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Sustainability at Wake Forest

Sowing Seeds of Sustainability at the Campus Garden

News

Sowing Seeds of Sustainability at the Campus Garden

December 8th, 2016

by Office of Sustainability News Intern, Suzanne Mullins

Have you visited the Campus Garden? Located on Polo Road, the Campus Garden draws student, faculty, and staff volunteers to aid with crop cultivation and maintenance. Managing the garden are three Wake Forest students and Office of Sustainability interns—senior Akua Maat, junior Megan Blackstock, and junior Nick Judd.

But, what responsibilities come with being a Campus Garden intern? How does the Campus Garden aid in educating volunteers? And lastly, why are these three individuals so invested in a sustainable future? I sat down with each of them to find out.

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Sustainability Is An Interdisciplinary Study

November 18th, 2016

by Kellie Shanaghan

Environmental studies and sustainability are fields that overlap with nearly every major, degree, and career.  Improving Earth’s climate so that humans can continue to live here should be on the forefront of the minds of educators, politicians, students, and everyday citizens.

Yet, even at institutes of higher education, such as Wake Forest, a majority of the student body lacks both knowledge and initiative to make sustainability a priority.

“Even though I realize that climate has a large impact on the world, I as an individual do not feel as though I can help or harm the environment in any way,” said Sierra Burick, a sophomore pre-dental student.

On a campus where the general public shortsightedly lacks both knowledge and initiative to enact change, there are alumni from Wake Forest who have gone on to have significant roles in environmental protection and sustainability.  There is also an increase in sustainability careers, as well as an increasing interdisciplinary application of the subject.

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From Piano Keys to Georgia Trees

November 16th, 2016

One of the most respected keyboardists in the world of rock’n’roll visits Wake Forest to speak about environmental stewardship and conservation

When you think of living a double life, the action-packed escapades of professional spies, secret agents and undercover cops come to mind. For Chuck Leavell, living a double life is simply a way to combine his passions and talents—and it certainly is action-packed.

Leavell has spent over half of his life performing with bands and artists such as the Rolling Stones, the Black Crowes, the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, George Harrison and John Mayer. Living on tour buses, waking up at noon in foreign cities and playing music for millions of screaming fans differs greatly from Leavell’s other life as a Georgia tree farmer.

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Student-Run Coffee Shop Supports Local Food Industry, Supporting Sustainability

November 5th, 2016

by Julia Sawchak

While student’s taste buds are happy about upgrades to the Campus Grounds menu, its stomachs aren’t the only ones benefiting from these menu additions.

Campus Grounds initiative to include more local products heavily reduces their carbon footprint and boosts the Winston-Salem economy.

Conventional food distribution is responsible for five to 17 times more carbon dioxide than local and regionally produced food, meaning local purchases drastically reduce our carbon emissions through shorter drives to purchasers, according to research from Columbia University. Many individuals are now choosing to purchase local as a part of their personal sustainability practices.

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The Pit Celebrates Local Farmers

November 1st, 2016

Diners at the Fresh Food Company were treated to a taste of the local community on Tuesday, October 25, as Wake Forest Dining celebrated local farmers and suppliers.  Representatives from Henderson’s Best (Hendersonville, NC / apples and more), MicroGreen King (Boonville, NC / microgreens), and Milkco (Asheville / milk) set up displays in the Pit to provide information and samples to students, faculty, and staff.

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A New Way to Recharge

October 4th, 2016

Five and a half hours. That is the amount of time it takes for Powersol charging umbrellas on Reynolda Patio to fully recharge. Two hours. The total amount of time it takes for solar-powered umbrellas to charge an iPhone from zero to 100 percent—the same amount of time it takes your typical wall socket.

dsc_4380Over the summer, the Office of Sustainability, Hospitality & Auxiliary Services, and Facilities & Campus Services teamed up to bring five solar-powered patio umbrellas to the Reynolda Hall patio, allowing students to charge their small electronic devices with renewable energy from the sun.

“The solar shades are a wonderful way of creating a charging source without doing major infrastructure work. The shades are movable with the furniture, allowing for enjoyment of the outdoors.” John Shenette, Associate Vice President for Facilities & Campus Services said.

The Powersol charging umbrellas were developed by ZON, a company that provides solar-powered outdoor power solutions, to fill a void in the market and create a product that meets the demands of today’s typical mobile user.

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Where are they now: De’Noia Woods

September 29th, 2016

De’Noia Woods (‘13) grew up on an island in the Caribbean surrounded by lush beaches, wilderness and a rich cultural history. As a child, Woods watched her father appreciate the environment for what it had to offer in terms of diversity and recreation. Her values are grounded in a desire to preserve the wonders of the environment for future generations.

denoiawoodsWhen recalling her childhood, Woods speaks of her father: “He never believed in altering nature’s gift for greed but only in utilizing a small footprint that mirrored need not want.” By observing her father’s philosophy of living, Wood’s passion for sustainability and environmentalism grew.

While at Wake Forest, Woods studied anthropology and studio art, while serving as the creative liaison intern for three years at the Office of Sustainability. In this internship, Woods photo documented events and developed various sustainability themed public art exhibitions.

“I believe I gained the most from being under Dedee’s leadership for three years. She taught me how to be an accountable person in the workforce, encouraged free flowing creativity and allowed me to fail. With this guidance, I learned how to own projects from cradle to grave and within failure, I grew,” Woods recalls from her internship with the Office of Sustainability.  “I felt empowered to follow my passions by navigating the current opportunity to my next goal. I also trusted the process which allowed me to adapt, change direction and refine what I saw myself accomplishing in the short and long term.”

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Greening the Goal

September 8th, 2016

The Wake Forest Athletic Department and the Office of Sustainability teamed up to host the University’s first carbon neutral soccer game on Sept. 6, in a match against Appalachian State University. Dr. Miles Silman, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation Presidential Chair in Conservation Biology and director of the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, served as the team’s honorary captain.

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Office of Sustainability graphic design and social media intern, Talia Roberts, engages with fellow students at the first Wake Forest carbon neutral soccer game.

In preparation for the event, sustainability departments from Wake Forest and Appalachian State worked together to determine the carbon dioxide emissions from the team’s travel to and from Winston-Salem, as well as emissions generated from the stadium lights and fan transportation.

Carbon dioxide emissions generated from the game are being offset by We Are Neutral, a nonprofit organization that offsets homes, schools, businesses, travel, meetings, and sporting events. We Are Neutral creates offsets by planting trees on conservation lands, performing free home energy upgrades for low-income residents, and supporting the reduction of methane released from landfills.

During the game, members of the Office of Sustainability team interacted with fans to educate them about the impact of their activities on the environment and ways they can help reduce their carbon footprint.

“Our sustainability interns did a great job reaching out to fans of all ages and engaging them in our carbon footprint quiz, where they had to assess the relative emissions of air travel, plane travel, home energy use, and meat consumption. Our mission was not to condemn any of those activities, but simply to educate others so they can determine if more sustainable options may be appropriate in certain situations,” said Brian Cohen, Program Coordinator for the Wake Forest Office of Sustainability. “This initiative allowed us to reach a segment of the Wake Forest community that we do not have access to on a daily basis, and we look forward to coordinating with Athletics on more outreach opportunities in the future.”

The game ended with a 3-0 victory for Wake Forest and a small win for Planet Earth.

Update 9/2/16

September 2nd, 2016

Two trees along the path to Reynolda Village have been undermined by the creek and storm water.  Both trees present a safety risk as they are leaning over the walking path.

Two poplar trees scheduled for removal.

Two trees scheduled for removal along the path to Reynolda Village.

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.


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