

April 28th, 2016

kathy_kullman_wfu_sustainabilityWake Forest University’s newest parking enforcement officer, Kathy Kullman, exudes an overall friendly and approachable demeanor. It’s not her appearance or her personality that sets her apart from other parking attendants. The reason is not difficult to pinpoint: she’s human-powered.

Kullman has committed to biking throughout a significant portion of her workday. After previously working as a bicycle patrol officer for a school in California, it was a “no-brainer” when Alex Crist, Director of Parking and Transportation, asked about her preference on biking.

“Having a parking enforcement officer on bike is great for our campus,” says Crist. “We are saving money on fuel, reducing our carbon footprint, and providing an invaluable resource of increased accessibility to our campus community.”

Parking enforcement officers can unfortunately generate negative perceptions at times. Enabling officers to patrol on bike can help break down these barriers and increase engagement with community members. Kullman, who has been on bike for approximately one month, recalls countless positive interactions with students, faculty, and staff while biking. One such interaction involved a faculty member applauding her for her efforts.

“Being on bike has provided a wonderful opportunity to take on the role of liaison for the Department of Parking and Transportation, and for Wake Forest University,” says Kullman. “It’s easy to miss things while I’m in a vehicle, such as a lost wallet lying on the ground or a potential safety hazard. Being on a bike allows me to spot items like this more easily.”

Kullman also believes doing her job on bike “sets a great example for living a more sustainable lifestyle and provides a great way to stay in shape.” Kullman currently spends approximately half of her shift on bike and half in a vehicle, but with the weather becoming nicer–it’s her goal to be on the bike 99% of the time.

Matthew Burczyk, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Winston Salem Department of Transportation, completed a shortened version of the League of American Bicyclists safety course with Kathy prior to her time spent on the bike. He discussed and demonstrated important safety issues and techniques to better prepare her for bicycle patrol shifts.

“I commend Wake Forest for taking the lead on this initiative, and encourage the city as well as other local colleges to do the same,” says Burczyk. “Between this and the campus-wide bike sharing program, Wake Forest is quite exemplary in enhancing our mission of encouraging active forms of transportation.”

The Office of Sustainability coordinates the Re-Cycle bike-sharing program, which enables students, faculty and staff to borrow a bike at no cost for either semester-long or short-term use.

Class of ’16 invited to sign Green Grad Pledge

April 27th, 2016

IMG_3794Members 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.

 

Reduce Waste at Move-Out

April 26th, 2016

20100614donate4472Did 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:

 

Deacs Donate

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.

 

Better World Books

What? Textbooks (and any books less than 10 years old)

When? April 29 – May 19

How? All books can be deposited in collection boxes located conveniently near the registers in the bookstore textbook department. You don’t even have to wait in line.

Why? Even if the bookstore can’t buy back your books, they have value to someone. Better World Books collects and resells these volumes to fund literacy initiatives at home and abroad. Those books that cannot be resold are donated directly to partner programs around the world.

 

Recyclable Waste

What? Paper, cans/bottles, cardboard

When? April 29 – May 8

How? Recycle paper, cans, bottles, and cardboard by depositing them in the blue bags given to all residents. Bags can be placed next to the BLUE recycling signs outside residence halls.

Why? Recycling reduces waste and strengthens the circular, closed-loop economy.

 

Recycling Tote Collection

What? Small green recycling totes with white handles

When? April 29 – May 8

How? If you have a personal green recycling tote and do not wish to keep it, place it next to the GREEN recycling bin signs outside residence halls.

Why? Your tote is yours to keep for all four years. If you no longer want it, it will be collected, cleaned, and redistributed to a first-year student next year. Note: you will not receive a replacement tote next year if you choose to give it back.

 

Champions of Change Honored at Campus Sustainability Awards

April 26th, 2016

campusawardsThe Wake Forest University Campus Sustainability Awards presentation was held on Earth Day– Friday, April 22, 2016–in the Green Room of Reynolda Hall. A combination of students, faculty, and staff who have demonstrated or initiated successful sustainable practices on campus were recognized as Champions of Change.

