Wake Forest University

Health and Wellbeing - Sustainability at Wake Forest

Sustainability at Wake Forest

Health and Wellbeing

Health and Wellbeing

Student Health and Wellbeing

The Student Health Services web page provides a listing of their services and regularly updated health and wellness information pertinent to Wake Forest students.  Their many online resources include information on common illnesses and a page of wellness links.

The University Counseling Center also describes their services and provides other highly useful information on their web page, such as guidance for parents, friends, and concerned others.

Staff and Faculty Health and Well-being

Staff and faculty should refer to Human Resources for information about available wellness programs and support.

ARAMARK keeps a full-time registered dietitian on staff who is available by request for individual consults or group talks.

Eating for Environmental Wellness

March 7th, 2018

In fact, my daily sustenance depends on orange groves in Okeechobee and orchardists in Brazil, Ethiopian rainfall and aquifers in Arizona, a harvest of grain from the soils of the Heartland and the health of a dairy cow in Duluth. And if you’re a caffeine addict like I am, you may be interested to learn about the social and environmental complexities of the coffee trade. My first attempt to produce food from the Earth opened my eyes to the reality that eating is an environmental act. (With a nod of respect to Wendell Berry who first said, “eating is an agricultural act.”)

Our diets have a direct impact on the environment. Compare, for instance, the head of lettuce grown in California to the head of lettuce grown in Forsyth County. One requires large amounts of fossil fuel for refrigeration and shipping to arrive on our plates, while the other can be picked up at the farmers’ market or harvested from the backyard. Reducing the carbon footprint of our meals by eating locally, eating less meat, growing and purchasing organic produce, and diverting food waste from landfills helps sustain our environment and also positively impacts our personal health. As it turns out, the wellbeing of our bodies and the wellbeing of the earth are inextricably linked by food.

You can begin to explore the relationship between your diet and the environment by growing food for yourself in the Campus Garden. The hands-on experience of transforming a seed into a salad provides meaningful insight into our profound dependence on this Earth. Campus Garden volunteer hours are hosted every Wednesday and Sunday from 4:00 – 6:00 pm. In fact, the four carbon-reducing solutions mentioned in the paragraph above are represented by initiatives here on campus. You can get involved by exploring these links: Compost CrewPlant-Forward DiningCampus Kitchen.

Eat well!

Collective Action & Wicked Problems

May 22nd, 2014

Stan MeiburgBy Stewart Rickert (’16)

Stan Meiburg, Deputy Regional Administrator of EPA Region 4 for 18 years and prominent Wake Forest alumnus, recently announced his retirement, marking the end of a 37-year career with the EPA.  He worked on a host of issues ranging from The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 to public financing strategies for water and wastewater treatment facilities.

In a recent conversation with us, Meiburg discussed the misunderstanding many Americans have about sustainability, and their lack of awareness about what we can do to escape a growing web of seemingly intractable problems. In Meiburg’s view, the most wicked of these problems is climate change.


Q: Diffuse problems are sometimes lumped together under the term “wicked” problems. We think of wicked problems as persistent, complex, and relying on interconnected variables for a solution. What is a wicked problem from your perspective?

A: To me, the best example of a wicked problem is climate change. I also consider the use of chemicals in the environment to be a particularly persistent wicked problem. Many trends unite these problems, but two stand out: 1) they are big, and require collective action; and 2) results take a long time, and people don’t see immediate benefits from their actions. For example, if you drastically reduce your personal carbon footprint, the climate doesn’t immediately change. But just because you don’t see an impact doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

Q: Since people can’t always see the results of their efforts, how do you make them aware that what they are doing is valuable?

A: For us at the EPA, it was always about education. We knew we were doing a lot, and we wanted to make sure that the public knew why we were acting, and what they could do to help. Notwithstanding all of EPA’s legal authorities, we depend on voluntary, collective actions to help us out of environmental holes we’ve dug for ourselves.

Q: When you say collective action, what do you mean?

A: Collective action is the aggregate of many, many little things. Little things like choosing to walk or bike instead of drive, composting and recycling materials, and turning off the lights (or using motion sensors). By doing little things, we make an impact—and we help promote big things, like designing buildings and neighborhoods that promote such behaviors. By doing little things, we give our neighbors and friends examples of actions that they, too, can take. Above all, I encourage people not to despair; it takes time before we can see the impact of our actions. A motto to still go by is from the first Earth Day in 1970: think globally, act locally. And the country is so much cleaner now than we were then!

