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Sustainability at Wake Forest

Posts Tagged ‘Campus Garden’

Where are they now: Emily Bachman

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Emily Bachman (’13) was a prominent contributor to Wake Forest’s sustainability efforts throughout her four years as a student. She served as the president of the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), a shift leader and summer intern for Campus Kitchen, a regular volunteer in the Campus Garden, an intern with ARAMARK, where she worked to support sustainability in dining, and a semester-long intern with the Winston-Salem Sustainability Resource Center. In addition to her ambitious extracurricular activities, she completed a major in history with a double minor in environmental studies and anthropology.

After graduating last spring, Bachman took some time to travel. She spent two weeks in Israel with Birthright (accompanied by former fellow sustainability intern Sanders McNair) and six weeks driving across the country exploring several cities and national parks along the way.

Post-excursion, Bachman landed in Brooklyn where she is serving as the AmeriCorps Volunteer & Special Projects Coordinator for Rebuilding Together NYC. Rebuilding Together NYC is the New York City affiliate of a national nonprofit that is located in over 200 cities across the country. They are a “safe and healthy housing” organization, serving low income, elderly, handicapped, and veteran homeowners. They focus on critical home repairs including accessibility modifications for the physically disabled, and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. Additionally, Rebuilding Together NYC focuses on energy efficiency upgrades and weatherization to lower energy consumption in homes. She is also working on an independent project incorporating sustainable landscape design, including rain barrels and native plantings, into the organization’s future projects to support stormwater retention.

In the coming years Bachman plans to attend graduate school for a degree in Sustainable Urban Design and Policy and to find a career that allows her to pursue “city planning through a sustainable lens.” She says that being able to see different cities and compare the strengths and weaknesses of their designs while traveling has helped further develop and affirm her aspirations.

She says that her liberal arts education fostered her passion for sustainability and prepared her for post-collegiate life. “It taught me to think critically and holistically. My liberal arts education allowed me to explore my interests from a variety of perspectives and to understand the many different causes and potential solutions to the social and environmental issues we face today.”

What inspires you to be sustainable?

For as long as I can remember, sustainability has mattered to me. I value human life and I do not like the idea of people suffering, now or in the future. I understand that the way human beings, especially in the western world, are living today will cause suffering in the future. Rather than wait for the consequences and begin to react when it is too late, we should work immediately and proactively to develop sustainable lifestyles.

What is the biggest issue facing our generation?

Apathy. It is so obvious that we are doing things so wrong and that we need to change, but because most people are not confronted with the impacts of their unsustainable lifestyles directly on a daily basis, they are apathetic. They don’t care and they continue with the status quo. Not enough people are passionate enough.

What is your number one tip for living sustainably?

Don’t buy what you don’t need – I try to remind myself of this constantly, especially now that I am on an AmeriCorps stipend.

By Andrea Becker (’16), Staff Writer

Update: Sustainability Theme House

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Susty_Spaghetti_5This summer, Wake Forest had to say goodbye to a beloved campus home.  Due to structural damage in the basement, there was no alternative to demolishing the Sustainability theme house, a house which a group of students had formerly called “home.”

The Sustainability house was one of the handful of theme houses owned by Wake Forest and operated by Residence Life & Housing. In this house, students who embraced a sustainable lifestyle could live together and share their common interests and passions. On any given day, these students were biking to and from the house, composting, volunteering at the campus garden located in the backyard, and hosting events such as spaghetti dinner night.  During the four short years of its existence, the Sustainability House residents developed a network of students throughout campus that all came together to enjoy different facets of the Wake Forest experience. Although the only visible remnant of the former “Sust’y” house, as it was known, is now an empty gravel lot, the Susty community continues to thrive.

Logan Healy-Tuke, the theme program assistant for the house, says that although the demolition is a setback, it allows the community to grow in different ways. The house right next door to the now empty lot—what would have been an annex to the Sustainability theme house—is now the flagship house for these students. Additionally, the community has expanded to the North Campus Apartments and the Ahuva theme house, where the displaced students now live. Logan says “Though we are bummed, we believe with full faith that this shift will make us more appreciative of what we do have, and look forward to keeping a tight-knit, sustainability-based community inclusive to all.”

