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Holiday Setback Program

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Holiday Setback Program

January 26th, 2015

ThermostatThink you were the only one resting this holiday break?

Think again.

This past winter holiday break marked the seventh year Wake Forest has participated in the “Holiday Setback” program, during which we allow electrical use and steam production a bit of a holiday break—conserving both money and energy.

The energy savings during this 2014 winter break is estimated at $32,648; electrical savings were $28,436 (475,840 kWh) and natural gas savings were $4,212 (842 dT).

All seven holiday setbacks total to savings of $274,143.

This is one of the many examples of how sustainable practices are a great idea not only for the planet but also for our budgets.

By Andrea Becker (’16), Staff Writer

Where Are They Now: Kathleen Pritchard

January 21st, 2015

016The outdoors has always been a part of Kathleen Pritchard’s life. A 2010 graduate of Wake Forest University with a degree in political science and minors in biology and environmental science, Kathleen has carried out her passion for the environment by continuing her studies in environmental law and policy; she is now a third year law student at the University of Texas in Austin.

After graduation, Kathleen took two years off before continuing her education. Her hiatus began with a return to a former post at Wilderness Ventures, where she guided backpacking and climbing trips in the Pacific Northwest. She then spent time in Oxford, MS to study for the LSAT and to gain experience at a small family practice law firm. Once she completed this, she gathered her things and traveled to Argentina where she spent seven months teaching English. She refers to this stint as one of her most rewarding experiences since graduating from college, as she had to learn Spanish on the go and was living with a host family in a small town in the Santa Fe province. Telluride, CO was next on her list, where she enjoyed skiing and hiking every moment she could before it was time for her to begin law school in Austin.

Kathleen continues to live her passion at the University of Texas where she joined the Texas Environment Law Journal, participated in the Environmental Law Clinic, worked on a directed study with her environmental law professor, and most recently, interned at the Environmental Protection Agency in Denver, CO.

While at Wake Forest, Kathleen worked as a communications and outreach intern with the Office of Sustainability. She credits the internship for her decision to pursue professional work in sustainability. Her advice to students trying to figure out what they want to do after graduation: follow your passions. Kathleen began by testing the intersection of her passions and talents as an intern for the office.

After she graduates from law school, Kathleen will be clerking for Judge Sam Sparks, a federal district judge in Austin, Texas.

 Contributed by Maegan Olmstead (’15)

Tree Removed in Lot P

January 7th, 2015

cherry tree webA weeping cherry tree on the island in the middle of parking lot P on the east side of Wait Chapel was removed on January 6. The tree, which was part of the original campus planting plan, split down the trunk, rendering it unsalvageable.

This tree will be replaced with the original varietal Weeping Higan Cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’). A description of this tree states that it “grows 20 to 30 feet tall and spreads 15 to 25 feet in a graceful weeping habit. Leaves stay glossy green throughout the summer and into the fall when they turn a vivid yellow before leaving the tree bare in winter. The drooping bare branches even lend a soothing grace to the landscape in winter. There is nothing quite like the Weeping Higan Cherry in full bloom in the spring. The light pink (almost white), one-inch-diameter flowers cover the branches before the leaves emerge, giving the appearance that fresh snow has fallen on the tree.”

Landscaping Changes at Wait Chapel

January 7th, 2015
chapel before

Overgrown shrubbery at Wait Chapel

Over the winter break, Facilities and Campus Services began renovation of the courtyards to the east and west sides of the Hearn Plaza entrance to Wait Chapel. Work, which began on December 15, 2014, is scheduled for completion on January 16, 2014.

Overgrown shrubbery, which was causing damage to the building and obscuring the site, has been removed and will be replaced with a more inviting pocket garden design that opens the spaces up to Hearn Plaza. The project will include curved teak benches, brick pavers, blue stone and an entirely new planting scheme.

chapel plan

New landscaping plan at Wait Chapel

 

Get Involved: Food on Campus

January 5th, 2015

QI attended the Make Every Bite Count speaker series, but don’t feel I have any control over the food served on campus. How do I have a say in what food is served on campus?

A. There are a number of ways you can work to make a difference:

  • Join the University Dining Commission, a committee of Student Government. Any WFU student is allowed to attend meetings. Contact Caroline Smith ( ) to learn more.
  • Complete the annual WFU Dining Survey. Aramark relies heavily on this survey as its primary way of collecting feedback from you, the customer.
  • Take only what you will eat. The less food wasted, the less food purchased, and the more money available to consider purchasing more sustainably produced food.
  • Stay informed about food issues. The more informed you are about food issues, the more empowered you are to make every bite count.

