Wake Forest University

Sustainability at Wake Forest

Sustainability course offerings continue to grow


Sustainability course offerings continue to grow

August 29th, 2016

The fifth annual Magnolias Curriculum Project brought together ten faculty members on May 11-12, 2016, to explore extending sustainability education across disciplines. Ron Von Burg, assistant professor in the Department of Communications, and Luke Johnston, associate professor of Religion and Environmental Studies, facilitated this year’s workshop.

The workshop aims to build an interdisciplinary community of scholars dedicated to addressing sustainability and empowering these scholars to incorporate sustainability into their own courses.

This year’s cohort was a great illustration of the breadth of faculty with participation from the following departments: divinity, art, politics and international affairs, education, English, psychology and anthropology.

“I was probably most wonderfully surprised by the range of colleagues I met and formed relationships with—I really feel everyone brought something new and interesting to my world and I want to continue these relationships,” a Magnolias Curriculum Project participant said.

During this two-day workshop, participants discussed sustainability literature, developed key learning objectives for their students, and shared information from their own unique fields of study. This innovative approach to curricular change provides faculty with an intellectually stimulating environment.

“I left the workshop invigorated with new ideas and with a better framework for understanding sustainability at Wake Forest University, in Winston-Salem, regionally and globally,” a participant stated in the workshop evaluation.

Following the workshop, faculty participants submitted a syllabus for a course in which sustainability-related outcomes are integrated. These courses are either classes the faculty have been teaching and plan to teach again, or completely new courses they are developing.

An example of a new sustainability course offering is Andrew Gurstelle’s Introduction to Museum Studies which explores sustainable heritage development, the long-term sustainability of cultural sites, and the idea of cultural landscapes as social constructs.

Each year this workshop results in an increased number of courses that support a wide variety of sustainability learning objectives. This gives students from all disciplines the opportunity to pursue knowledge about sustainability through a variety of lenses. The 2016 cohort brought the number of Magnolias Curriculum Project participants up to 52.

The faculty’s revised and new syllabi are available online and serve as examples for future cohorts.

Welcome New Sustainability Staff

August 27th, 2016

The Office of Sustainability is pleased to welcome Brian Cohen and Ally Hellenga, who joined the Wake Forest Sustainability team on August 1, as the Program Coordinator and Communication and Events Coordinator, respectively.

“We are fortunate to have attracted such bright and accomplished individuals to our team. These two bring experience in both sustainability and higher education – their talents and perspectives provide a fresh and creative lens on our work,” Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, Chief Sustainability Officer for Wake Forest University, said.

Brian and AllyCohen comes to Wake Forest after serving as an assistant tennis coach at Old Dominion University and Washington & Lee University, where he also became a leader in campus sustainability. He helped introduce a number of environmental initiatives to the athletic departments at both schools and served as the Athletic Department Liaison for Environmental Initiatives at Washington & Lee.  In addition, Cohen has experience in marine conservation with two NGOs: SeaWeb and the Ocean Conservancy.

Cohen holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Bucknell University and a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

As Program Coordinator, Cohen manages all aspects of student, faculty, and staff peer education networks, collaborates with multiple units to collect and analyze sustainability-related metrics, and develops targeted operational and educational opportunities to accelerate the adoption of sustainability across campus.

“The Wake Forest campus community is comprised of some of the brightest and most dedicated people in higher education and I am honored to be working among them. I look forward to making a difference in the lives of the students, faculty, and staff and helping them to become agents for positive change,” Cohen said.

Like Cohen, Hellenga also has experience with sustainability programs and initiatives within higher education.

Hellenga has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. While at the University of Georgia, Hellenga held a two-year communications internship with the UGA Office of Sustainability—a solidifying part in her decision to pursue a career in sustainability within higher education. Hellenga also served as a sustainability intern abroad in Costa Rica where she designed the 2014-2015 Sustainability Report for the University of Georgia Costa Rica campus.

After graduating, Hellenga worked at the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability where she was tasked with marketing Atlanta as a hub for urban agriculture and the local food movement.

As the Communications and Events Coordinator, Hellenga designs and curates weekly and monthly communication pieces, manages social media accounts and coordinates special events and conferences for both the Office of Sustainability and Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability.

“I look forward to telling the stories of individuals who are implementing real sustainability initiatives on campus and are thus keeping Wake Forest on track to becoming a leader in campus sustainability,” Hellenga said.

Both Cohen and Hellenga look forward to working alongside students, faculty and staff to make Wake Forest an even more sustainable place to call home.

Stottlemyer to head Environmental Program

August 15th, 2016

ericDr. Eric Stottlemyer has been named director of the Wake Forest Environmental Program— adding yet another hat to his current work as an assistant teaching professor of the Writing Program and as the faculty director of the Learn, Experience, Navigate, Solve (LENS) Global Sustainability program.

Stottlemyer will lead the Environmental Program as former Director Dr. Abdessadek Lachgar begins a year-long sabbatical to further his research before returning to a professorship within the Chemistry Department.