The sustainability student community is continuing their traditions, including spaghetti dinner night on Thursdays (which is open to all students), volunteering at the Campus Garden on Sundays, riding their bicycles all over campus, and attending different events on campus as a group. With or without the former home, the Susty community will continue to flourish and promote sustainable living on campus.

As it turns out, 1141 Polo housed important memories for another Wake Forest family as well. The Susty House history dates back to its construction in June of 1923, when it was built as part of the Oak Crest neighborhood. For most of its existence, the Susty House belonged to the Hauser family. Gena Hauser, the granddaughter of the original owner says, “It’s where my dad grew up and our family enjoyed a whole lot of good memories—including my grandma’s amazing cooking on many Sunday afternoons.”

In addition to great dinners and family memories, this home will be missed for its beauty. According to local historian Kent Strupe, several people have referred to it as one of the prettiest homes along Polo Road, and he adds, “With its coordinating two-tone green color, beautiful mature trees, and well-manicured lawn, I have to agree. Oak Crest has truly lost a treasure.”

By Andrea Becker (’16), Staff Writer

FAQ: Campus Garden Produce

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Q.  How do I get produce from the campus garden? 

A. During the summer, the campus garden occasionally offered a produce stand on campus. However, now that the school year has started, the only way to enjoy the organic produce from the garden is to volunteer. If you, or a group you’re involved in are looking for hands-on service, then volunteering in the garden is an exciting opportunity. Not only will you get to enjoy working outside, but you can also take home some of the fruits of your labor in the form of tomatoes and other produce. Campus garden volunteer hours are every Wednesday and Sunday from 4-6 PM. Come alone, bring a group of friends from your residence hall, or schedule a volunteer event with your club. Located at the corner of Polo Road and Student Drive, across from Martin, the campus garden can always use an extra set of hands.

Email   for more information or to schedule a service event for your organization.

 

How Can We Afford It?

Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Joel Salatin

Photo courtesy of Sarah Moran/Old Gold & Black

Joel Salatin, a self-described “Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic-farmer” lived up to every aspect of his reputation in his lecture to the incoming class of 2017, during their fall orientation. The lecture, which was open to all members of the Wake Forest community, was the denouement in the summer academic project on food access and food justice.

Salatin is undoubtedly the most recognizable, and arguably one of the most successful, sustainable farmers in the United States today. His alternative farming practices have drawn him into contentious battles with government regulators and have contributed to his unique views on food justice.  He has captured the attention of food activists, environmentalists, libertarians, and government regulators, in equal measure, illustrating why he named his Virginia farm Polyface – the farm of many faces.

“We have become disconnected from our ecological umbilical,” he remarked. Most of us have little idea where our food comes from, how it is grown, and why either of those things matter. We have done our best to insulate ourselves from the consequences of those realities. Our society has divorced itself from food production. Farming is done by people we don’t know and in places we can’t see or smell, and for good reason: industrial food production is an unsightly and hazardous business. We make decisions about how to expend our monthly budgets based on a disconnection from the real cost of food or its importance in our lives. The question of how we can afford a sustainable food system must be turned around to ask how we can afford the system we have now – one that promotes health crises, ecological crises, and ultimately economic crises.

It is this disintegration that has allowed the industrial food system to flourish. With the bluster of a preacher on a pulpit, Salatin exclaimed, “Injustice thrives in secrecy and opaqueness, justice thrives in openness and accountability.” He suggests that transparency and accountability to consumers is the best form of regulation for safety, quality, and price; he proposes that regulation be modified to allow small farms equal market access.

According to Salatin, if we want to change our food system, if we want to see food access in our communities, we must re-integrate our food system. Food production must be localized and consumers must make the sometimes difficult choice to purchase locally and seasonally grown food. He challenged students to imagine the university covered with an edible landscape, to substitute meal-plan reliance with whole foods preparation, and to imagine adjusting the academic calendar to coincide with seasons of peak local food production.

