This 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