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Sustainability at Wake Forest

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Campus Sustainability Awards

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

2015 Champions of Change award winners

On the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, change agents for sustainability across the Wake Forest campus gathered for the Champions of Change campus sustainability awards. The awards program recognizes the creativity and innovation of individuals and teams who work to integrate principles of sustainability into operations, teaching, and engagement. Dean of the School of Divinity, Gail O’Day, and Chief of Staff for the Office of the President, Mary Pugel, presented the awards.

Winners were recognized in four categories: Resource Conservation, Service and Social Action, Teaching Research and Engagement, and Bright Ideas.

  • The Office of the Registrar and the Surplus Property Program won in the Resource Conservation category. This year, the Office of the University Registrar completed four projects that saved over 13,000 pieces of paper, as well as printing and mailing costs for the university. Since its start in 2011, the Surplus Property Program has diverted nearly 250,000 lbs. of waste from the landfill, repurposed over 3,000 pieces of furniture and other items for use on campus, captured close to 30,000 lbs of residential electronic waste through a free pickup program, and helped the university avoid over $1 million dollars of new purchase costs.
  • Department of Religion faculty member Steve Boyd was named as a winner in the Service and Social Action category. Steve was recognized for his leadership of the Religion and Public Engagement Program and his statewide organizing of Scholars for North Carolina’s Future. Since its approval in 2011, 17 students have graduated with the Religion and Public Engagement concentration, and a record 12 more are set to graduate this year.
  • Ron Von Burg was recognized for Teaching, Research and Engagement. Ron teaches the popular interdisciplinary undergraduate course Humanity & Nature; taught the communications workshop and led a graduate research course on Coasts and Climate Change in Belize this year for the new MA in Sustainability; and directs undergraduate students in writing and performing plays for school-aged children and “moot court”-style debates on sustainability issues annually. He is also an alumnus of Wake Forest’s own sustainability-across-the curriculum workshop, the Magnolias Project, and is co-facilitating that workshop for the second time this year.
  • JL Bolt and the construction team of Facilities and Campus Services and Frank Shelton with Residence Life and Housing were recognized for a Bright Idea partnership. The construction team upcycled discarded bed frames from residence halls into white boards, bulletin board frames, safety bed rails, storage racks, benches, tables, mirror replacements, and mail boxes.

Additionally, Green Team captains Barbara Macri and Kate Ruley were named champions of change for their departmental leadership. As the Green Team captain for Human Resources, Barbara facilitated a department-wide sustainability goal-setting pilot, working collaboratively to develop a range of goals to meet the varying needs of her colleagues.

Kate coordinates the tracking of our institutional food purchases, identifying and calculating what we spend on regionally-grown, organic, and fair-trade-certified items. She mentors the team’s sustainability intern, and advocates for sustainable choices in menu development and procurement.

65% of our departments and units across campus are now led by Green Team captains – they support their colleagues with the resources and encouragement to integrate sustainability into everyday workplace decisions.

Learn more about the Champions of Change award program and explore a list of last year’s winners.

Voices of our Time: Mary Robinson

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice will speak at Wake Forest University at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 26 in Wait Chapel as part of the University’s Voices of Our Time speaker series. Robinson’s address is being presented in conjunction with a two-day interdisciplinary symposium, “The Human Face of Environmental Inequality,” jointly sponsored by the Wake Forest University Humanities Institute, the University’s Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, and the Human Rights and Global Justice research group, an affiliate of the Humanities Institute. The symposium will be held at Wake Forest on March 26 and 27.

Climate Talks: Negotiating the Fate of the Planet

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Representatives from 190 nations — 10,000 in all — participated in the United Nation’s 20th climate summit in Lima, Peru, in December. Three were from Wake Forest — Miles Silman, Professor of Biology and Director of CEES, John Knox, Professor of Law, CEES board member and UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment, and Justin Catanoso, CEES board member and Director of the WFU Journalism program. Each witnessed an aspect of the summit that for the first time saw all nation’s agree to limit their carbon emissions. Through presentations and video footage, the Wake Forest participants will offer a unique window into the most recent, and promising, international effort to curb global warming.


Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Join CEES in welcoming three marine biologists who have dedicated their lives to saving the oceans:  world-famous oceanographer and activist Sylvia Earle, renowned coral reef biologist Nancy Knowlton of the Smithsonian, and policy advocate Amanda Leland of the Environmental Defense Fund.  These scientists will offer perspectives during a panel discussion on the fundamental services oceans provide to the people of our planet, and how climate change is having a devastating effect on marine life.

