Earth Day Celebrations
Films and Lectures
Wake Forest regularly hosts nationally and internationally recognized speakers and award-winning films on themes relevant to sustainability. Check our calendar for upcoming events.
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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.
The itinerary* posted by the march organizers can be found below.
7:00 a.m. WFU bus departs from the flagpole outside of the Benson Center
9:00 a.m. Arrive at Shaw University in downtown Raleigh
9:30 a.m. Begin lining up for the march
10:00 a.m. March for Science begins
12:00 p.m. March for Science concludes at Moore Square
12:00 p.m. Rally and Science Fair begin
2:00 p.m. March for Science activities conclude
2:15 p.m. WFU bus departs from Moore Square
4:30 p.m. Bus arrives back at Wake Forest University*
Each rider will pay a flat fee of $15 for transportation. By signing up, you will reserve your seat on the bus and also commit to paying the $15 fee (note that cash and check are the preferred methods of payment; make checks out to Wake Forest University).
Seats are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Click here to reserve your seat.
* Itinerary times are subject to change.
Wake Forest University Provost Rogan Kersh and Executive Vice President Hof Milam recognized students, faculty, and staff who have demonstrated or initiated successful sustainable practices on campus in the following five categories: Teaching, Research and Engagement; Resource Conservation; Service and Social Action; Bright Ideas; and Leadership.
For the Teaching, Research, and Engagement award category, two individuals were awarded for their work to develop educational and research opportunities that showcase the campus as a living classroom and laboratory. Amanda Lanier was recognized for her focus on sustainability and conservation as the education curator at Reynolda Gardens. Each year, Amanda and her team of volunteers guide over 2,000 school children through the gardens, following a curriculum-based program that focuses on the ecology of the Piedmont. The second award went to Preston Stockton for her leadership on the Reynolda Meadow Project—a 16-acre demonstration site for wildlife protection, watershed protection, and carbon sequestration. The Meadow Project continues to engage the broader community in the important multidimensional research and education underway at Reynolda.
For the Resource Conservation award category, both Facilities & Campus Services and Residence Life & Housing were awarded for their joint work to renovate and renew the Quad residence halls. Over the past two summers, Kitchin, Poteat, and Huffman have all been renovated, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption and a 40 percent reduction in water use. With this savings also comes improved indoor air quality and greatly enhanced livability.
Dr. Angela King was honored with the Service and Social Action award for her work to make Enno Farms a model of sustainable practices. Last year alone, over 300 dozen eggs from the farm were sold to Wake Forest faculty, staff, and students. Most recently, Enno Farms partnered with North Carolina Soil and Water to permanently fence livestock from natural water sources—ultimately preventing erosion and ensuring that the local Dan River water basin remains clean.
This year, the Office of Sustainability recognized three Bright Ideas. Lesli Tuttle, of Student Financial Services, was awarded for her marketing strategy to encourage students to obtain their 1098T tax forms electronically. Her innovative campaign saved over 3,400 paper tax forms from being printed and mailed. Steve Fisenne was awarded for his work to successfully develop a chemical inventory system to track hazardous chemicals on campus and to limit duplicate ordering of chemicals among and between departments. During the latest EPA inspection, the university passed an audit by both regional and federal authorities with zero violations—an unprecedented outcome. The final award in the Bright Ideas category went to the Wake Forest Customer and Custodial Services team for their work to make our buildings, air, and environment healthier. To ameliorate the negative environmental and human health effects of wet floor strippers, this team researched and implemented a dry removal method for the annual floor stripping in the residence halls.
Sebastian Irby was awarded this year’s Leadership award for her unprecedented drive in developing the first interdisciplinary undergraduate degree in Sustainability Studies. From mapping a course of study that matches the rigor of established degree programs at peer institutions, to securing commitments from faculty to offer the courses that will fulfill the program requirements at Wake Forest, Sebastian has blazed a trail. Additionally, Sebastian has served as a resource to at least 10 peers who are pursuing their own interdisciplinary paths in sustainability-related areas.
A special award was presented to Sarah Fahmy, a member of the Student-Athlete Sustainability Network, who lead the collaboration between the Office of Sustainability and Athletics to get the student-athlete sustainability network off the ground. A member of the Wake Forest Women’s Track & Field team, as well as the Women’s Cross Country team, Sarah has played in integral role in recruiting and inspiring this group of campus sustainability leaders.
Celebrate Arbor Day and Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees, at the Reynolda Village trailhead on March 24 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The event kicks off with a tree planting ceremony. Following the ceremony, volunteers will pull up their boots and roll down their sleeves to beautify the woods and creek head surrounding the Reynolda Village trail. Afterwards, all participants will enjoy a cookout featuring grass-fed beef burgers (vegetarian options also included). Register to participate and receive an Earth Week t-shirt and a chance to win prizes for group participation. Other Earth Week events can be found here.
