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Sustainability at Wake Forest

Posts Tagged ‘choose to reuse’

Think Green Thursday: Mug Giveaway

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Stop by Think Green Thursday on your way into the library and check out how using your own reusable mug or thermos can reduce resource waste. Afterwards, if you need one, grab a fun and free reusable mug. A coffee discount voucher is also available to everyone who stops by and participates.

Refilling Stations Flow through Campus

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Refilling stations are becoming the norm at Wake Forest University, with a total of 46 water bottle refill stations across campus. What started with 2010-11 Choose to Reuse intern Frannie Speer, a grant from Brita’s Filter for Good program, and a pilot refill station outside the Office of Sustainability in Reynolda Hall, has propelled into a campus-wide initiative.

A strong show of support from students, faculty, and staff has spurred the installation of refilling stations throughout campus. The impetus to install a station in Greene Hall originated from administrative assistant Tara Ogletree, in the Department of German and Russian. “I thought that having the refilling station installed on the third floor of Greene Hall would be a small contribution to our growing eco-friendly campus.” In another show of departmental backing, the Office of Budget and Financial Planning co-sponsored the installation of the refilling station outside the Fresh Food Company in 2012. Residence Life & Housing installed stations in nearly every residence hall this year.

Each water bottle refill station located around campus has a built-in sensor that starts the flow of chilled, filtered water from an overhead port when a bottle is placed in front of it. The refill stations are “no-touch” and provide immediate feedback that tracks the number of “disposable plastic bottles” that are avoided through use of the refill station.

The amount of waste refilling stations reduce is one of many benefits to having the stations on campus. Additionally, water from the refill stations does not bear the same transportation fuel waste burden as bottled and distributed water, nor does it generate the same resultant greenhouse gas emissions. When compared to single-use plastic water bottles, that are sometimes shipped internationally, this equates to notable emissions reduction. Looking at the bigger picture, it translates to better air quality and natural resource management, all of which contribute to a healthier environment.

It is clear that refilling stations have much to offer campus — convenient, good tasting, filtered, chilled hydration. As Ogletree puts it, simply, “Hopefully, the installations will encourage others to participate in the program and promote healthier lifestyles.”

 By Hannah Slodounik, Program Coordinator


Think Green Thursday: Choose to Reuse

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

How much do you know about the water you are drinking?  Come put your knowledge to the test at Choose to Reuse @Hit The Bricks!  The Office of Sustainability will be leaving our usual post in front of the Fresh Food Company to bring Think Green Thursday to you while you run laps in support of the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund. Find us on the upper quad where we will be giving the Bottled Water Quiz and distributing reusable Nalgene water bottles to participants.  If you have already earned a reusable water bottle, we will have water fresh from our hydration station on hand to help you keep choosing to reuse!

Where are they now: Frannie Speer

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Photo credit: Office of Communications and External Relations

Students around campus are changing the way they think about hydration by choosing to fill up their reusable water bottles at refilling stations around campus. Little do they know, they have former sustainability intern Frannie Speer to thank for these.

When Frannie joined the Office of Sustainability in the 2010-2011 academic year as the Choose to Reuse intern, she saw a need for a change in the consumptive behavior of students.  Frannie encouraged members of the Wake Forest community to trade disposable plastic bottles for reusable bottles to meet their hydration needs.  Her hard work came to fruition the summer after she graduated when a grant for which she applied was awarded and the first hydration station was installed in Reynolda Hall.

Frannie’s entrepreneurial inspiration spurred her to develop the Choose to Reuse campaign at Wake Forest.  While taking a class that encouraged students to look at consumption creatively, she and her classmates began a discussion about water usage.   Frannie remembers noting, “People are making uniformed decisions without thinking twice about it. Looking back to our youth, during those soccer games, other sporting events or even at lunchtime, our parents filled our bags and lunch boxes with the small water bottles.  We are conditioned to think that is the only way to drink water.”