For some noteworthy practical tips from Stan Meiburg check out these that have been excerpted from a 2009 keynote address.

Toxic Drift Discussion with Pete Daniel

March 7th, 2014

toxic driftAs part of the History Department’s Engagement Series, we had the pleasure of meeting Wake Forest alumnus and distinguished historian, Pete Daniel. Dr. Daniel’s work covers a panoply of important cultural and historic issues from farming to civil rights and environmental degradation.

During our discussion of his book Toxic Drift: Pesticides and Health in the Post-World War II South., Dr. Daniel posited that our history with pesticides stems from the idea that nature is not good enough. This idea sparked an interesting interdisciplinary discussion that called up concepts from economics, literature, history, ethics, and civil rights. The breadth of the discussion should not have been surprising given that Daniel is a strong proponent of the liberal arts tradition and sees great value in thinking about issues across disciplinary divides.

Faces of Sustainability: Environmental Health and Safety

February 5th, 2013

EHSCampus sustainability efforts often begin with Environmental Health and Safety enforcement. Without first addressing the environmental and safety regulations that protect
our resources and our overall health and safety, we would not be able to create sustainability goals and programs that take us beyond compliance.  The men and women of the Wake Forest Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) provide the foundation for our campus sustainability work.


The office navigates federal, state, and local regulatory compliance requirements by assessing possible hazards, risks, and unsafe working conditions; defining the applicable environmental health and safety programs; and implementing those programs, when necessary.  These include hazardous waste management, the development of procedures to protect employees in hazardous or potentially hazardous work environments on campus, conducting training for employees and students on safe practices, and ensuring that mechanical devices are working properly for the protection of students and faculty while working with chemicals.  In these operations, EH&S partners with departments such as chemistry, physics, biology, nanotechnology, health and exercise science, art, theater, athletics, and other departments within Facilities and Campus Services.

Through these programs, campus not only complies with the regulations, but also moves towards a more sustainable future. We e-interviewed Michelle Lennon, Director of EH&S to learn more about her office’s work on campus.

 Of the things that you have accomplished as an office, of what are you most proud?

We conducted an environmental compliance audit with a third party auditor in 2008. There were findings such as how we collect our chemical waste in certain laboratories, labeling, training, etc. We disclosed our findings to the EPA and corrected the findings within an agreed period with the EPA. Since that audit, we have worked with our campus partners in ensuring that the programs developed for the university to maintain compliance are working and working well. We have developed an environmental management system (EMS) that keeps track of scheduled compliance requirements such as reports, training, reviews, etc.

Another proud accomplishment of EHS is our Space Hazard Assessment Program for the university. EHS works closely with space owners such as laboratory PIs (Principle Investigators) or maintenance workshops to identify hazards within that space. Based upon the existing hazards or potential hazards, EHS will work with the space owner to ensure that the occupants are safe when working in that space. Another great accomplishment for EHS is the online training program that is accessible on our web page. For example, the training requirements for laboratories can be completed by taking the “e-training and completing a short quiz.” This is far better than the traditional method of delivering training by calling everyone into a classroom for an hour. E-training is flexible to the person who completes the training. It allows flexibility for the people to take the training without ever leaving their desk.

Does your office have any input during the construction of new buildings, or upon their completion?

Yes. We work with the University Architect and project managers during the design phase of new construction.

What are some of the ways we can prevent the growth of mold inside our buildings?

As mold growth is identified, it is removed and the area of the growth is cleaned. What everyone needs to keep in mind, is that mold spores are all around us. We do not live in an environment where there are not mold spores present. The key is to understand what causes mold growth in buildings and what you can do to reduce the opportunity for growth. Please refer to the Mold Management Plan on our website for more information.

What are some of the greatest challenges that you all have faced as an office?

The change of mindset is at the top of the list. It is complicated at times to convince people to invest in their own safety. I had a great mentor tell me years ago, that the biggest challenge for EHS professionals is tell people and ensure them that “I am here to protect you from yourself.”

What are some the steps that people could take to be more responsible and even make your jobs a bit easier? We recommend that people buy products with long life cycles, encourage product replacement with less hazardous environmental and safety consequences, reduce usage of extremely hazardous substances, and be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention for your safety and the safety of others.


