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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.88
Liaison Dedee DeLongpre Johnston
Submission Date June 3, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Wake Forest University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Dedee DeLongpre Johnston
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing ---
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance ---
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment ---
Public Engagement Yes
Other ---

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

An undergraduate Energy Management intern in Facilities and Campus learned the processes behind data collection and management in order to develop the first GHG inventory for campus. The Clean Air Cool Planet inventory tool the intern created is currently in use. Facilities and Campus Services works with two energy management interns each year to make improvements to this process.

A team of students in the Applied Sustainability course (MA Sustainability) conducted a carbon action plan readiness assessment for the campus, including stakeholder interviews, benchmarking, and a proposal for the social cost of carbon that could be integrated into decision making.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The course "Studies in Historic Preservation" (HST 366) follows the story of historic preservation from its founding to the present; engages the visions and principles that have guided the movement; studies the basic documents, laws, and international charters and conventions that define the movement; explores the growing partnerships of the preservation movement with initiatives in sustainability and conservation of natural resources; and addresses future directions and challenges for historic preservation in rapidly changing economies and societies. During week one, students are introduced to preservation of the natural and built landscape that includes a site visit of the WFU campus and Reynolda House and Estate.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The ARAMARK Sustainability in Dining Intern tracks weekly expenditures of local, regional, organic, biodegradable, and fair trade ARAMARK purchases. The intern calculates monthly purchasing and unit totals, updates year-to-date totals, and continuously looks for new products to order to increase sustainable purchases. This year, the intern initiated the conversation to start purchasing bagels for the dining hall that are made in Winston-Salem.

Here is a reflection from the 2014-2015 intern: "My experience as the Sustainability in Dining Intern was eye-opening. Being sustainable at an individual is very different than at a corporate level, and it was incredibly interesting to learn how sustainable practices are implemented. In my internship I learned all about what food purchases are made and how we select vendors, as well as being able to run a project of my choosing and helping to prepare the STARS 2.0 review."


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The first-year seminar "Counting on Sustainable Energy -- Does it Add Up?" fosters a greater understanding of alternative energy and arms students with the ability to critically evaluate assertions about the relative environmental impacts of various fuel sources. Over the course of a semester, students investigate a wide array of alternative energy sources, including solar, hydro, wind, and geothermal. They examine how much energy the sources could produce on Wake Forest’s campus and how much energy a Wake Forest student consumes each day. By the end of the semester, students find an answer to the course’s central question: "Could we, with our current consumption patterns, rely on sustainable energy at Wake Forest University? If the answer is yes, students explain exactly how a switch to sustainable energy might be feasible in their final paper. If the answer is no, students lay out a plan to reduce energy consumption. Dr. Mason’s FYS is hands-on. Her students began the course by measuring their own electricity consumption with a Kill-a-watt, an exercise designed to give them an idea of scale when they use the watt or kilowatt hour (kWh) as a unit of measure.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The WFU Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, the Department of Biology, and Reynolda Gardens have partnered on the Reynolda Meadows Project. This project is in the process of restoring a 14 ha Piedmont prairie at Reynolda Gardens. In addition to biodiversity preservation and ecosystem service provision, it is used for ongoing research in 5 biology courses, including a core course in the introductory biology series. It is also central to public engagement, with hundreds of non-WFU visitors each day.
(http://reynoldagardens.org/2013/03/28/meadow-development-spring-2013/)

The Reynolda Gardens and associated natural habitats have been used for research for the last 50 years by the department of biology. It is also used for an expansive and signature environmental education effort with Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools and summer camps.

The Healing/Meditation Garden serves as a space for students to learn about plants that are native to the Cherokee bands in North Carolina. Students learn and serve in the space -- removing invasive plants and replacing them with native species.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

In fall 2013, students in health communications and software engineering undergraduate courses worked together to design an application to improve accessibility around Wake Forest’s campus. From wheelchairs to long boards, students considered the unique ways people maneuver around campus. One student team chose cycling to support the campus-wide transportation demand management goals. This information contributed to the exploration of a alternative transportation phone and tablet application for campus.
(http://sustainability.wfu.edu/2013/12/10/solving-problems-across-disciplines/)


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Since 2011, Gameday Recycling, has been an opportunity for both undergraduate and graduate students to explore the waste stream and some waste management challenges. Students sign-up for shifts and distribute recycling bins and bags to tailgate fans and communicate what can be recycled. A few students also helped to complete a waste audit of stadium waste to help better understand the waste stream. Gameday recycling efforts result in the diversion of tons of waste from the landfill.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Two energy management interns work with Facilities and Campus Services, Residence Life & Housing, and the Office of Sustainability to organize an annual Campus Conservation Nationals competition. The interns develop programs and campaigns aimed at energy and water conservation. WFU earned top honors in water conservation in 2014 and 2015. Students organize events including room assessments, public conservation pledges, and other programming to educate peers about water reduction habits and existing building operations that reduce WFU's water footprint.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

On November 3, 2014, the Pro Humanitate Institute (PHI) at WFU held a campus-wide deliberative dialogue to consider the question: “What does it mean to live in community?” Approximately 325 students, faculty, and staff discussed together personal experiences with the issue; pros and cons of available options; and the costs and consequences of possible actions. Through the deliberative dialogue, common ground for action was identified. Based on the feedback from 19 small group discussions, six action teams were identified. Each team reviewed the action ideas that were recoreded during the deliberative dialogue, researched what was already being done in each area, conducted a gap analysis and identified barriers to change, researched best practices, and made innovative recommendations.

"The Big Tent: Transforming Race Project" offers individuals and groups an opportunity to represent themselves artistically with the aim of broadly portraying an inclusive campus climate. The event is facilitated by the Winston Salem Human Relations Department, Wake Forest art Professor David Finn, and several Wake Forest and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County students. A tent is set up on campus to showcase painting, poetry and other artistic expressions of identity.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

"CHARGE! Wake Emerging Leaders" is a leadership program for first year and sophomore students. As part of the 10-week program students take various personal inventories and assessments, participate in small group action planning, attend a weekend retreat, and learn from campus and community leaders. One initiative that originated from CHARGE is the ZieSta Room. Students approached Associate Dean Susan Smith about creating a space conducive to mid-study naps and the ZieSta Room was created. It is located in the ZSR Library and features five recliners that lets students relax and recharge. While falling asleep in the library is hardly new, encouraging it illustrates how ZSR is writing a new chapter on the wellbeing of students living in a 24/7 world.
(http://zsr.wfu.edu/about/library-places-study-spaces/ziesta-room/
http://news.wfu.edu/2014/12/11/its-finals-week-take-time-to-ziesta/)


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

In the first-year seminar "True Value Meals," each student is required to complete 18 hours of food-related service with community partners to enhance their readings for the course and aid class discussion. Service hours showed that they gleaned food from the Cobblestone Farmers Market for redistribution to food-insecure families; repackaged food from the on-campus dining hall for delivery to persons in need; made sandwiches for homeless individuals on Saturday mornings; turned plots, compost and planted fall crops in the WFU Campus Garden. All of this effort has helped the partners and the students’ learning.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:
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The examples above provide a representative sample of engaged learning projects for sustainability on the campus. The full breadth of living laboratory examples is not captured in these few examples. The work of campus sustainability interns is available at http://sustainability.wfu.edu/about/internships/.

The areas marked "unknown" have been the subject of living learning opportunities, but not during the scope of time covered in this assessment.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.