Sunday, March 19 | 300 Link Loot Points
Celebration of Spring: Vernal Equinox
2:00 – 4:00 pm | Campus Garden
Kick off Earth Week by celebrating the Spring Equinox at the Campus Garden. Share and enjoy short stories, poems, essays, and songs about our relationship to spring, growth, beginnings, resistance, and healing. In addition to sharing stories, music, and food, you are invited to express your creativity by painting a banner to showcase your love and appreciation for trees. Student organizations are encouraged to register as groups to paint their banners. All materials will be provided by the Office of Sustainability. Banners will be displayed on the Upper Quad throughout the week-long celebration.
Monday, March 20 | 200 Link Loot Points
12:00 – 3:00 pm | Green space in front of ZSR
We’ve teamed up with Outdoor Pursuits, Ken’s Bike Shop, and the Cycling Club to host a free bicycle tune-up station on campus. Stop by the green lawn in front of the ZSR Library where bike mechanics from Ken’s Bike Shop will pump up your tires, make minor fixes and adjustments, and offer advice on larger repairs that cannot be done on the spot.
Tuesday, March 21 | 400 Link Loot Points
Just Eat It: Waste-Not Cooking Class
4:00 – 6:00 pm | Campus Kitchen Lounge
Don’t toss it — eat it! Ever wonder whether or not you should eat something after the “best by” date? Learn more about reducing your food waste, while also making a delicious, nutritious meal. Campus Kitchen, Thrive, and the Office of Sustainability are joining forces for a unique cooking class by cooking with food that might normally go to waste. This class is open to all students, staff, and faculty. Register on the PDC website, space is limited.
Wednesday, March 22 | 300 Link Loot Points
Campus Sustainability Awards
4:00 pm | Reynolda Hall Green Room
Join us in recognizing the work of those who have enhanced the culture of sustainability within the campus community at the fourth annual Champions of Change: Campus Sustainability Awards ceremony on March 22. Staff, faculty, and students will be awarded for their work in the following categories: resource conservation, academics and engagement, service and social action, leadership, and bright ideas. We look forward to celebrating the work of sustainable change agents across campus. RSVP here.
Thursday, March 23
Leadership Project Rally with Donna Edwards
1:30 pm | Johnson and Bostwick lawn
Former Maryland congresswoman and Wake Forest graduate Donna Edwards has spent the last few months on an RV road trip to state and national parks. Her ultimate goal is to raise awareness of parks in communities of color. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to engage with Congresswoman Edwards and learn more about her political life, community activism, and travels on March 23 during a rally on the Mag Quad. Later that day, Edwards will be speaking as part of the Leadership Project at 6:00 p.m.in Farrell Hall’s Broyhill Auditorium. More information can be found here.
Friday, March 24 | 500 Link Loot Points
Campus Beautification Day
3:30 – 5:30 pm | Reynolda Village Trailhead
Celebrate Arbor Day and Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees, at the Reynolda Village trailhead. The event kicks off with a tree planting ceremony. Following the ceremony, volunteers will pull up their boots and roll down their sleeves to beautify the woods and creek head surrounding the Reynolda Village trail. Afterwards, all participants will enjoy a cookout featuring grass-fed beef burgers (vegetarian options also included). Register to participate and receive an Earth Week t-shirt and a chance to win prizes for group participation.
Monday, March 20 – Friday, March 24
Get Caught Green-Handed
Throughout the week, individuals who are “caught green-handed” making everyday environmentally conscious decisions will receive a sticker or temporary tattoo. Decisions might include riding bikes, using reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, and shopping bags, taking the campus shuttles, eating at Deacon Dining’s new vegan station, or pledging to reduce energy and water use on campus.
Saturday, March 25
Forsyth Creek Week
Saturday, March 25 marks the start of a nine-day celebration of our local waterways. Join in on the fun with Creek Crawls, trail rides, Creek Week trivia, a photography contest and more. Further information about Creek Week, and ways to get involved, can be found here.
For questions about the events or other opportunities to engage, contact Ally Hellenga. Follow the Office of Sustainability on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@SustainableWFU) to stay up to date on all events.
We are seeking nominations for students, faculty, and staff who advance sustainability through:
- Resource Conservation (energy, water, or waste reduction)
- Nominations may include projects and efforts that have resulted in energy conservation, water conservation, waste reduction, or a combination of these areas.
- Academics and Engagement (teaching, research, engaged learning)
- Nominations may include classes with sustainability-focused learning outcomes, research in sustainability-focused areas, and/or opportunities to learn about sustainability through practical application.
- Service and Social Action
- Nominations may include service projects or campaigns that result in social and/or environmental justice outcomes for individuals and the communities served.
- Bright Ideas (innovative ideas that have been or could be implemented)
- Nominations may include sustainability-focused projects, efforts, or ideas that are unique and innovative on the Wake Forest campus.
- Nominations will include individuals who have empowered others to lead the sustainability transformation.