Two individuals were honored with special awards for their meritorious leadership. Green Team captain for Reynolda House, Dan Rossow, was recognized for his work in producing zero-landfill receptions and developing recycling education for staff and visitors. Sustainability intern Alyshah Aziz, Class of 2016, was honored for her successful work in implementing the Re-Cycle bike sharing program for Wake Forest.

Wake Forest University Provost Rogan Kersh and Executive Vice President Hof Milam recognized the following award recipients in four categories: Teaching, Research and Engagement; Resource Conservation; Service and Social Action; and Bright Ideas.

For the Teaching, Research and Engagement award category, two teacher-scholars were awarded for their work to develop engaged learning opportunities for sustainability. Dr. Sarah Mason was recognized for her ability to bring mathematics to life by teaching students how to calculate energy generation and analyze the feasibility of various generation sources. Professor Vanessa Zboreak, who teaches sustainability law and policy courses, was presented an award for her work in “empowering students to accomplish their dreams, resulting in leaders who will build a sustainable future.”

For the Resource Conservation award category, the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs was recognized for its many sustainability-related accomplishments, such as going paperless. Thanks to new systems, they can create, approve, and submit proposals electronically. A team of campus leaders, Jessica Wallace from Aramark and John Wise from Hospitality, were awarded for their efforts to create a zero landfill dining operation in the North Dining Hall.

For the Service and Social Action award category, Professor Justin Catanoso, director of Wake Forest’s journalism program and a “constant voice for change on our campus,” was awarded for his ongoing research and reporting on global climate change. Assistant dean of students and director of democratic engagement and justice programs, Marianne Magjuka, was awarded for her work in training MA in Sustainability students on the deliberative dialog process–a public discussion format that encourages communication across difference and discovery of common ground for action.

For the Bright Ideas award category, Lee Colette from Outdoor Pursuits and Eric Stottlemyer from the Department of English were awarded for their collaboration to implement a first-of-its-kind Environmental Studies Course entitled “Contemplative Approaches to Global Sustainability.” At the conclusion of the innovative course, students will take what they have learned out of the classroom and into the Alaska wilderness for two weeks in the backcountry. David Link from the Z. Smith Reynolds Library, an avid home gardener and beekeeper, was recognized for providing and tending to a valuable, much-needed resource in the Campus Garden: honeybees.

A special group of awards also went to individuals who were nominated for their efforts to inspire others to live more sustainably: John Noble from The Bridge; Tanisha Ramachandran from the Department for the Study of Religions; Natascha Romeo and Sharon Woodard from Health and Exercise Science; Preston Stockton and John Kiger from Reynolda Gardens; Janine Tillett, an All-Star Volunteer; and Gail Bretan from Jewish Life.

Call for 2016 Sustainability Interns

April 19th, 2016
The fall interns for the Office of Sustainability come together for a picture on Monday, October 5th, 2015.

The fall interns for the Office of Sustainability come together for a picture on Monday, October 5th, 2015.

Are you a student interested in making a difference and gaining professional development experience? The following paid internships are available to all Wake Forest University students for fall 2016. In order to apply, please fill out this form. Unless otherwise noted, these internships are with the Office of Sustainability. Please note, interns are required to attend an on-campus sustainability orientation August 24th – 26th.

Internship applications are due by Thursday, April 28th at 5:00pm.

Campus Garden

The intern will collaborate with expert garden mentors, faculty, staff, student, and community volunteers to manage the campus garden across from Spry Soccer Stadium on Polo Road. Management entails all aspects of growing seasonally appropriate crops including, but not limited to, developing and maintaining rotation and cover cropping plans, starting and transplanting crops, watering, mulching, and composting food/yard waste.  The intern will coordinate garden volunteer opportunities, explore service learning possibilities with interested faculty, organize major events in the campus garden, and maintain a vibrant and engaging communications plan. The successful candidate will have strong organizational skills and social media experience.