Salatin reiterated again and again that our human cleverness – our desire to outrun nature– is getting us into trouble. He urges us to exercise more humility and less hubris. He suggests that personal responsibility is the starting point for change – that each of us must take up what Dr. Miles Silman, director of the WFU Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, described as the “hard and happy labor of change,” during his introduction to the lecture.

As a final take-away, Salatin emphasized the need to start somewhere and not be afraid of failure. He challenged the old saying that anything worth doing is worth doing right by suggesting that, “anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly first!”

By Jamie Sims, Campus Garden Intern

Summer Interns Serve Winston-Salem

Monday, June 24th, 2013
photo (31)

David Hale (’15) prepares to deliver to the SECU House

Summer isn’t necessarily a vacation for Wake Forest students.  From late May to early August, The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest, a student-run service organization, maintains full operations, serving 154 meals per week to underserved members of the Winston-Salem community.  Unlike during the spring and fall, when Campus Kitchen is run by a six-member executive board and a 24-member leadership team, during the summer three interns are at the helm of one of Wake Forest’s flagship service organizations.

The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University is an affiliate of the Campus Kitchens Project, a national organization dedicated to fighting hunger and reducing waste through food recycling programs on college campuses.  The Campus Kitchen model takes surplus prepared (but never served) meals from campus dining facilities and distributes these meals to partner agencies serving local communities.  In addition to this basic model, the Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University partners with the Fresh Market, rescuing edible produce and baked goods and delivering  the food in bulk to agencies serving populations with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University also partners with the Campus Garden, incorporating fresh, campus-grown produce into balanced meals.

Brittany Forniotis (’15), David Hale (’15), John Iskander (’16), and Monica Hedge (’14) make up the summer 2013 team of Campus Kitchen interns.  Brittany, who is also spending her summer conducting original research on American slave narratives, splits five cooking shifts and five food delivery shifts with David, a premedical student who is also currently conducting summer research.  John serves as the Fresh Market intern, running five food rescue shifts per week and researching the feasibility of food trucks as a means of increasing access to nutritious food. Monica will replace Brittany as one of the cooking and delivery interns for the second half of the summer.

According to the Campus Kitchens Project’s national guidelines, all meals must include a protein, a vegetable, a starch, and a dessert.  Because there are fewer students on campus during the summer, the Fresh Food Company has less surplus food to donate to Campus Kitchen, so the interns must creatively combine resources to meet the organization’s standards.  Brittany, who plans many of the summer menus, relies heavily on produce grown in the WFU Campus Garden.  Most recently, she and summer volunteers prepared a huge salad with roasted beets, greens, and beet greens from the Campus Garden.

David, who served the salad at the SECU Family House, an agency providing housing for the families of patients who travel to Winston-Salem for medical treatment, reports “Everyone is always really happy when I say we grew these beets in our Campus Garden…they were so impressed that it was full circle, that we are using what we have and being sustainable.”

Partner agencies rely on Campus Kitchen to stay open during the summer, but David explains that the summer also provides an opportunity to reach new volunteers.  He says “it is also important for us to educate volunteers, whether they are at a summer camp here, faculty and staff, or just anyone in the Winston-Salem area, to realize that [food insecurity] is an important issue in our region that many people don’t know about.” He also explains that bringing new volunteers into Campus Kitchen “is really about removing the stigma from certain areas [of Winston-Salem] or the stereotypes someone might associate with a particular type of person.”

In the context of cooking shifts, Brittany takes care to talk to volunteers about “where the food is going, what sort of people are receiving the food, and what sort of health problems they might have.”  She explains the intentional choices she makes based on the population being served, such as sending reduced dessert portions and low-salt meals to senior housing where many residents suffer from diabetes and hypertension.

In the context of delivery shifts, David explains the goal of a particular partner agency and how food from Campus Kitchen fits into that goal.  For instance, at Prodigals Community, a faith-based drug rehabilitation facility, David explains to volunteers how the Sunday night meal provided by Campus Kitchen allows Prodigals to allocate funds towards programs that facilitate residents’ recovery.

