Wake Forest University

Magnolias Project - Apply to Participate - Sustainability at Wake Forest

Sustainability at Wake Forest

Magnolias Project – Apply to Participate

Magnolias Project – Apply to Participate

Magnolias Project 2017 – Applications Open

To All Wake Forest Faculty:

We invite you to enhance your teaching and engagement with sustainability issues by participating in the Magnolias Project May 10-11, 2017 on the Wake Forest campus.  No prior experience with sustainability-related issues in the classroom or in research is necessary, and faculty at all ranks and career stages are welcome.

This innovative approach to curricular change, modeled on the nationally renowned Piedmont Project (Emory University), provides faculty with an intellectually stimulating and collegial experience to pool their expertise.  Faculty who would like to develop a new course module or an entirely new course that engages issues of sustainability and the environment are encouraged to apply.

The workshop will explore how we can meaningfully integrate sustainability—broadly defined—into our classrooms.  Although we start by taking a close look at Wake Forest University and the larger Piedmont region, we invite participants to engage in local to global comparisons.

The Magnolia Project kicks off with a two-day workshop (May 10-11) that will offer opportunities to extend research and teaching horizons across disciplines and create new networks with fellow colleagues.  Following the workshop, faculty participants prepare discipline-specific course materials on their own over the summer. They reconvene in the fall to discuss their insights and experiences.  Participants receive a stipend of $500 ($250 upon completion of the workshop; $250 upon completion of a new or revised syllabus).

Project participants agree to:

  1. Read some materials prior to the workshop
  2. Participate in the full 2-day workshop on May 10-11, 2017
  3. Commit time during the summer to prepare or revise a syllabus and submit it in August
  4. Report back to the group in the fall semester

Interested? Applications will be accepted until April 17. 

  • Send a short description (one paragraph maximum) of how you plan to change an existing course, or develop a new one, that will incorporate environmental and/or sustainability issues to Kim Couch at couchkm@wfu.edu.  Please include your name, departmental affiliation, phone number and e-mail address.

Want to know more?

Browse the Magnolias or Piedmont Project websites for example syllabi and faculty statements:

Come join a community of faculty searching for new ways to engage issues relevant to their fields.

Keynote and Dialogue with Drawdown Senior Writer, Katharine Wilkinson

September 20th, 2017

The event will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 5, in the Byrum Welcome Center. Doors open at 5:30. Admission is free and seats are limited. RSVP here.

Project Drawdown: Your Comprehensive Guide to Carbon Reduction and Climate Protection

September 13th, 2017

Introducing Project Drawdown, the “most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming.” Carefully constructed by 200 researchers and scientists drawn from a network of world-renowned institutions, the project and its resulting book, Drawdown, provide a roadmap to drawing down greenhouse gas emissions through 80 of the most impactful climate solutions available today.

Of the techniques and practices, there are some that are well known—wind energy, green roofing, food waste reduction, forest protection—as well as others you may have not yet heard of— in-stream hydro, perennial biomass, alternative cement, and peatlands. For each solution presented, the book meticulously projects potential emission reductions by the year 2050, along with the estimated cost of implementation and the resultant savings.  Together, the solutions prove that we can draw down greenhouse gas emissions in order to slow the rate of climate change. As project director Paul Hawken explains in the book’s introduction, we are not victims of “a fate that was determined by actions that precede us…We [must] take 100 percent responsibility and stop blaming others. We see global warming not as an inevitability but as an invitation to build, innovate, and effect change, a pathway that awakens creativity, compassion, and genius.”

Here at Wake Forest, faculty, staff, and students are already invested in 25 of the practices addressed in the book, five of which are included within the top 10 ranking of greatest impact. A handful of professors have recently incorporated Drawdown in their courses and professional workshops.  Law professor Alan Palmiter, for example, has coupled the book with his Energy Law course, as he feels that it provides a clear and compelling background for underscoring why the program is important. He describes the book as “the greatest recipe book of all time,” because it “describes the ingredients, the measures, and even the temperature at which we should cook what [may] be humanity’s redeeming meal.”

According to Wake Forest’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, “so far students have appreciated Drawdown as a very practical guide to global solutions. As emerging leaders who are trained to think across disciplinary boundaries, they can leverage what they’re learning in religion, psychology, philosophy, entrepreneurship, and policy to create new societal norms. Our campus serves as a living laboratory for implementing the book’s practices; if students can practically experience change here, they can lead it anywhere.”