Greeks Go Green

The intern will lead the Greeks Go Green initiative by holding regular meetings with established Greeks Go Green representatives, organizing monthly presentations and events throughout the semester, and coordinating with the Office of the Dean of Students. The intern must be an active member of a recognized Greek organization on campus. Excellent leadership and organizational skills are required.

Social Media and Digital Arts

The intern will contribute to the implementation of a social media strategy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to engage constituents. This intern is also expected to provide support in marketing for events and programs. The successful candidate will have experience in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and other similar platforms.

News Writing Intern

The intern will work with staff in the Office of Sustainability to develop content for the campus sustainability website, with a focus on news stories. The intern will contribute to the production of a monthly electronic newsletter, based on the news stories written for the website. Strong writing skills are required and sustainability literacy is preferred. Applications from both graduate and undergraduate students will be accepted. In addition to the application form, please submit two samples of published news writing.

Facilities and Campus Services – Resource Conservation

The intern will assist Facilities and Campus Services with communications, energy and water conservation competitions, and monitoring energy and water usage on the campus. 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 experience using Excel and a passion for reducing energy and water usage.

ARAMARK – Sustainability in Dining 
Learn more about the responsibilities of the Sustainability in Dining intern on ARAMARK’s website.

Tree Tags on Campus Mark Arbor Day Celebration

April 14th, 2016

wfu-tree-tags-2016How valuable are trees to you? Some of the yellow tree tags you’ve seen around campus offer the calculated value of ecosystem services that the trees provide. Others offer the general positive benefits of trees in our landscape. Still others offer sentiments from treasured authors about the inestimable value of our beloved trees.

The WFU Arbor Day Celebration takes place on Tuesday, April 19th from 4:00-6:00pm at the Reynolda Village trailhead. We will roll up our sleeves to plant some more trees and clean up the streams and forests that line our beautiful campus. Everyone who registers will enjoy a cookout following the service; vegetarian options available. This event takes place rain or shine, and is sponsored by Greeks Go Green, Landscaping Services, WFU Residence Life & Housing, Student Engagement, and the Pro Humanitate Institute.  To register for this event, click here.

Students Moderate Civil Discourse at NC Power Dialog

April 14th, 2016

power-dialog-studentsBy Lauren Newton
MA in Sustainability Candidate

Last week, the North Carolina Power Dialog allowed students to participate in civil discourse through a different lens: their own. The US has made a climate commitment of 30% cuts in global warming pollution by 2030. Unfortunately, energy-related issues in the United States have been politicized to the point that young stakeholders often feel disempowered and forced to accept the status quo of political stalemate.

The mission of the national Power Dialog was to allow 10,000 students to engage in face-to-face dialog with state officials and energy experts in more than thirty states nationwide. Students and faculty for North Carolina’s dialog hailed from Wake Forest, Appalachian State University, Duke University, Guilford College, and NC A&T University.

The student participants of the Power Dialog were given the opportunity to speak up, for their opinions must be strongly considered when making critical decisions about the planet’s future. Wesley Skidmore, a sophomore at Wake Forest who is majoring in physics and mathematics, reflected on the experience: “The Power Dialog provided me with an excellent opportunity to engage in a complex discussion about North Carolina’s energy regulations, and gave me a chance to voice my qualms and opinions to representatives from the companies and agencies who will play a large part in determining North Carolina’s future plans for energy.”

The event was attended primarily by undergraduates from participating colleges and universities. Graduate students, however, played a critical role. Students in the Applied Sustainability class in Wake Forest’s M.A. Sustainability program collaboratively developed an issue guide prior to the event to help guide moderated breakout discussions. “My experience as a graduate student in Sustainability has allowed me access to a debate I’m usually excluded from…” explained Kelsey Gaude, a graduate student at Wake Forest.

The issue guide was informed by a series of in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in civil society, government, and the energy sector. For example, Gaude interviewed stakeholders from NC A&T University’s Center for Energy Technology and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute: “They believe the topic is critical, so anyone willing to engage is an ally.” The following perspectives emerged on how North Carolina could proceed in meeting the US climate commitment:

1. Stay the current course toward GHG reductions
2. Increase efficiency in our buildings and infrastructure
3. Increase the deployment of renewable energy technologies
4. Increase education and advocacy for greenhouse gas reduction

M.A. candidates acted either as moderators or scribes in each of three breakout sessions to discuss these themes. Scribes were challenged with the task of accurately capturing participant perspectives and stories in just a few words. For M.A. Sustainability candidates, who could have been considered “experts” in the discussion but served as neutral moderators, without adding personal commentary, was equally challenging.

While the dialog succeeded in giving students access to powerful stakeholders like the NC Department of Environmental Quality and the US EPA, it was at times difficult for students to embrace their own power and voice. In one breakout session, for example, the conversation was at times dominated by sparring between the state’s primary utility provider and another expert stakeholder. While the dialog’s intentional foray into civil discourse was applauded by several industry and governmental stakeholders, the instinct for some to engage in a more polemical debate was difficult to resist.

Once breakout sessions concluded, participants from all three groups rejoined for a collective debrief on action items. Increased education and advocacy were identified as emerging priorities for North Carolina, and staying the current course toward GHG reductions is simply not enough. “Different minded people were able to find common ground, which was a fantastic way to see how progress can occur,” concluded Gaude. Students of all ages should continue to develop confidence in their ability to communicate across difference, to view complex issues from multiple perspectives, and ultimately to discover viable solutions–for they have the greatest stake in the future of the planet.

View the North Carolina Power Dialog photos below on Flickr.

North Carolina Power Dialog

 

FAQ: Recycle Bins and Totes

March 18th, 2016

Q. How do I get a desk-side recycling bin for my office?

A. The Reynolda campus transitioned to desk-side recycling collection for faculty and staff in the spring of 2015. Small blue bins labeled with “Paper, Cans, Bottles” stickers are available for pick-up in the Office of Sustainability. Any desk-side bin with a “Paper, Cans, Bottles” sticker will be regularly emptied by Reynolda campus custodial staff. Larger bins for copy rooms, conference areas, or hallways can be ordered through the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling.

Q. How do I get a green recycling tote for my Residence Hall room?

A. Green recycling totes are distributed during move-in to all first-year students. Students are encouraged to keep their recycling totes for the duration of their time at WFU. The Office of Sustainability keeps a few totes in Reynolda Hall – Room 101 for students who need replacements. Students who return totes during move-out are not guaranteed replacements in the following year. Totes that are returned during move-out are cleaned and redistributed to new students during move-in.

Re-Cycle Bike Sharing Program Challenges Car Culture on Campus

March 17th, 2016

It was February 9, 2016 and the area in front of Benson University Center was filled with close to 100 bikes. In a matter of hours, all bikes had been reserved for semester-long use at no cost to students, faculty and staff.

Re-Cycle-Bike-SharingImplementing a free bike-sharing program on a college campus was no easy feat. But behind every successful initiative is an inspired change agent who made it happen—conducted surveys, did the research, identified the means, and converted inspiration to action. Alyshah Aziz, a Politics and International Affairs major from the class of 2016, was that person for Wake Forest University.

It began with CHARGE—WFU’s ten-week leadership development program for first and second-year students. In 2013, Aziz and her group members identified a problem with current modes of transportation in the campus community. Single occupancy vehicles impact roadways, air pollution, health and the greater environment. In an effort to encourage more sustainable transportation modes, they proposed a bike-sharing program for students, faculty and staff. However, when they presented this idea to the WFU Office of Sustainability, they discovered it wasn’t the first time such a program had been proposed. The problem had been implementing the idea. Was there sufficient demand for this program? How would it be funded? Who would manage it?
The ten-week CHARGE program came and went, but Aziz’ passion remained ignited. She applied for a unique internship with the Office of Sustainability to continue the investigation and was accepted. Her initial work included a robust study of demand on campus, including evaluation of price sensitivity among potential user groups.

The tipping point that led to the initiation of the program was the discovery that more than a hundred bikes were abandoned on campus every summer. The organization that had been the recipient of the abandoned property in the past could not use any more bikes. With one solution to two problems in hand, Aziz engaged a variety of other campus offices and organizations to initiate a plan. She partnered with the WFU Cycling Team, Outdoor Pursuits, and University Police to collect and restore 65 usable bicycles that were abandoned on the WFU campus following the 2015 spring semester.

August 2015 marked the pilot program for Re-Cycle, named for the re-use of bicycles that were previously abandoned. To meet unmet demand from the first semester, the Office of Sustainability, WFU Student Activities Fund and the Office of Wellbeing provided financial support to purchase 45 new bikes for the spring semester program. As of February 2016, all bikes had been reserved and over 200 individuals had expressed interest in the program since its pilot.

All WFU students, faculty and staff are eligible to participate in the Re-Cycle bike-sharing program, and there is no cost to borrow a bike. Individuals may reserve a bike for semester-long or short-term use at Outdoor Pursuits. The wait-list for semester-long rentals continues to grow as the program gains popularity. Aside from enabling a free and more sustainable alternative to driving, Re-Cycle also supports the physical well-being of the campus community.

“I hope this program inspires students, faculty and staff to think differently about the way they get from one location to the next,” says Aziz, who will graduate this May. “It’s not easy to influence car culture, and the Re-Cycle bike-sharing program is an important milestone in doing just that.”

In reflecting on the successful launch of this initiative, Dedee DeLongpre Johnston, the campus Chief Sustainability Officer, offered “It’s difficult to estimate how many students come to us each year with ‘good ideas.’ It’s far easier to count those who bring their ideas to fruition. Alyshah’s commitment to execution and professionalism in everything she does is inspiring.”

Farrell Hall Receives LEED Gold Certification

March 15th, 2016

Farrell Hall, the 130,000 square-foot home to Wake Forest University’s School of Business, recently received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification.

Farrell-Hall-LEED-Gold

Photo Courtesy of the WFU School of Business

Among the strategies that contributed to Farrell Hall’s Gold-level certification is its inclusion of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood paneling and regional materials. Almost 30% of the building materials by value were manufactured within 500 miles of the project site. More than 80% of on-site generated construction waste from the project was diverted from landfills. The incorporation of bicycle storage facilities also encourages alternative transportation.

One of the most notable features of the building is its open floor plan with classrooms, offices and social spaces on every floor—an intentional design aspect that encourages faculty-student interaction. Before Farrell Hall’s opening in 2013, School of Business faculty, staff, undergraduates and graduates were housed in two separate buildings on the Reynolda campus.

“Farrell Hall was designed to be an innovative space from the ground up. Our aim was to provide a remarkable home for our school, without compromising our commitment to sustainability. Our open, collaborative environment fosters business education and encourages engagement between faculty, staff and students,” said Charles Iacovou, Sisel Distinguished Dean of the School of Business. “Achieving LEED Gold certification places the School of Business in excellent company at Wake Forest.”

Georgian-style façades facing east, north and south feature Wake Forest’s classic Deacon Blend brick. The building’s modern, glass-covered west side is shaded by a loggia and overlooks a terrace surrounded by a wooded lawn. A minimal number of trees were removed for the project’s construction. “Farrell Hall was sited and organized to take advantage of an existing grove of mature pin oak trees,” said Marek Turzynski, LEED Accredited Senior Associate at Robert A.M. Stern Architects, who served as the firm’s project manager for Farrell Hall.

All new buildings on Wake Forest’s campus are designed to meet a minimum LEED Silver standard. Farrell Hall was made possible by a generous gift from Mike and Mary Farrell in 2010, broke ground in 2011, and opened its doors to students in July of 2013. Prior to any project receiving certification from the US Green Building Council, a post-occupancy performance verification is required. The process to certify projects isn’t quick, as “commissioning of building systems is a complicated process,” explained Turzynski. “A lot of documentation has to be compiled and verified.”

Farrell Hall features 18 total classrooms, 16 of which have natural light—a contributing factor in decreasing energy usage. The building can house 1,250+ students and features office/work areas for 170 faculty and staff. Click here to learn more about Farrell Hall.