When asked what the Campus Kitchen needs from the Wake Forest community this summer, the interns offer a single emphatic answer: volunteers.  David says “We need people who are willing to be flexible, to try something new…to go out of their comfort zone, to get out of the Wake Forest bubble and realize that these places exist in Winston-Salem.”

To volunteer for Campus Kitchen, contact Brittany Forniotis at .

By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustainability

LENS brings sustainability into focus

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

This summer thirty-two rising high school juniors and seniors participated in LENS @ Wake Forest, an annual three-week college immersion program.  For the three years since its inception, LENS @ Wake Forest has taken sustainability as a guiding theme, examining political, economic, social, and legal issues.  Learning took place both inside and outside the classroom, with seminars and presentations given by Wake Forest faculty and excursions to a local farm and to Reynolda House Museum. Students studied rhetoric, honed their writing skills and learned to craft effective presentations. Leigh Stanfield, Director for Global Auxiliary Programs in the Provost’s Office for Global Affairs, organized the program.  Dr. Michelle Klosterman of the Education Department and Dr. Ryan Shirey of the Writing Program served as primary faculty.  ZSR Librarians Hu Womack and Bobbie Collins partnered with LENS to teach participants research skills.

Connor Covello, a rising high school senior from Long Island, appreciated the wide variety of viewpoints incorporated into the program.  He reported “whatever I do, say its business, I will seek to render my business as sustainable as possible; you can incorporate sustainability into anything.”

LENS (which stands for Learn, Experience, Navigate, Solve) culminated with student presentations of their group projects for a Community Partner.  Project development took place over three weeks and involved meeting with Community Partners, eliciting advice from experts on campus, and extensive research.

In addition to getting a taste of rigorous academics, 2012 LENS participants also enjoyed the more relaxed aspects of college life, eating dinner downtown and playing ultimate Frisbee on the quad.  Participants stayed in South Hall, a LEED-certified first-year residence hall, where they kept track of each room’s energy use on a building dashboard monitor.  For Connor, a fun highlight of LENS was a toga party in the South Hall media room, where the group celebrated the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  While learning objectives are central to LENS, friendships between participants and connections built with faculty have enduring value.   When asked what he will walk away with from the LENS experience, Connor reported he now has an idea of what college life is like, an awareness of sustainability issues, and a number of good friends he will surely miss.

By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow

To find out more about this year’s LENS@Wake Forest experience, read this article published by the WFU NewsCenter.

Faces of Sustainability: Nathan Peifer

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Photo courtesy of Nathan Peifer

Nathan Peifer is a competent and capable person; that’s why it was extremely disconcerting when, one year ago, he realized, in the most basic way, he did not know how to feed himself.  Thus began Nathan’s study of gardening, a journey of self-directed learning he describes as “chasing ignorance.”  This summer his chase landed him in the Wake Forest Campus Garden, where he works for the Office of Sustainability as the Campus Garden intern.  If you have been to the garden lately, you will find it difficult to believe that just one year ago Nathan’s entire gardening experience amounted to trying (unsuccessfully) to grow grass out of a Styrofoam cup for a grade school craft project.  Over this past week alone, the garden produced 74.09 lbs of produce and the harvest has just begun; the fruits of Nathan’s labor will be ripe for picking all the way into the fall.

One of the secrets of Nathan’s success is extensive research.  In order to best manage the campus garden, Nathan does a good bit of reading and seeks advice from his gardening mentors.  He takes inspiration from other gardens as well. Through these visits he has he has learned that every community and campus garden has its own unique strengths and challenges, so “you should never try to become someone else’s garden.”

Nathan identifies a strong partnership with Facilities and Campus Services as one of our campus garden’s unique strengths.  This summer Nathan worked out an arrangement with Megan Anderson, the campus recycling manager, to divert extra cardboard to the garden.  Nathan uses the cardboard to keep weeds down between rows of plants and the cardboard improves the quality of the soil as it degrades.

To Nathan, who is entering his third year in the Wake Forest Divinity School this fall, gardening is an art not a science (although, he points out, there is plenty of science happening in our garden).  He likes to garden because there are no right or wrong answers and you have to think creatively to solve problems that arise.  After two rigorous academic years in the Divinity school, the hands-on, outdoor work of the garden is a welcome change and he finds his work in the garden and his education to be “mutually informative.”