By Kiana Courtney, Communications and  Outreach Intern

Faces of Sustainability: Rogan Kersh

October 25th, 2012

Photo courtesy of Ken Bennet

As a member of the graduating class of 1986, Wake Forest’s new Provost, Dr. Rogan Kersh, is no stranger to the university.  Neither is he a stranger to sustainability, an interest he has explored for several decades, or as he quips “since before Al Gore made it cool.” Dr. Kersh has two motivations behind his long-term exploration of sustainability: family and politics. He explains “I am the son and husband of deeply committed environmentalists, [who share a] lifelong passion for environmental preservation, appreciating the bounty of nature, and helping to sustain what it means to be on this earth.”  In addition, a general interest in politics also spurs Dr. Kersh’s exploration of the field.  He adds, “as someone interested in political science and public policy, you find your way to an issue as a way to channel your energies; environment and environmental sustainability have been that for me.”

These twin inspirations keep sustainability a continual theme in Dr. Kersh’s professional and personal life. During his tenure as a professor and associate dean at NYU, he advocated for sustainability through seats on numerous committees and incorporated an environmental perspective into his classes.  His apartment in New York, located within an NYU student residence hall, was also designed to model sustainable campus living.  Dr. Kersh owes much to his former apartment, created by retrofitting a historic building with sustainable features like cork floors and countertops made of recycled medical glass.  Not only did living in such a space illustrate his commitment to reducing his impact, he maintains that his wife, Sara Pesek, most recently the Director of an EPA sponsored Environmental Finance Center, agreed to marry him in part because of his “eco-forward apartment.”

Sustainability will play a role in a comprehensive wellbeing initiative led by Dr. Kersh and the Office of the Provost.  Environmental wellness is one of eight dimensions of wellness the Office of the Provost will incorporate into the holistic examination of wellbeing for all university constituents. Specifically, Dr. Kersh identifies the built environment as one pertinent aspect of environmental wellness to be considered as part of the new wellbeing initiative.  He is proud of Wake Forest’s existing leadership in environmentally responsible construction, particularly South Hall, a LEED Gold-certified first-year student residence hall that features low emission materials and a low-impact ventilation system.

According to Dr. Kersh, sustainability should also play a role in the Wake Forest classroom. His own initial academic exposure to sustainability traces back to his undergraduate career, when he studied the Green Party of West Germany in a course on western European politics.  Dr. Kersh believes incorporating sustainability into the classroom can go well beyond explicit course content though, serving as an aspect of university-wide pedagogy.  He explains “what is special about a Wake Forest education is that subject matter is communicated in the most advanced way possible and the professor also brings other kinds of life enhancing [perspectives] to the classroom…sustainability, which I define as being a responsible steward of the planet we inhabit, is a part of that.”

Dr. Kersh has both the heart of a Deacon and the experience and insight gained from a remarkable career.  He has a vision for the university that both honors Wake Forest’s heritage and embraces necessary innovation.  His lifelong commitment to sustainability bodes well for the continued forward momentum of social and environmental responsibility on campus; as he states “I stand ready and excited to implement new ideas.”

 By Annabel Lang, Presidential Fellow for the Office of Sustainability


Dream Green Dorm

September 27th, 2012

This month, Sophomore Amanda Chou won a national contest for college students called, Project Green Dorm hosted by teensturninggreen.org. An eclectic panel of judges ranked the entries by asking each participant to construct a Pinterest board online, featuring 25-50 of the eco-friendly products that, “make up the ultimate green dorm room.” The panel of judges was a diverse set of consultants and activists who were authorities on different aspects of sustainable product supply and design. However, they all agreed that Amanda’s Pinterest board was exceptional.

Amanda’s selections include several products that are both fashion-forward and eco-friendly— eco-chic, some might even say. A new generation of sustainability enthusiasts, like Amanda,  are looking for form and function with selections like bamboo iPhone cases and pencil sets made from recycled newspaper (both found on Amanda’s Pinterest board).

To Amanda, the decision to opt for a Zippit reusable sandwich bag is an easy one. “Green companies want to serve a greater purpose, and by supporting them, I can take part in their initiatives, whether it be Zero Waste, Fair Trade, etc.” She also added that, “It’s easy to go from conventional to conscious. Start small by switching out one conventional product for an eco-friendly alternative and go from there.”

For a look at some of the products in Amanda’s room, check out the following newscast!

By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern

Wellbeing Celebrated at Nutrition Fair

September 27th, 2012

On September 17, Wake Forest Dining hosted the fall 2012 Nutrition Fair. The fair has been a semi-annual event, some of them coinciding with campus Earth Day celebrations in the past two years. Learning more about the issues surrounding personal health and wellbeing can often provide individuals with a window of understanding into the wellbeing of the larger campus ecosystem. This concept, sometimes referred to as environmental wellbeing, is one of the pillars of the new campus-wide wellbeing initiative.

