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Sustainability at Wake Forest

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How Valuable are Trees to You?

Friday, March 10th, 2017

For the next couple of weeks, trees across the Wake Forest University campus will be sporting yellow tree tags. Some of the tags offer the calculated value of ecosystem services that the trees provide. Others offer the general positive benefits of trees in our landscape. Others are quotes collected from authors and figureheads about the incalculable value of our campus trees.

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Athletics Scores with Sustainability

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Wake Forest University Athletics is helping to reduce the university’s carbon footprint by reducing energy use. A state-of-the-art LED lighting system in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial (LJVM) Coliseum court cuts energy use by over 90% and offers a superior viewing experience both in person and on television.

“The updated lighting in the coliseum has greatly improved the fan experience during Wake Forest sporting events.  The LED lights are much more versatile and allow Sports Marketing to use strobe effects and multiple colors during breaks in the action,” John Champlin, Assistant Director of the Professional Development Center and Wake Forest basketball fan, reported. “Overall, the entertainment factor has been greatly increased.”

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Student-Run Coffee Shop Supports Local Food Industry, Supporting Sustainability

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

by Julia Sawchak

While student’s taste buds are happy about upgrades to the Campus Grounds menu, its stomachs aren’t the only ones benefiting from these menu additions.

Campus Grounds initiative to include more local products heavily reduces their carbon footprint and boosts the Winston-Salem economy.

Conventional food distribution is responsible for five to 17 times more carbon dioxide than local and regionally produced food, meaning local purchases drastically reduce our carbon emissions through shorter drives to purchasers, according to research from Columbia University. Many individuals are now choosing to purchase local as a part of their personal sustainability practices.

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The Pit Celebrates Local Farmers

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Diners at the Fresh Food Company were treated to a taste of the local community on Tuesday, October 25, as Wake Forest Dining celebrated local farmers and suppliers.  Representatives from Henderson’s Best (Hendersonville, NC / apples and more), MicroGreen King (Boonville, NC / microgreens), and Milkco (Asheville / milk) set up displays in the Pit to provide information and samples to students, faculty, and staff.

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Greening the Goal

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

The Wake Forest Athletic Department and the Office of Sustainability teamed up to host the University’s first carbon neutral soccer game on Sept. 6, in a match against Appalachian State University. Dr. Miles Silman, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation Presidential Chair in Conservation Biology and director of the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, served as the team’s honorary captain.

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Office of Sustainability graphic design and social media intern, Talia Roberts, engages with fellow students at the first Wake Forest carbon neutral soccer game.

In preparation for the event, sustainability departments from Wake Forest and Appalachian State worked together to determine the carbon dioxide emissions from the team’s travel to and from Winston-Salem, as well as emissions generated from the stadium lights and fan transportation.

Carbon dioxide emissions generated from the game are being offset by We Are Neutral, a nonprofit organization that offsets homes, schools, businesses, travel, meetings, and sporting events. We Are Neutral creates offsets by planting trees on conservation lands, performing free home energy upgrades for low-income residents, and supporting the reduction of methane released from landfills.

During the game, members of the Office of Sustainability team interacted with fans to educate them about the impact of their activities on the environment and ways they can help reduce their carbon footprint.

“Our sustainability interns did a great job reaching out to fans of all ages and engaging them in our carbon footprint quiz, where they had to assess the relative emissions of air travel, plane travel, home energy use, and meat consumption. Our mission was not to condemn any of those activities, but simply to educate others so they can determine if more sustainable options may be appropriate in certain situations,” said Brian Cohen, Program Coordinator for the Wake Forest Office of Sustainability. “This initiative allowed us to reach a segment of the Wake Forest community that we do not have access to on a daily basis, and we look forward to coordinating with Athletics on more outreach opportunities in the future.”

The game ended with a 3-0 victory for Wake Forest and a small win for Planet Earth.

Update 9/2/16

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Two trees along the path to Reynolda Village have been undermined by the creek and storm water.  Both trees present a safety risk as they are leaning over the walking path.

Two poplar trees scheduled for removal.

Two trees scheduled for removal along the path to Reynolda Village.

Meet Wake Forest’s Newest Human-Powered Parking Enforcement Officer

Thursday, 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.”

Reduce Waste at Move-Out

Tuesday, 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.

FAQ: Recycle Bins and Totes

Friday, 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.

QHow 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.

Re-Cycle Bike Sharing Program Challenges Car Culture on Campus

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

It was February 9, 2016 and the area in front of Benson University Center was filled with close to 100 bikes. In a matter of hours, all bikes had been reserved for semester-long use at no cost to students, faculty and staff.

Re-Cycle-Bike-SharingImplementing a free bike-sharing program on a college campus was no easy feat. But behind every successful initiative is an inspired change agent who made it happen—conducted surveys, did the research, identified the means, and converted inspiration to action. Alyshah Aziz, a Politics and International Affairs major from the class of 2016, was that person for Wake Forest University.

It began with CHARGE—WFU’s ten-week leadership development program for first and second-year students. In 2013, Aziz and her group members identified a problem with current modes of transportation in the campus community. Single occupancy vehicles impact roadways, air pollution, health and the greater environment. In an effort to encourage more sustainable transportation modes, they proposed a bike-sharing program for students, faculty and staff. However, when they presented this idea to the WFU Office of Sustainability, they discovered it wasn’t the first time such a program had been proposed. The problem had been implementing the idea. Was there sufficient demand for this program? How would it be funded? Who would manage it?
The ten-week CHARGE program came and went, but Aziz’ passion remained ignited. She applied for a unique internship with the Office of Sustainability to continue the investigation and was accepted. Her initial work included a robust study of demand on campus, including evaluation of price sensitivity among potential user groups.

The tipping point that led to the initiation of the program was the discovery that more than a hundred bikes were abandoned on campus every summer. The organization that had been the recipient of the abandoned property in the past could not use any more bikes. With one solution to two problems in hand, Aziz engaged a variety of other campus offices and organizations to initiate a plan. She partnered with the WFU Cycling Team, Outdoor Pursuits, and University Police to collect and restore 65 usable bicycles that were abandoned on the WFU campus following the 2015 spring semester.

August 2015 marked the pilot program for Re-Cycle, named for the re-use of bicycles that were previously abandoned. To meet unmet demand from the first semester, the Office of Sustainability, WFU Student Activities Fund and the Office of Wellbeing provided financial support to purchase 45 new bikes for the spring semester program. As of February 2016, all bikes had been reserved and over 200 individuals had expressed interest in the program since its pilot.

All WFU students, faculty and staff are eligible to participate in the Re-Cycle bike-sharing program, and there is no cost to borrow a bike. Individuals may reserve a bike for semester-long or short-term use at Outdoor Pursuits. The wait-list for semester-long rentals continues to grow as the program gains popularity. Aside from enabling a free and more sustainable alternative to driving, Re-Cycle also supports the physical well-being of the campus community.

“I hope this program inspires students, faculty and staff to think differently about the way they get from one location to the next,” says Aziz, who will graduate this May. “It’s not easy to influence car culture, and the Re-Cycle bike-sharing program is an important milestone in doing just that.”

In reflecting on the successful launch of this initiative, Dedee DeLongpre Johnston, the campus Chief Sustainability Officer, offered “It’s difficult to estimate how many students come to us each year with ‘good ideas.’ It’s far easier to count those who bring their ideas to fruition. Alyshah’s commitment to execution and professionalism in everything she does is inspiring.”