Engaged & Experiential Learning

Engaged Learning supports collaborative efforts between operational and academic department members in order to create campus-based learning opportunities that engage students in analyzing, evaluating, and generating creative solutions for a more sustainable campus. Such engaged learning experiences help students develop practical professional skills while expanding their understanding and engagement with complex sustainability challenges.

Engaged Learning Opportunities

In the past 5 years, 78 different faculty members have incorporated engaged and experiential learning opportunities into 83 unique courses across 30 academic departments.

Faculty and operational staff members are invited to submit project or research ideas or to schedule a meeting by emailing us at sustainability@wfu.edu. Engaged-learning projects for sustainability can be course-based or extra-curricular.

Locations for Learning

There are a wide variety of indoor and outdoor locations for learning on the Reynolda campus and historic campus. Each location offers unique opportunities for engaged and experiential learning for Wake Forest students. See some of our most popular locations for learning below. In partnership with Facilities & Campus Services, Reynolda Gardens, and other partners, faculty are able to bring students into these spaces to learn from campus experts and enjoy place-based opportunities to achieve learning outcomes.

The Campus Garden

The Heating Plant

Residential Dining Locations

photo of classroom space in tohi garden

The Tohi Garden

The Winston Hall Rain Garden

Lake Katharine Wetlands

The Reynolda Meadow & Piedmont Prairie

The Utilities & Operations Center (UOC)

South Residence Hall

The Three Sisters Garden

The North Chiller Plant

Campus Connections

Dr. Ron Von Burg partnered with the WFU Campus Garden to create a series of engagements for Humanity & Nature (HMN365). The students developed empathy for life in the garden by preparing soil, growing vegetables, and enjoying the fruits of their labor through a shared meal.

Students in Comm & Rhetoric (COM110) met with Chaplain Tim Auman, who led a place-based mindfulness exercises to develop their capacity to listen deeply.

Intro to Engineering Thought (EGR111) student teams practiced the engineering research process with four Reynolda Campus clients, ranging from Reynolda Gardens to the Anthropology Museum. Students identified an engineering challenge, characterized that challenge using quantitative and qualitative data, and communicated their findings to their stakeholders to support future action.

Frankly, [Engaged Learning] made implementing campus projects much easier. Having someone suggest particular projects, correspond with the campus partners, and follow up with them made it possible for me to do these projects in my class.

Dr. Lucas Johnston


Students in Software Engineering (CSC331) were matched with clients to exercise teamwork and communication skills as they developed applications in response to client feedback. The Campus Tree Map app was recognized as the highest quality product of the semester. WFU Landscaping can now use the app to maintain an inventory of vital data about Reynolda Campus trees. 

Getting students to actually see what resilient practices look like on a local level and discussing those at a broader scope later in class was a great experience for them.

Dr. Lina Benabdallah

Student researchers in Environmental Issues (ENV201) worked closely with campus stakeholders to analyze environmental challenges including product life cycle assessments, pawpaw pollination, paper towel composting, native meadow restoration, and stormwater management. The analyses yielded practical recommendations for stakeholders and were compiled into a professional course term-project report. 

Students were highly motivated working on the projects because they were able see the direct positive outcomes stemming from their work.

Dr. Chris Zarzar, ENV201

The Geographic Information Systems (BIO379) class was matched with the Maintenance and Utilities team who provided campus energy use data for students who used GIS software to generate visual representations of energy use on campus. A senior Biology major pursued the project as an Independent Study and created an Energy Usage Map of Reynolda Campus Buildings. 

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