With this in mind, Frannie became interested in the idea of bringing the hydration stations to campus.  The stations are a convenient way for people to have access to chilled, filtered water for their refillable bottles. Although Frannie has no preference for how she likes her tap water, she learned through a poll that most students on campus prefer it chilled and filtered.  Through an informative campaign, Frannie and the Office of Sustainability armed faculty, staff, and students with information about pricing, health, safety, and environmental impacts of bottled water. With this information, campus consumers can make more informed purchasing decisions.

Over the course of the campaign, Frannie also saw a change in her own behavior.  She polled students and found that they reported drinking only two to four glasses of water a day;  she found herself in that same group.  With easier access to water, Frannie increased her consumption and now she cannot go a day without her essential eight glasses.  Even today, her project continues to expand and to improve the wellness of the Wake Forest community.

Upon graduating from Wake Forest in 2011, Frannie joined Wells Fargo Securities as an investment banker in the Consumer & Retail group,  where she focuses on companies within the beauty retail and luxury retail market.  Although, she does not directly work on sustainability issues, she still influences the environmental conscience of her coworkers and firm.  During an investment banking training last summer, she pitched the idea of handing out Wells Fargo-logoed reusable water bottles instead of the traditional disposable plastic bottles – an idea that was met with enthusiasm.

In the future, she hopes to continue to pursue more direct work on sustainability issues. For now, she remains passionate about supporting local food production and independent restaurateurs.  Frannie believes that by supporting the local food trucks and restaurants that sell sustainably farmed foods, she can directly influence the local community, the local economy, and reduce the energy and environmental impacts of food production.

To current students, her advice is to find a sustainable cause that they care about.  Keeping your eyes open to different issues and making a conscious effort to address them remains important because as Frannie says, “the little things make a big difference.”

Choose to Reuse: Even More Hydration Stations Quench Thirst and Reduce Waste

Monday, February 25th, 2013

reuse sticker_solid With the launch of the Choose to Reuse campaign in 2011, the original station was christened outside the Office of Sustainability in Reynolda Hall.  The fleet of stations has now grown to nine. The growth of this student-initiated project reflects a desire to reduce plastic water bottle waste.

According Mother Nature Network, an environmental nonprofit, 1.5 million bottles of plastic waste are generated each year.  These refilling stations are thus a great stride to cutting down our campus’s contribution to the waste, avoiding the use and disposal of over 122,000 plastic bottles and counting.

Thirsty Deacons can see how much waste they are reducing as they refill their reusable bottles. Each station gives users immediate feedback, keeping tally of the amount of water bottles that are avoided.

Not sure where to go to fill up? Here’s a tally of the existing stations as of the end of February 2013 and the equivalent number of standard-sized disposable bottles that would have been consumed:

Reynolda Hall, first floor outside Office of Sustainability: 29,706 bottles
Reynolda Hall, ground floor outside Fresh Food Company (sponsored by Budget and Financial Planning): 8,888 bottles
Benson University Center, ground floor outside food court near Pugh auditorium: 6,840 bottles
Z Smith Reynolds Library, outside ground floor atrium restrooms: 14,625 bottles
Winston Hall, second floor: 5,626 bottles
Worrell Professional Center, School of Law Wing: 25,340 bottles
Worrell Professional Center, Babcock Graduate School Wing: 31,112 bottles
Manchester Athletic Center, second floor: 1,958 bottles
Miller Center in the first floor weight room facility (installed this week): 20 bottles

Coming Soon:
Tribble Hall, first floor A Wing
Reynolds Gym, ground floor outside of the pool locker rooms
Miller Center, ground floor near the fitness center
Scales Fine Arts Center, two locations to be determined

For an interview with Frannie Speer, the former intern who initiated the Choose to Reuse campaign, check out this month’s Where are They Now column.


 By Kiana Courtney, Communications and Outreach Intern

Three new hydration stations join our fleet

Monday, August 6th, 2012

New hydration stationsNew hydration stations will greet students returning to Reynolda campus. Facilities and Campus Services installed three new stations in high traffic areas: outside the Fresh Food Company, on the ground floor of Benson near Pugh Auditorium, and in the atrium of the Z. Smith Reynolds library.  Hydration stations provide chilled, filtered water and are designed to encourage the use of refillable water bottles.  A built-in sensor starts the flow of water when a thirsty Deacon places a refillable bottle under the tap, and stops the flow when the bottle is removed.  Each unit keeps a running count of how many disposable water bottles we have avoided by choosing to refill.

