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

STARS v2.0

Wake Forest University
EN-9: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Shelley Sizemore
Associate Director of Advocacy Programs and Civic Education
Pro Humanitate Institute
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Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “supportive”?:

A brief description of the institution’s supportive sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

Wake Forest is committed to service, as evidenced by our motto since 1910 "Pro Humanitate." We demonstrate our commitment to service in many ways, including through our mission statement, which reads in part: "While national is scope, the university has been shaped by a culture that is distinctly North Carolinian. This history provides it with a sense of place and community responsibility. In extending its reach, the university has made a priority international study and international understanding. Wake Forest seeks to be a place where a vibrant and diverse learning community weds knowledge, experience, and service that lift the human spirit."

In 2009, Wake established the Institute for Public Engagement (IPE) to raise the profile of engaged teaching and learning and to work with faculty, staff, students, and community partners. In July 2014, Wake merged IPE with Campus Life's Service & Social Action, expanding both to create a new Pro Humanitate Institute (PHI) as a central place to organize and share ideas that will help improve how the University interacts with the world.

Charged with serving as the programmatic facilitator of the university mission, PHI is a core of learning, teaching, research, service, and action that transforms the ethos of Wake Forest University into an explicit mission connected to clear practices with meaningful social justice outcomes. PHI is led by an Executive Director supported by ten professional staff.

Since 1998, Wake has sponsored the Academic and Community Engagement (ACE) Fellows Program for faculty interested in incorporating service-learning into new or existing courses. The program, now couched as an ongoing learning community, provides stipends, workshops and services designed to enhance engaged teaching and enrich student learning, is now jointly sponsored by PHI, Teaching and Learning Center and Dean of the College. It links Wake's commitment to academic excellence to its Pro Humanitate motto.

The Volunteer Services Corps (VSC) was established 23 years ago and functions as a clearinghouse for direct community service under the direction of student leadership and advised by a staff person in PHI. VSC coordinates direct service opportunities for students directed by issue chairs in hunger, environment, health, and education. VSC also collaborates to organize other direct service opportunities on the campus such as Project Pumpkin, DESK, and Pro Humanitate Day. VSC works with PHI to provide Wake Alternative Break service trips located in Alabama, New Orleans, Chicago, the Shenandoah Valley and Washington D.C. During the winter and summer breaks, students engage with other cultures through international service trips to Vietnam, India, Rwanda and the Dominican Republic.

Service and philanthropy are an integral part of campus culture. Before orientation, first year students can elect to participate in SPARC that introduces them to local community partners. Students work diligently throughout the year to raise money through cancer research. The Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund has raised over $1.5 million since its inception and currently raises $250,000 annually. Finally, students work constantly to support The Campus Kitchen, an expansive Wake program serving 11 community partners more than 300 meals weekly. These programs define Wake as a community and prepare our students for lives of service, leadership, and civic engagement.

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “collaborative”?:

A brief description of the institution's collaborative sustainability partnership(s):

PHI also continues to provide opportunities for students to engage meaningfully in community through co-curricular service as part of the Summer Nonprofit Immersion Program where students develop skills in nonprofit management and intercultural competence through internships with Winston-Salem Community Partners. SNIP is a selective process where students are matched with community partners, serving as full-time staff members supporting their efforts. These partnerships require extensive time commitment (40 hours a week for SNIP) for student participants. They also require ongoing collaboration for at least 20 community partners who serve as advisers, identify community needs, and mentor/supervise student interns.

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “transformative”?:

A brief description of the institution's transformative sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University (CKWFU) is a service program that combines student leadership, waste reduction, and community service to increase access to healthy food for low-income residents of Winston-Salem. CKWFU operates largely under the volunteer leadership of a 40 person student leadership team that recruits, trains, and supervises volunteers for 18 shifts each week.

Volunteers include students (both curricular and co-curricular), faculty, staff and their families. CKWFU employs one Federal Work Study student in addition to three summer interns who assist in assessment and operations. Summer volunteer programs target high school students in the community to build awareness around local hunger issues while also connecting summer school students, faculty, staff, and community volunteers to the community. CKWFU reduces campus and community food waste in two ways: by repurposing prepared but never served food from campus dining to provide approximately 400 meals for social service agencies and by rescuing an average of 1800 pounds of food weekly for our produce redistribution program. The full meals transform potential waste into a resource for agencies so they can spend less money on food and more on other services. The rescued produce not only reduces waste significantly, it helps to shrink food deserts throughout the city, offering high-end fresh fruits and vegetables to community members, particularly children, wo are more accustomed to seeing non-perishable and pre-packaged food. Over 125 low-income families receive food from 4 community agencies through CKWFU's programs.

The program has led to increasingly fruitful partnerships with community agencies that we did not previously serve, all meeting the needs of different demographic groups. CKWFU's produce allows partners to reallocate resources to increase services to their clients, helps efforts to impact food deserts through increased access to fresh produce, and engages students in finding sustainable solutions to hunger and food insecurity in our community. All of this is done against the backdrop of a community that is ranked in the top nationally for most food insecure cities, where a critical mass of public schools have more than 50% of their students on free and reduced lunch. Through well established relationships with Second Harvest Food Bank, the Backpack Program, and Forsyth County Health Department, CKWFU is a strong university based ally in the battle against hunger. In addition to our regular direct service opportunities, CKWFU also leads campus discussions on hunger by bringing in speakers and hosting workshops on the subject. These two approaches to the challenge of food insecurity, the servant and the cerebral, further the development of Wake students as change agents. Through our sustained partnerships with 12 community partners, CKWFU serves an estimated 1,450 individuals.

A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:

Through Wake Alternative Break (WAB) we provide students with intentional service opportunities that immerse them in a variety of communities and cultures both domestically and internationally. The focus of these experiences is two-fold. Students are exposed to new communities and learn unique needs of those communities through direct service. Secondly, these short term programs serve to ignite passion in service and social change work that continues when students return WAB focuses on spring break service trips to serve these needs. Student led teams travel to 10 sites performing serving based on partner agency identified needs and aligned with a core issue area. This alignment of service with a social justice context encourages the education of service to extend beyond the completion of the trip. Last year, students traveled to Chicago to work with a Latino resource center, Washington, DC to investigate hunger and food security best practices within an interfaith context, the Everglades to assist in conservation efforts, and a conservation trip to Knoxville, TN where students served alongside recent alumni of the institution serving as Americorp members with several non-profits in the area.

Students also spend alternative breaks on International Service Trips. This year, students traveled to India, Vietnam, Rwanda, and Russia to do a variety of work in developing communities. In our longest running trip, students served the sick through Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India, where they learned the challenges of abject poverty in the developing world. In our newest service partnership, students traveled to Rwanda to serve with peers in Generation Rwanda, partnering with Rwandan young adults in teaching life skill courses to children and thinking deeply about reconciliation work.

Last year, 139 students and 11 faculty/staff members performed 4,300 service hours through domestic and international service trips partnering with non-local community partners and communities serving an estimated 400 individuals.

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.