In the coming weeks, this series of articles will explore how Wake Forest is currently deploying, demonstrating, and researching 25 of the 80 proposed Drawdown solutions. More specifically, we will explore these solutions as they relate to the built environment, research, and campus-led initiatives.

On Thursday, October 5th, Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, the senior writer of Drawdown, will give a public lecture at the Byrum Welcome Center at 6:00pm. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear Dr. Wilkinson speak on the 80 global solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to learn what you can do at home to play your part in Project Drawdown.

Wake Forest to Adopt New Ride-Sharing Service

August 29th, 2017

To continue your commitment to ride-sharing at Wake Forest, register with ShareTheRideNC and select Wake Forest University as your primary affiliation. Remember, registering does not obligate you to carpool, but we do hope it motivates you!

This quick walk-through video explains how to register and start finding matches on STRNC.org.

Features of ShareTheRideNC

  • Safe and secure: By default, people who match with your commute will see your first name, commute preferences, and the contact information you choose to share. You can also opt to hide all information and not appear on others’ match lists by changing your personal settings.
  • More opportunities to match: WFU employees and students may choose to only match with members of the WFU community or expand their matches to others across the state of North Carolina.
  • No obligations: There are no obligations or requirements when registering for ShareTheRideNC. You choose the people you’d like to contact and those with whom you would be interested carpooling/vanpooling.
  • Incentives: Earn points each time you use a form of alternative transportation to win giftcards and other prizes.
  • In case of emergency: If you have an emergency and need to leave at a different time than your carpool partner, you can utilize the Emergency Ride Home (ERH) program, which provides a taxicab or rental car to get you home, free of cost.

Hacks for an Eco-Friendly Move

July 25th, 2017

  1. Pack clothes, shoes, and sheets in re-usable plastic crates or even pillow cases.
  2. Wrap picture frames and other breakables in T-shirts, or towels. Sandwich larger items like framed posters between pillows, blankets or comforters.
  3. Pack school supplies in re-usable file crates with handles. The crates will come in handy for organizing schoolwork throughout the semester.
  4. Contact roommates before packing to avoid unnecessary duplicates like area rugs, tool kits, televisions or toaster ovens.
  5. Put toiletries in sturdy-handled shower baskets and re-usable zip-top bags, all of which can fit neatly into a laundry basket.
  6. Recycle any boxes you do bring on move-in day, especially new product cartons and packaging, by taking them to a designated collection site. Most campuses recycle cardboard, and some collect Styrofoam packaging.
  7. Remember to pack enough re-usable water bottles for everyone helping with the move. Move-in day is usually among the hottest of the year.

Campus Tree Update: Willow Oak Removal

July 21st, 2017

Tree Removed at SFAC

June 13th, 2017

On Monday, June 12, a Willow Oak was removed at the west entrance of the Scales Fine Arts Center after being in decline year many years. Another Willow Oak will be planted in its place.

For up-to-date news on campus tree removals, interested individuals can view a list of all tree removals and justifications on the Office of Sustainability’s website.

Sustainability across the Curriculum

June 9th, 2017

For the semester following the workshop, faculty participants submit 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 are completely new courses they are developing.

Members of this year’s cohort represented a breadth of disciplinary and campus homes: music, education, the ZSR Library, romance languages, chemistry, English, anthropology, communication, and the Reynolda Gardens public education program.

Ron Von Burg, assistant professor in the Department of Communications, and Luke Johnston, associate professor in the Department for the Study of Religions, both Magnolias Project alumni, facilitated this year’s workshop. Guest presenters, Yadkin Riverkeeper, Will Scott and Sylvia Oberle, Senior Fellow with the Pro Humanitate Institute, shared resources for designing course content to engage students in locally relevant issues.

One of this year’s participants reported that the experience “has helped me not only think about my classes, but also how to frame my own research to the public. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations we had, and the presentations did a great job of making the ideas we were discussing applicable.”

Each year this workshop results in an increased number of courses that support a wide variety of sustainability-related learning objectives. This approach fits well into the context of a liberal arts education– students who are exposed to multiple disciplinary perspectives have a more complete understanding of the context in which many of the current socio-environmental trends are situated. The 2017 cohort brought the number of Magnolias Curriculum Project participants up to 66.