  • Sylvia Earle: Arguably the most famous oceanographer on the planet, Dr. Earle is a diver, writer, and scientist-in-residence for National Geographic. She is also the founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER), a research group that designs robotic sub sea systems. She has campaigned for public awareness of the need to protect ocean systems for more than 30 years. A film documentary of her life, Mission Blue, was just released in 2014.
  • Nancy Knowlton: Knowlton is the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and a scientific leader of the Census of Marine Life. She wrote the book, Citizens of the Sea, to celebrate the ten years of the Census. She founded the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California, San Diego. Knowlton has devoted her life to studying, celebrating, and striving to protect the multitude of life-forms that call the sea home.
  • Amanda Leland: Leland is Vice President for Oceans at the Environment Defense Fund.  EDF works to preserve the natural systems on which all life depends, focusing on the most critical environmental problems. She is responsible for leading a diverse team of 50 scientists, lawyers, and advocates for healthy and abundant oceans.  She focuses on strategies to transform resource management to achieve productive and profitable fisheries in the US.

The Insider’s Guide to Sustainability Jobs

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Katie Kross, Managing Director of EDGE at Duke University,  is a career coach, educator, and nonprofit executive. She is the author of the practical, solutions-oriented book, Profession and Purpose: A Resource Guide for MBA Careers in Sustainability (2nd ed., Greenleaf Publishing, 2014). As a director of sustainable business education programs for 10 years at both Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, Katie has counseled hundreds of MBA students and alumni, many of whom have gone on to sustainability careers with employers like Walmart, GE, REI, Bank of America, Deloitte, and Disney, as well as social and environmental NGOs, mission-driven companies, and startups. She publishes a blog at www.professionandpurpose.com.

Her presentation will help students understand the landscape of career opportunities related to sustainability in all sectors and specific, practical strategies for their sustainability job search.  Participants will leave with:

  • An understanding of what kinds of internship and full-time career opportunities exist in this field
  • Frameworks for focusing a sustainability career search
  • insights and tips from industry practitioners who have successfully pursued a sustainability career (including career changers)
  • Tactical strategies and specific resources for conducting an off-campus job search on a sustainability or social impact path

Visible Entanglements: Plastic, Art, and Advocacy

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Join ICE, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, and CEES in welcoming Dr. Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, an associate professor of Women’s Studies and English at Penn State University. Dr. Wagner-Lawlor is an avid environmental advocate and activist concerning plastic pollution and its creative transformation into works of art which will result in a new book entitled: Visible Entanglements: Art, Advocacy, and the Ecological Aesthetics of Found Plastic Art.

Beholding Nature: The Ecology of Beauty in Japanese Woodblock Prints

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

The Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES) faculty member, David Phillips, Ph.D., Wake Forest University, joins The Weatherspoon Art Museum for a Sunday afternoon lecture, Beholding Nature: The Ecology of Beauty in Japanese Woodblock Prints, concurrent with the exhibition Bugs, Beasts and Blossoms: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Dr. Lenoir C. Wright Collection on view at the Weatherspoon through April 13th.

Master of Arts in Sustainability

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

A new Master of Arts in Sustainability offered by Wake Forest’s Center for Energy, Environment & Sustainability (CEES) will give students and early to mid-career professionals the diverse skillset they need to carve out a place in the burgeoning global sustainability marketplace.

The MA in Sustainability is a distinctive interdisciplinary one-year program that combines coursework in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, management and law. The program is currently accepting applicants for the Fall 2014 semester. Read more…

Technology Council Speaker Series

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Professor of Biology Miles Silman will speak on how sustainability can drive the local economy at an event held by the Technology Council of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce as part of “Real-World Sustainability in Winston-Salem: Solving Today’s Environmental and Energy Challenges.”

The future of Andean and Amazonian biodiversity

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Join us on Wednesday, October 9th at 4pm in Winston Hall, Room 126 for a lecture by  Professor of Biology and CEES Director Miles Silman.  Silman will speak about Earth’s  biological diversity and how many crucial ecosystem services are being harbored in
tropical forests, chief among them the vast forests of the Andes and Amazon.  But how these forests respond to climate changes remains unclear. This talk will look at the challenges facing Andean and Amazonian forests, and how species have responded to climate change in the past, how they are responding now, and what we might expect the
fate of Andean and Amazonian forests to be in the future.