This semester’s event was held in front of the Fresh Food Co. and was very well-attended despite a light drizzle. The fair included several tented booths representing an array of local vendors and a diverse collection of groups on campus. There was plenty to sample.

Here’s a brief look at some of the interests represented:

  • Campus Nutritionist, Beth Audie, offered a “Wheel of Nutrition.” Participants could spin the wheel for a chance to win a variety of free and, of course, nutritious foods available for purchase on campus.
  • Reynolda Farm Market, a small, locally owned store-front market offered local produce, locally finished products, and preserved goods for sale.  They also offered samples of muscadines, giving several students their first introduction to these southeastern native grapes.
  • The Wake Forest Campus Garden brought samples of heirloom tomatoes and fresh salsa made on site.
  • Eco Reps, the campus peer-to-peer educators for sustainability, engaged faculty, staff, and students with a quiz about the impacts of our choices on regional food systems and the health and wellbeing of our community.
  • The campus representative for Fresh Point, ARAMARK’s primary produce distributor, educated attendees about the supply chain for campus dining. He offered samples of several popular recipes, including a delicious and nutritious quinoa dish.


By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern

21st century ride sharing comes to WFU

August 21st, 2012

Photo courtesy of zimride.com

Wake Forest University’s alternative transportation options have expanded over the summer with the addition of Zimride, an online ride-sharing network.  Zimride works by connecting drivers who have extra seats with riders going to the same destination or somewhere else along the way.  Drivers and riders connect via Zimride’s website or Facebook page, where drivers can list their destination and the number of seats available and riders can book a seat in a car headed in the right direction.  Cost-sharing arrangements are made by ride-sharers up front before the departure date.  Zimride is an excellent way to offset costs for all kinds of trips, but is especially useful for students traveling to and from campus for breaks, like Thanksgiving break, fall break, and winter break.

Wake Forest students can also use Zimride to connect with students at nearby universities who have similar travel paths.  Zimride is an economically prudent choice for drivers, who can save 75% on travel costs by sharing a ride with three passengers, and for riders, who can save the cost of a plane, train, or bus ticket.  Many Zimride users report extremely positive experiences, like meeting people who become close friends or even significant others (remember When Harry Met Sally?) by using Zimride.

Both Zimride and Zipcar, the car-sharing option on campus, are part of the collaborative consumption movement. Collaborative consumption uses online network technologies to strengthen our communities and to use goods and services more efficiently through shared access and direct exchange.  By using Zimride, students can reduce the total impact of our campus community on the environment, help one another by sharing travel costs, and get to know each other better on the road back and forth to Wake Forest.

To join our ride-sharing network, visit  http://www.zimride.com/wfu.  To join our car-sharing network, visit http://www.zipcar.com/wfu.

10 Days Celebration: Friday, April 27

April 26th, 2012

Earth Day at the FFCo. – Farm to Fork Friday

When: Regular dining hours

Where: The Reynolda Fresh Food Company and the Magnolia Room

Enjoy locally-sourced food during lunch or dinner at the last Farm to Fork Friday of the semester. While you dine, take a minute to learn more about other sustainable initiatives in dining like the new composting program and the innovative, green cleaning methods  used in campus dining locations.

Local foods to be featured in the Fresh Food Company and the Magnolia Room include:

  • Sweet Potatoes – Ham Produce, Snow Hill, NC
  • Strawberries – Cottle Farms, Faison, NC
  • Salad bar items (wheat grass, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, tri-colored cauliflower, tri-colored carrots, tri-colored grape tomatoes) Sunny Creek Farms, Tryon, NC
  • Apple Cider with sliced apples, Henderson Farms, Henderson County, NC
  • Whole Baby Carrots – Bolthouse Farms, Suwanee, GA
  • Beef for Tacos – Grayson Farms, Scottsville, VA

10 Days Celebration: Monday, April 23

April 22nd, 2012

Nutrition and Wellness Fair

When: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Where: Benson 401

Join ARAMARK for the semi-annual Nutrition and Wellbeing Fair. Wrap up the semester with great health information to get your summer started! Check out just a few of the great opportunities at this free event:

  • Yoga short course, every 15-20 minutes
  • Free food samples
  • Reynolda Farm Market will be selling produce and ready-to-eat foods (bring cash!)
  • Fleet Feet Winston-Salem will provide gait-analysis and tips to optimize your run

Questions? Contact Campus Nutritionist, Beth Audie, RD, LDN at audie-beth@aramark.com