 

Sustaining Dance

January 5th, 2015

dance-photo-enewsletter2Dance is an increasingly popular art form for the investigation of cultural understandings of nature. Associate Professor of Dance, Christina Soriano, engaged her students in just such an investigation this semester. Soriano, who was a member of the 2014 Magnolias Curriculum Project cohort, modified her Dance Composition class to incorporate sustainability.

Soriano challenged her students to choreograph a piece based on nature, specifically something growing in Reynolda Gardens. She asked them to observe various plants, and then choose one to explore, taking into account its color, structure, growth and movement; how it might change with the seasons, and how it might react to light. With this information, the students developed their own movement studies, aligning their dances with nature.

After the assignment, the class performed Anna Halprin’s Planetary Dance to witness how other choreographers integrate nature themes into their work.

The students were also asked to consider how an art form like dance might become more sustainable through rehearsal, repetition, and thoughtful use of time and resources. She encouraged them to consider what made dance sustainable, and to journal their thoughts and experiences.

Annie Stockstill, a student in Soriano’s class, reflected that by continuing to dance well-known pieces, “I am preserving the ongoing life of the dances, and therefore acting out sustainability.” Serena Cates expressed similar feelings, stating “Personally, I choose to perceive dance as sustainable because, although the technique, style, or choreography alters over time, the motivation and impact of it has remained.”

Magnolia Room Harvest Dinner

December 3rd, 2014

Mag-Room-Digital-Signage-Harvest-Dinner-v1.4Forty-five students and guests enjoyed a heritage & heirloom foods dinner hosted by Wake Forest Dining on October 30 as part of the series of themed Thursday evening dinners in the Magnolia Room. The dinner was the brainchild of the sustainability team at Wake Forest in an effort to expose our campus community to heirloom and heritage foods native to and available in and around the North Carolina region. The evening’s menu featured the following local fare: pawpaws, sweet potatoes, apple butter, Joyce Farms poultry – chicken breasts, chicken sausage and chicken wings, persimmons, butternut squash ravioli, pink eyed peas, figs, and lima beans.

Joyce Farms donated the poultry served as part of an ongoing effort to bring awareness of their farm’s local quality products. The butternut squash ravioli, pink eyed peas, lima beans, sweet potatoes, and apple butter were all procured from farms and vendors from whom Wake Forest University regularly purchases local items. Procurement of both the pawpaws and persimmons was the trickiest task in rounding out the menu as pawpaw season tends to fall in late summer and both fruits are grown locally in limited quantities. Fortunately, several farmers in North Carolina have taken a particular interest in the pawpaw and have begun establishing orchards that grow up to 30 varieties of the fruit, and Wake Forest Dining was able to procure a large enough supply of whole frozen pawpaws, persimmons and figs from one of these farmers (Parker’s Pawpaw Patch) to include in a variety of menu items. Serving a meal such as our Heritage Dinner, which is done on a significantly smaller scale than meals typically served in our dining halls, allows for flexibility and creativity in expanding our menus to incorporate a wider variety of local foods.

Local sourcing is one element of Wake Forest Dining’s responsible purchasing program. It supports local farmers and economies, benefits the environment by reducing the amount of transportation fuel and emissions required to deliver foods, and in the case of seafood, supports the health of local fisheries.

Every day, we look for ways to incorporate responsibly purchased items into the mix of menu offerings, and by using environmentally friendly items in our operations. We have also established a variety of unique partnerships, so that we can offer clients and customers fresh, safe, whole foods that are raised, grown, harvested, and produced locally and in a sustainable manner whenever possible.

 Contributed by Kate Ruley, Nutrition Director at Wake Forest Dining

Southern Heirloom Apple Tree Project

December 1st, 2014

IMG_3546“Ugly” is not the first word that comes to mind when considering which apple to eat. It does, however, describe the appearance of many heirloom apple varieties that have been lost since the standardization of the modern food system. The wild or “ugly” apple is known to have originated in Kazakhstan, and was brought to North America soon after the English settled in 1607. As cider became popular in the United States, apple seeds and grafted seedlings were planted throughout the country. This brought great biodiversity to the South with as many as 1,800 different heirloom varieties. Only 500 of those varieties, however, are still known to be in existence. This decline led Creighton Lee Calhoun, Jr. to serve as one of the foremost leaders in apple conservation in North America. He has dedicated his life to researching, growing and celebrating this ancient fruit, and has published his work in Old Southern Apples. Today, many of these old southern heirloom varieties are at risk of disappearing forever.

Inspired by Lee Calhoun’s love for apples, Salem Neff is working with her mother, Margaret Norfleet Neff, to continue the tradition of planting and growing out old southern heirloom apples. They are initiating the Southern Heirloom Apple Tree Project to revive cultural heritage and regional biodiversity. As a part of this project, the southern heirloom apple varieties, Sparger (origins in Mount Airy, NC) and Dula’s Beauty (origins in Caldwell County, NC) were planted in the historic Reynolda Gardens earlier this month. This mother-daughter team would like to encourage universities, organizations, and members of the community also to plant and grow heirloom apple trees of their own to protect and celebrate geographic heritage, agricultural biodiversity, and to promote good stewardship of the land.

The Southern heirloom apple project and initial planting coincided with Wake Forest’s fall speaker series, Make Every Bite Count . During the kick-off panel event, orchardist Eliza Greenman challenged the audience to eat ugly apples in order to preserve our bio-cultural heritage and to diversify our regional food economy. The final series’ keynote speaker, Dr. Vandana Shiva, supported the call and challenged us further to consider the connections between our conceptions of beauty and standardization. Shiva, whose non-profit Navdanya includes a 50-acre working farm, joined the apple planting ceremony, skillfully transferring the trees and soil into their new homes. The apple trees complement Pawpaw and American Persimmon trees on the main campus.

Lee Calhoun reminds us to encourage our elders to pass down their stories of growing, cooking, eating and drinking the juice of these fruits. By identifying, nurturing, and choosing to eat these heirloom varieties, you can help preserve a heritage that once defined the region. For those interested in being part of the Southern Heirloom Apple Tree Project, please contact Salem and Margaret at .

Wake Forest University also invites other colleges and universities to join us in celebrating agricultural biodiversity by propagating, cooking, studying, and celebrating foods with regional biocultural significance. Click here for more information.

Contributed by Jennifer Miller (’14), Special Campaign Coordinator

Reimagining How the World is Fed

November 19th, 2014

shiva-news-release-header“Rejuvenating the earth should be the outcome of the food system.” Vandana Shiva made this call for awareness and action last week during her visit to Wake Forest University. On Tuesday, Nov. 4, Shiva lectured as a part of the “Make Every Bite Count” speaker series, organized by multiple partners. On Wednesday, Nov. 5, Shiva led a community forum with students, faculty, and staff at the School of Divinity.

The “Make Every Bite Count” series featured other events including a panel discussion and film screening of GMO OMG with filmmaker Jeremy Seifert. The series aimed to investigate the role of agricultural biodiversity in our local, regional, and global food systems. The final keynote lecture by Shiva highlighted the challenges and opportunities of feeding the world with sustainable agriculture.

Shiva is the author of Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development and the founder of Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources – especially native seed – and to promote sustainable farming and fair trade. Her newest book, Who Really Feeds the World?, will be available next year.

During her lecture and in the community forum, Shiva consistently referred to the “patenting of life,” in relation to the patents held on seeds by industrial food producers. “Ecosystems produce food, not companies,” she said. “Destroying seeds destroys life. Saving seeds is an ethical duty.” The world is at a point where the diversity of creation needs to be reclaimed and valued for that diversity.  Saving seeds is one way to preserve and continue the variety of life forms around us.

“We are not masters of the earth, we are a part of the earth family,” Shiva said during Tuesday’s lecture. “The process of commercial agriculture displaces diversity and people. There is a division in labor and knowledge.”

Shiva has concerns not only for the production methods of agriculture, but also the impact of food on health and wellbeing. “How we grow food is related to disease,” she said. She gave examples on how malnutrition occurs because food lacks essential minerals and the ways toxins from the chemicals used impact bodies in negative and life-threatening ways.

“Rejuvenating the earth should be the outcome of the food system.” This call echoed as Shiva gave glimpses of hope about the work that is being done and the work religious leaders are called to do on food issues. She recalled the abolition movements in the U.S. and India as a historical framework of resistance movements that changed social practices. She encouraged faith communities to plant “gardens of hope” as a beginning point of resistance. “Faith communities throughout the world already are responsible for feeding communities through soup kitchens and food pantries,” Shiva said. “Let’s link the feeding and outreach to the growing of food.”