This year’s Magnolias Curriculum Project was hosted by the Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability and the Office of Sustainability.

Decaying Willow Oak Removed from Lot P

June 8th, 2017

A new tree will not be replanted at this site. Instead, Landscape Services is considering a redesign to better accommodate foot traffic between Farrell Hall, Lot P, and Hearn Plaza.

A second declining Willow Oak in Lot P will also be removed in the month of June. Another Willow Oak will be planted in its place.

For an up-to-date list of campus tree removals, interested individuals can view a list of all campus tree removals and justifications.

Congratulations 2017 Sustainability Intern Graduates

May 16th, 2017

Eric Gorzeman, a Business and Enterprise Management major and Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor, will be joining the Vanguard Group in Charlotte following graduation. During his time with the Office of Sustainability, Eric served as the Carbon Footprint Energy intern (2015-2016) and the Re-Cycle Bike-share Program intern (2016-2017).

Eric’s reflection on the internship: By interning at the Office of Sustainability, I have gained project management, leadership, and communication skills. This internship experience has also inspired me to eventually work in the green energy industry, in a business capacity. In addition to my personal and professional growth, I met different friends that I may not have met otherwise, and had a great time working with the Wake Forest staff and community as a whole.

Julie Kanter has been involved with the Office of Sustainability since 2015, serving as the Earth Day Fair Coordination intern, the Arbor Day Events intern, and the Event Analysis intern. Julie graduated cum laude with degrees in Economics and Spanish. Julie’s involvement with campus events—from beginning to end—has been essential. Julie will be moving to Chicago following graduation, where she will join Fifth Third Bank’s Credit Leadership Program.

Julie’s reflection on the internship: Interning with the Office of Sustainability has provided me with the invaluable opportunity to grow my intellectual curiosity and professional skills while interacting with a supportive and motivational team of colleagues. The Office has supported, challenged, taught, and guided me over the last three years and I am so thankful for that. I know the skills and relationships I have fostered through the Office will always be present in my personal and professional life and I am anxious to see all the success that comes to my fellow interns.

Akua Maat, a magna cum laude graduate who majored in both Latin and Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies, has been a Campus Garden intern since her sophomore year at Wake Forest. Akua’s strong commitment to the nourishment and growth of the Campus Garden will yield results well into the future. She will work with CityYear next year as a mentor in a Philadelphia public school and eventually plans to pursue a PhD in sociology and a career as a college professor.

Akua’s reflection on the internship: Interning with the Office of Sustainability and working so closely with the garden has opened me up to a world I couldn’t have anticipated my freshman year. I’ve learned an extraordinary amount about myself and the world around me. After three years as an intern and a soon-to-be-graduate, what I have gained and appreciated the most is the capacity I now have to implement sustainable practices in my life beyond Wake Forest.

Emily McMullen, a biology and chemistry double major and an environmental studies minor, graduated magna cum laude and with honors.  This year, Emily served as an Energy intern working with Facilities & Campus Services to draft an energy plan for the University. After graduation, Emily will be teaching high school science at Geneva Classical Academy in Lakeland, Florida. She plans to pursue a PhD in marine molecular ecology.

Emily’s reflection on the internship: My time as an intern with Facilities and Campus Services and the Office of Sustainability has provided me with an incredible professional skill set which will serve me well in all my future endeavors. The high level of expectations have allowed me to strengthen my communication and technical skills, and appropriately plan for long term projects and goals. The friendships I have developed with the other interns have been invaluable additions to my college experience- I am very thankful for the opportunity I have had to work with many of them this past year.

We also want to congratulate our former interns who graduated with the Class of 2017:

Ann Nguyen, Photography intern (Fall 2014 – Spring 2015) and Freelance Photographer (Fall 2016 – Spring 2017). Ann graduated cum laude and with honors in Studio Art.

Kristen Cortese, Office of Energy Management intern (Fall 2014, Spring 2015).

The entire Sustainability staff wishes all 2017 graduates the best in the next chapter of their lives and careers.

Over 200 Graduates Commit to Living Green

May 14th, 2017

The creation of the Green Graduation Pledge allows future alumni to carry on Wake Forest’s legacy of sustainability and civic responsibility throughout their careers and lives.

All signatories received a reusable travel mug printed with the pledge to reinforce sustainable habits. This is the seventh year that Wake Forest graduates have participated in this nationwide pledge movement.