One of Nathan’s favorite aspects of his internship is working with different groups who volunteer their service in the garden.  So far this summer has hosted The Benjamin Franklin Scholars, the LENS program, StudentLife, and 4Good volunteers.  Nathan sees the garden as an opportunity for service learning and hopes faculty will take advantage of the garden as an unconventional classroom with the potential to “bring cultural assumptions [about farming and growing food] into high relief.”

This summer in the garden has helped Nathan shape his plans for the future.  He is seriously considering bivocational ministry, which combines traditional pastoral duties with other work, such as managing a community garden.  To anyone who now stands where he stood one year ago, in a place of ignorance about the source of their food, he offers this advice: “Find someone who knows what they are doing, befriend them, and rely on them as a resource. And remember, there is no one right way to do anything. You just have to try.”

By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow

10 Days Celebration: Thursday, April 19

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Kick off the 10 Days of Celebrating the Earth by picking up your free, limited edition 10 Days t-shirt made from organic cotton.

Part of a faith group on campus? Volunteer in the campus garden during the Interfaith Planting Party, part of the Interfaith Week of Service, and be a true steward of the planet. Not in a faith group, but still interested in gardening? Great! It’s not too late to get your hands dirty this spring. Sign-up for the Campus Garden listserv to stay updated on gardening hours and events.

Think Green Thursday: 10 Days Kick-off

When: 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where: Magnolia Patio

Pick up your 10 Days t-shirt and a full schedule of events. Office of Sustainability interns will be on hand to pass out t-shirts and answer questions about the 10 Days events. Be sure to stop by early, the t-shirts go fast!

Interfaith Garden Party

When: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Where: Campus Garden

Members of campus faith groups are invited to the Campus Garden (behind 1141 Polo Rd.) for a planting party featuring food, music, and service. Everyone will come together to construct a raised garden bed to grow herbs. This special gardening event is part of the Interfaith Week of Service, sponsored by the Volunteer Service Corps.

High School students view sustainability through a new LENS

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Photo by De'Noia Woods, Photography Intern

Twenty-six high school students learned about sustainability through the lens of food and water systems this summer during the inaugural LENS (Learn. Experience. Navigate. Solve.) Program. Postdoctoral Fellow in Religion and the Environmental Program, Lucas Johnston and English professor Anne Boyle teamed up to lead the program, which was designed to provide high school students with the opportunity to engage in the broader community through writing and intensive, hands-on study of a pressing political issue.

Participants enjoyed such activities as a visit to River Ridge Land & Cattle Co. to see a grass-fed, antibiotic free cattle ranch and a white water rafting trip. According to Johnston, these trips provided students (some of whom had never seen a farmer before) with “a profound appreciation for natural spaces and what they do for us.” The field trips provided context for classes in Environmental Studies and English back on the Reynolda Campus.

During the program, the students worked in teams to tackle a number of ambitious co-curricular projects, including the prominent mural on the shed next to the campus garden, a documentary of fellow students’ projects, and a traditional research project on e-waste about which the students submitted an editorial for publication in the Old Gold & Black.

Academic year volunteers in the campus garden are able to reap the rewards from another LENS project. The new three-compartment aerobic composter, planned and constructed by six students, addresses the need for a compost system in the ever-expanding garden. Food waste from the Campus Kitchen Fresh Market runs is converted into usable soil amendment through a month-long process of turning and transfer between the bins. These bins have also allowed volunteers to incorporate waste from the Gaia food macerator/dehydrator pilot to make a nutrient rich fertilizer.

The lessons learned during the summer have continued to enrich the participant’s lives even after their return home, Johnston said. One student from Stokes County, NC has already started a sustainability club at his high school. “A rising high school senior went home and did this at his school; that is the most inspiring thing. They [the students] took the motivation for change back home with them,” he said.

The program is designed to shift themes to focus on a different pressing issue annually. The overwhelmingly positive response from participants to the sustainability theme this year could influence next year’s theme, though the focus has not officially been determined.

By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern