Environmental Wellbeing flows from a physical environment that is holistically well: one with healthy lands, waterways, and built spaces; one that provides us with opportunities to relax, reflect, and restore all of our senses.
We know we’ve got it if this place makes us feel good.
Environmental Wellbeing is based on the idea that our surroundings facilitate our personal development. A college campus is, in almost every case, a dynamic place marked by renovation, new construction and assignment of new uses for old facilities. That change can be disruptive – whether measured by traffic flow or our sense of nostalgia for the way things used to be. But in its best form, it reflects a commitment to innovation.
A year ago, Hearn Plaza was revitalized with a new indoor student gathering space, movable tables and chairs, outdoor reading rooms, and game spaces. Some or the amenities were modeled after a renovated public space in New York City’s now thriving Bryant Park. It’s one example of Wake Forest’s desire to bring vitality to its public spaces.
Another: Outdoor Pursuits, located in Reynolds Gym, sponsors approximately 40 off-campus trips every year that allow students to explore the natural wonders of the region.
Take for example the myriad of efforts of the Office of Sustainability, one being a bottle-reuse drive which was started in 2011. Today, that campaign prevents the unnecessary disposal of one bottle every nine minutes.
The environmental component of wellbeing, therefore, can be both obvious (aesthetic beauty) and subtle (water bottles in somebody’s backpack rather than on the ground.)
The Division of Campus Life (ext. 5943) seeks to foster a healthy campus that brings out the best in people in the seen and unseen.
Among the campus’ remarkable resources are Reynolda Gardens and Reynolda House, both just a few minutes’ walk from campus along a serene wooded pathway. These sources of historic beauty provide visitors with access to the type of creativity that can only be inspired by time spent in the company of a world-class art collection.
The student-run organic garden on Polo Road provides its numerous weekly volunteers the opportunity to get dirty and leave their stresses behind. This (re)connection to their food supply reminds visitors of the interconnections between healthy places, minds, and bodies.
Our outdoor spaces are landscaped to provide a seamless reflection on wellbeing. Whether on the quad under the historic Magnolia trees, on the South campus in a stunning hydrangea garden, or on the pathway to Winston Hall where a stormwater area has been transformed into a bustling butterfly garden, the beauty of the campus captures our senses and offers us a chance to breath deeply. Our commitment to Keeping the Forest Green runs deep and is codified in our Tree Campus USA standing.
Environmental Wellbeing is also supported in the built environment. Since 2009, designers have thoughtfully incorporated the wellbeing of occupants into all of our new construction. Indoor air quality, access to natural light, and functionality are all variables that have received the highest consideration.
Offices that support quality of life on campus work together every year to develop and measure wellbeing on our campus. Collaboration between the Division of Student Life, the Office of Sustainability, the Office of the Chaplain, and many more results in opportunities for faculty, students, and staff to work, play, create, rest, and restore.