Shiva’s call to action resounded with many. Fred Bahnson, director of the School of Divinity’s Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative, said it was encouraging to have her on campus. “She inspired us, challenged us, and made us laugh. To hear this global food leader talk about the importance of faith communities working to create food justice and ecological healing was especially encouraging, because it means we’re on the right track.”

Second-year divinity student Pia Diggs is interested in learning more about holistic health and how the food industry is impacting the food she consumes. “After hearing Shiva speak, I have an increased awareness to be more cognizant about my intake of food and a greater concern for how it is being produced,” she said. Diggs worked in a community health center last summer in a low-income area of Greensboro, NC that has been designated as a food desert. “What you eat effects your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional states, so if you are not eating well-prepared food, it will directly affect your entire being.”

Links of Interest

Focus on food in the forest – WFU News Center

(http://news.wfu.edu/2014/11/05/focus-on-food-in-the-forest/)

Make Every Bite Count Fall Speaker Series

(http://sustainability.wfu.edu/make-every-bite-count/)

Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative)

(http://divinity.wfu.edu/food-and-faith/)

Thrive: Well-Being at Wake Forest University

(http://thrive.wfu.edu/)

About Wake Forest University School of Divinity

The Wake Forest University School of Divinity is a growing, dynamic and ecumenical theological institution that prepares men and women to be religious leaders in a changing world. The School currently offers the Master of Divinity degree and several dual degrees in law, bioethics, counseling, education, and sustainability offered jointly with other schools of the University. Through imaginative courses and diverse programs of community engagement, students are equipped to be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian churches and other ministries.

By Mark Batten, School of Divinity

Shiva at the Forest: In Review

November 19th, 2014
Busby

Molly Dutmers/Old Gold & Black

I was introduced to the work of Vandana Shiva only a year ago.  It was a hot, spring day in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Pro Humanitate Institute’s Shelley Sizemore and I were unwinding with other Wake Alternative Break participants after a day on an urban farm.  Needless to say, food justice and food security were already on the brain, making the introduction of Shiva’s work impeccably timed.  The introduction, and resulting insatiable intrigue, were facilitated by none other than Shelley herself.  She was reading Shiva’s “Staying Alive” at the time, and shared several quotes from the book’s opening pages.  Each quote was poignant, unapologetic, and pointed to the various ways in which some human practices have corroded balance, both ecological and otherwise. For me, the handful of quotes demonstrated Shiva’s deep understanding of nuanced need, and prompted my interest in her work.  Additionally, and importantly, I desired to better understand my own role in contributing to the sustainable, conscious agricultural and ecological practices our world so desperately needs.

When I learned that Shiva was visiting Wake Forest, I was overjoyed.  The opportunity to attend her keynote, and engage further with her writing through book clubs hosted on Wake’s campus, was immensely appealing.  In truth, neither engagement disappointed.  At the “Staying Alive” book club, I was surrounded by members of the Wake Forest community and of the broader, all-encompassing Winston-Salem community.  My book club co-host was a former member of Forsyth Local Food, a local consortium that works to further program development and food policy within the existing Forsyth community food system.  Another group participant was a student like myself, whose work developing local food related entrepreneurial ventures opened his eyes to matters of accessibility and convenience in the world of local food.  Yet another participant was the owner of a local composting center, and thus provided interesting insights with regard to waste, costs, and sustainability.  Surrounded by a myriad of rich perspectives, my understanding of Shiva’s text, and of the needs of our community, deepened. Each book club participant hailed from a different place and had experienced different things where food and agriculture were concerned.  Despite these differences, we all agreed on the importance of looking to the future, and prioritizing the various facets of food justice and food security.

Like the book club, Shiva’s keynote was enriching.  Her fiery support of local, diverse, sustainable agriculture, and equally fiery denouncement of genetically modified foods and destructive industrial practices, probed me.  As an audience member, I was forced to, again, reexamine my own practices in honest ways, and think holistically about the impacts I create, both long and short term.  I found myself agreeing with Shiva’s words in some areas, and pushing back in others.  I  thought about the ways in which her proposed policies would impact those whose hunger needs were satiated by  industrially produced aid, and what support these communities might require during transitions from larger scale production to smaller scale, sustainable practices.   My ruminations were many, but importantly, my gratitude and appreciation for Vandana Shiva were reinforced. Her work is renowned for its emphasis on sustainability, consciousness, and demonstrated appreciation of local knowledge—a practice all but forgotten in many corners of the world.  As a student, I am encouraged and inspired to do my part, daily.  As a community, we should all be inspired.

Contributed by Elizabeth Busby (’15)