The success of the first three hydration stations installed last year, outside the Office of Sustainability on the first floor of Reynolda Hall, in Winston Hall, and in the Worrell Professional Center, has demonstrated the demand for hydration stations across campus.  This July the original station outside of the Office of Sustainability broke the 20,000 mark for the number of disposable water bottles avoided.  Plastic water bottle disposal is an increasing environmental hazard, adding 2 million tons of waste to landfills in the US each year, according to National Geographic. And disposal is not the only problem; plastic water bottles require an incredible amount of energy to produce and transport (if you filled a plastic water bottle up with all the oil required for its production, that water bottle would be about a quarter of the way full).  By installing six hydration stations and using refillable water bottles to stay hydrated, our campus community is participating in an important global transition away from disposable water bottles.

As older water fountains fail, Facilities and Campus Services will replace them with new hydration stations.  Departments can also co-sponsor the installation of a hydration station near their offices.  The Office of Budget and Financial Planning sponsored the installation of the new hydration station outside the Fresh Food Company.  For information on how to co-sponsor a hydration station, contact Tiffany White whitetn@wfu.edu. If your department would like to jump to the front of the line and install a station in your area, contact Donnie Adams at adamsdl@wfu.edu. Also look out for The Office of Sustainability’s reusable water bottle give away at Think Green Thursdays.  For dates and times, check our office calendar.

By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow

Think Green Thursdays engage community

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to explore sustainability through interactive, educational, and fun Think Green Thursday events every Thursday when regular classes are in session from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the Magnolia Patio of Reynolda Hall.

In the second year of the Think Green Thursday program, each month of events will be themed around a central issue, from waste reduction to event planning to fair trade. Participants are eligible to earn great rewards that will help support sustainable lifestyle choices. The theme for September is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – so be on the lookout for activities to help support your waste reduction efforts this month.

There will be something for everyone this year. While some events will be targeted toward students (like distribution of personal recycling totes), others are designed to provide knowledge and tools to empower faculty and staff. Many weeks’ activities will interface with Green Team Network efforts.

Look forward to these upcoming events:

  • September 15 – Choose to Reuse: Stop by to learn about the impacts of drinking single-serve bottled water and for a chance to earn your Choose to Reuse water bottle and campaign sticker. Once you have your bottle, be sure to check out the new bottle refilling station, located outside the Office of Sustainability. This pilot station provides filtered, chilled water with hands-free convenience. Let us know what you think.
  • September 22 – Conscious Consumer: Less is more. Think critically about your consumer choices with our Mystery X Conscious Consumer game. Participants will be entered in a raffle to win a fabulous prize.
  • September 29 – Upcycling: Join us for this fun craft-themed event. Learn how to make reusable shopping bags out of plastic grocery bags or t-shirts and enter a raffle to win a prize created from everyday items.

See you there!

FAQ – A Sustainable Start

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Q. The new school year is starting and I want to give sustainability a try – do you have any materials to get me started?

A. You are in luck! From recycling to dining, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn how you can receive your personal recycling bin, Green Guide, reusable to-go container, reusable water bottle and Zipcar membership.

Personal Recycling Bin

Who: Returning students

Where: The Magnolia Patio

When: Thursday, September 8 and Thursday, September 22, from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

What: Test your recycling IQ at one of our Think Green Thursday events and walk away with a green recycling tote of your very own. The bins stack, so bring your roommate and you can create a comprehensive recycling collection system in your residence hall room. Supplies are limited and bins are awarded on a first-come, first served basis.

Green Guide: A Deacon’s Guide to Sustainable Living

Who: Everyone

Where: The Magnolia Patio

When: Thursdays, from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

What: Have a question about alternative transportation at Wake? Want to sample some locally sourced cuisine at a downtown restaurant, but don’t know where to go? Interested in getting involved with sustainability at Wake Forest? The 25-page second edition of the WFU Green Guide answers all your sustainability questions. Though the first edition was written for students, by students, the second edition also includes resources requested by faculty and staff.