Nominations will be evaluated based on:
- The way(s) in which the nominee(s) has/have helped advance one or more of the WFU campus sustainability goals,
- The level of participation by colleagues within the department or unit,
- Measurable impact among constituents across campus or in the community served (students, faculty, staff, and/or community members) and
- Any additional information or data available to support the nomination.
Self-nominations are accepted. We look forward to hearing about the work of all the inspiring change agents across campus.
Leavell and his wife, Rose Lane, own and operate a tree forest called Charlane Plantation in Bullard, Georgia. In his 2004 memoir, “Between Rock and a Home Place,” Leavell reflects on the wildly different lives he leads. His ‘day job’ at Charlane Plantation consists of waking up at 5 a.m., riding around on a tractor, pruning trees and being honored—twice—as a Georgia Tree Farmer of the Year and as a National Outstanding Tree Farmer.
During his visit to Winston-Salem and Wake Forest University, Leavell was able to merge his two worlds as a rock’n’roll keyboardist and a Georgia tree farmer together for a two-day event full of solo performances, a conservation panel discussion, and a tree planting.
On Nov. 10, shovels hit the ground as Leavell helped plant a white oak tree outside Farrell Hall near Poteat Field on the Wake Forest University campus. Leavell was joined by Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, chief sustainability officer, Hof Milam, executive vice president of Wake Forest, Andy Tennille, a freelance music journalist, photographer and curator of the “More Barn” concert series, as well as other members of the Wake Forest sustainability community.
Later that evening, Leavell joined Wake Forest’s Dr. Miles Silman, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation Professor of Conservation Biology and Director of the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, for a presentation and panel discussion on conservation and environmental stewardship.
Both speakers challenged the audience to take action and be good environmental stewards. Leavell emphasized that “being a good steward is hard work, but it’s important and it’s worth it.”
“His level of dedication to understanding sustainability—to using the land without using it up—is amazing,” said Silman in regards to Chuck’s conservation work.
The celebration of environmental stewardship and land conservation continued on Nov. 11 with a sold-out, solo concert at the Barn in Reynolda Village.
One thing is certain—Chuck holds his recognitions from the National Arbor Day Foundation, the Georgia Conservancy, and the Urban Forest Council equally high—or higher—than his numerous gold and platinum records.
“Rolling Stones keyboardist, multi-book author, owner of a profitable, sustainable farm—Chuck does it all,” Silman said.
This event was sponsored by the Office of Sustainability and the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES), in conjunction with the “More Barn” series at the Barn at Reynolda Village.
Click here to view photos from the event on Flickr.
Click here to read a piece about the tree planting by the Winston-Salem Journal.
Alyshah Aziz graduated Cum Laude with a major in Politics & International Affairs and a minor in Middle East & South Asian Studies. Alyshah served as an Alternative Transportation Intern for six consecutive semesters. She is working as a Business Analyst within Deloitte’s Federal Human Capital Consulting division.
Alyshah’s reflection on the internship: My internship with the Office of Sustainability helped me strengthen my skills in research, writing, marketing, and creativity. My time in the office and my friendships with Dedee, Hannah, Annabel, initiative co-sponsors, and interns are invaluable to me. My biggest takeaway that I will always carry with me is to think critically of what I read, hear, and see. The weekly intern meetings taught me to listen to what I hear and/or see and then investigate. My internship has lead me to view the world and all the activities of humankind from a holistic perspective.
Over 200 WFU graduates made an enduring commitment to sustainability by signing the Green Graduation pledge, an opportunity that over 100 other colleges and universities offer their graduates. All signatories received a reusable travel mug to reinforce sustainable habits. The mugs are printed with Wake Forest’s Green Graduation pledge: I pledge to take into account the social and environmental consequences of any future endeavors and to work to improve the sustainability of the communities in which I work, live and play.
This is the sixth year that Wake Forest graduates have participated in the nationwide pledge movement.
Graduates who missed the initial opportunity to commit can come by the Office of Sustainability during our Homecoming reception in the fall to sign the pledge and/or grab a reusable mug.
The Wake Forest University Campus Sustainability Awards presentation was held on Earth Day– Friday, April 22, 2016–in the Green Room of Reynolda Hall. A combination of students, faculty, and staff who have demonstrated or initiated successful sustainable practices on campus were recognized as Champions of Change.
Two individuals were honored with special awards for their meritorious leadership. Green Team captain for Reynolda House, Dan Rossow, was recognized for his work in producing zero-landfill receptions and developing recycling education for staff and visitors. Sustainability intern Alyshah Aziz, Class of 2016, was honored for her successful work in implementing the Re-Cycle bike sharing program for Wake Forest.
Wake Forest University Provost Rogan Kersh and Executive Vice President Hof Milam recognized the following award recipients in four categories: Teaching, Research and Engagement; Resource Conservation; Service and Social Action; and Bright Ideas.