Wake Forest University

Sustainability at Wake Forest

Congratulations Class of 2016 Interns


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.

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.