Reusable To-Go Container

Who: Anyone who eats at the Fresh Food Company

Where: In front of the Reynolda Fresh Food Company (aka The Pit)

When: August 26 – September 7, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

What: If you eat at the Pit, you are eligible to receive one free green reusable to-go container. Don’t throw away or lose this container. When you are finished with your meal, return the bin to the North Campus store or the Fresh Food Co. Green Scene Express, so that it can be washed and reused. In exchange, you will receive a clean container or a plastic key-tag. After this 2 week free distribution period, any replacement containers will cost you $5, so be sure to pick up your container or tag between August 26 and September 7.

In addition, Faculty and staff may purchase blocks of meals from the Fresh Food Co. accounting office at a discount. They will receive one free to-go container with purchase even after the 2 week free period.

Learn more about changes to the to-go program and other exciting dining initiatives here. (Hint – the to-go process has been improved and streamlined.)

“Choose to Reuse” Reusable Water Bottles

Who: Everyone

Where: The Magnolia Patio

When: Thursday, September 15, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

What: Earn a colorful re-usable water bottle during our “Choose to Reuse” Think Green Thursday event. Learn about the positive impact you can make by choosing a reusable bottle over single-serve bottled water and take the water taste test. Can you tell the difference between tap and bottled water?

Zipcar Membership

Who: Any individual over the age of 18 with a valid driver’s license or any university office/department

Where: Zipcar.com/wfu

When: Anytime

What: No car? No problem. For just $35/year, you become part of a car sharing program that supplies a car, gas, insurance and roadside assistant for a low hourly rate. Take the car to your meeting off-campus, to Target for supplies, or on a weekend trip. The best part? University students, faculty and staff receive $35 in driving credit to be used in the first month of membership – it’s like getting the membership for free. Visit the WFU Zipcar web site to register or stop by our office (Reynolda Hall 101) if you have any questions.

By Caitlin Brooks, Wake Forest Fellow

University to defend ACC championship for waste reduction

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Students, faculty and staff are back at it, defending the university’s ACC title this year. No, you didn’t miss any football or basketball championships — we’re talking about trash. Last year the Demon Deacons claimed the ACC title for greatest waste reduction per capita during RecycleMania 2010. And this year, we’re back to defend that title and perhaps secure a new one.

RecycleMania is nationwide recycling competition that pits 630 colleges and universities against one another to promote waste reduction and recycling on campus. Schools  compete in a variety of areas, including waste minimization, overall weight of recyclables, and diversion rates of targeted materials for recycling.

The university’s participation in this year’s RecycleMania tournament coincides with the launch of the “Choose to Reuse” campaign, which promotes the switch to reusable water bottles from disposable single-use bottles.

Thirty percent of Wake Forest students report consuming an average of 5 disposable bottles of water per week. This equates to over 6000 bottles of water being consumed weekly by students on the Reynolda campus alone. By these calculations, simply making the switch to reusable bottles, will cut 4800 bottles out of the the university’s waste stream each week – and this is just water bottle waste from students. Imagine all of the landfill waste we could reduce by switching to durable, re-usable options in all areas of campus life.

RecycleMania fans are encouraged to track collective waste reduction and recycling efforts online. Results are available each Friday on the Recyclemania web site throughout the competition, which runs until April 2. Students can also keep informed on the university’s progress by coming to Think Green Thursdays throughout the semester.

By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern

Think Green Thursdays

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

By De'Noia Woods, Photography Intern

The Office of Sustainability is excited to announce the debut of Green Thursdays! Every Thursday the office of sustainability invites you to come hang out on the patio and get involved in a fun, green activity. Come out this Thursday (Feb 17) on the Mag Patio (outside our office), get a free water bottle, and take on our water taste challenge! Recap:

What: Think Green Thursday: Water Taste Challenge

Where: Mag Patio, outside of the sustainability Office

When: February 17, 10:45-12:00

See you there!

-WFU Office of Sustainability Interns