In his youth, Stottlemyer recalls running around the woods and swimming in the lakes and rivers near his parents’ remote cabin in northern Michigan—the place where his passion for the environment originates. Since this point, Stottlemyer has been an active proponent of environmental education making his directorship of the Environmental Program a natural step.

When asked what makes the Environmental Program at Wake Forest great, Stottlemyer says the strength of the program stems from the high level of engagement Wake Forest professors have with their students. As director, maintaining this high level of interactivity between professors and students is essential. Additionally, Stottlemyer aims to continue previous efforts to offer a broad range of interdisciplinary classes centered on the environment, create internship and scholarship opportunities, and incorporate experiential learning opportunities into the curriculum.

“We want to give them [students] opportunities to have a world-class environmental education, and we want to see them succeed,” Stottlemyer said.

Stottlemyer assumed the role of directorship on July 1, 2016.

FAQ: Blogsites and E-Newsletters

August 5th, 2016

Q: I’m interested in learning more about sustainability initiatives and environmental happenings. What blogs and e-newsletters will help me stay up to date?

A: Besides subscribing to the WFU Office of Sustainability’s weekly updates and monthly newsletter, there is an abundant wealth of blogsites and e-newsletters to subscribe to.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) membership organization that empowers higher education faculty, administrators, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. To obtain weekly news on sustainability efforts and initiatives in the realm of higher education, subscribe to the AASHE Bulletin.

Triple Pundit is a global media platform that covers the intersection of people, the planet and profit. In both weekly and monthly newsletters, Triple Pundit covers topics ranging from global water and energy challenges to social justice and economic equality, sustainable food to corporate social responsibility, and much more.

GreenBiz seeks to advance the opportunities at the intersection of business, technology and sustainability. Through its websites, events, peer-to-peer network and research, GreenBiz promotes the potential to drive transformation and accelerate progress. Stay up to date with the intersection of business, technology and sustainability by subscribing to the GreenBuzz e-newsletter.

Congratulations Class of 2016 Interns

May 27th, 2016
Alyshah was recognized for her Sustainability Leadership at the annual Champions of Change awards ceremony.

Alyshah was recognized for her Sustainability Leadership at the annual Champions of Change awards ceremony.

Alyshah Aziz graduated Cum Laude with a major in Politics & International Affairs and a minor in Middle East & South Asian Studies. Alyshah served as an Alternative Transportation Intern for six consecutive semesters. She is working as a Business Analyst within Deloitte’s Federal Human Capital Consulting division.

Alyshah’s reflection on the internship: My internship with the Office of Sustainability helped me strengthen my skills in research, writing, marketing, and creativity. My time in the office and my friendships with Dedee, Hannah, Annabel, initiative co-sponsors, and interns are invaluable to me. My biggest takeaway that I will always carry with me is to think critically of what I read, hear, and see. The weekly intern meetings taught me to listen to what I hear and/or see and then investigate. My internship has lead me to view the world and all the activities of humankind from a holistic perspective. 

Bridget Bauman graduated Cum Laude with a major in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. Bridget served as a Dining Services Intern for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Bridget’s reflection on the internship: My time as an intern with the Office of Sustainability helped to cement my interest in sustainability and environmental studies particularly with a focus on food sustainability. I quickly learned how to approach a professional workplace thanks to the structure of the internship. The strong deadlines and high expectations pushed me to reach goals and produce concise and informative outreach materials. I learned many business skills that I know will help me in the years to come.

We wish all of our former interns who graduated with the Class of 2016 a fond farewell:

Andrea Becker, Staff Writer, graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors in Sociology and a major in Women’s & Gender Studies, with a minor in German Language.

Lauren Formica, Gameday Recycling intern, graduated with honors in Economics, and minors in International Studies and Environmental Studies.

Sarah Millsaps, summer Campus Garden manager, graduated Magna Cum Laude with majors in Anthropology and English.

Stewart Rickert, Greeks Go Green intern, graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors in both Economics &Politics and International Affairs.

Graduates Commit to Living Green

May 26th, 2016
Graduating Sustainability Interns Stewart Rickert and Alyshah Aziz host the sixth annual Green Grad pledge.

Graduating Sustainability Interns Stewart Rickert and Alyshah Aziz host the sixth annual Green Grad pledge.

Over 200 WFU graduates made an enduring commitment to sustainability by signing the Green Graduation pledge, an opportunity that over 100 other colleges and universities offer their graduates. All signatories received a reusable travel mug to reinforce sustainable habits.  The mugs are printed with Wake Forest’s Green Graduation pledge: I pledge 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 I work, live and play.

This is the sixth year that Wake Forest graduates have participated in the nationwide pledge movement.

Graduates who missed the initial opportunity to commit can come by the Office of Sustainability during our Homecoming reception in the fall to sign the pledge and/or grab a reusable mug.

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.


Campus Sustainability Awards Honor Champions of Change

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.