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Stories this week at Wake Forest University

March 16, 2010

SUSTAINABILITY:  DIFFERENT SHADES OF GREEN IN HIGHER ED —  One shade of green does not suit every college and university, says Dedee DeLongpre Johnston, director of sustainability at Wake Forest University.  As higher education institutions prepare students to lead the green jobs revolution, they will need to take a variety of approaches to sustainability.  National experts in sustainability and more than 100 higher education leaders from around the country will gather at Wake Forest March 22-23 for “Taking It to the Next Level:  Strategies for Adaptation across the Sustainability Curriculum” to figure out ways sustainability can be better integrated with academics.  Waste reduction programs, renewable energy strategies, green building efforts and other operational initiatives at universities are moving forward at a faster pace than efforts to integrate sustainability into the curriculum.  DeLongpré Johnston hopes this conference will inspire additional momentum on the academic front. Here is the complete program: The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required.  Register at

EXPERT ON HEALTHCARE VOTE:  WILL DEMOCRATS PAY THE PRICE?  —  How important will votes on the Healthcare bill be in November elections this year?  Joshua Putnam, visiting lecturer in political science, says Democrats are going to have to sacrifice some members to pass the healthcare bill.  “The problem is deciding who the biggest lost causes are in the elections in November. If they aren't going to win anyway, then they are free to vote how they or the party want,” Putnam says.  He outlines several scenarios for Democrats:  If Democrat X votes for the bill and the bill doesn’t pass, this is the worst possible outcome for that Democrat individually and for the party.  If Democrat X votes for the bill and the bill passes, this may negatively affect the individual, but can play out pretty well for the party as a whole. If Democrat X votes against the bill and it doesn’t pass, the individual gets a pass a home, but the national party suffers. If Democrat X votes against the bill and the bill passes, this could be ideal for the individual member.  “Democrats would be best served to pass the bill sooner rather than later,” Putnam says.  “That allows them to trumpet what they have done and show that they have shifted their focus almost exclusively to the economy and jobs.  The Republicans want to delay things so they have an issue for the fall.”

DANCING TO CURE CANCER — Students at Wake Forest will be on their feet for 12 hours on Saturday, March 20, for a dance marathon to raise money for cancer research. The annual “Wake ‘N Shake” event will be held in Reynolds Gymnasium from noon until midnight. All funds raised will support the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund, an ongoing student initiative in memory of the Wake Forest and Chicago Bears football star who died of cancer in 1970 at the age of 26. Over the last 20 years, students have raised more than $1 million through a variety of events for the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. The student organizers will be available for interviews during the dance marathon.

COMPLICATED CONNECTIONS: WHEN LAW AND RELIGION MEET — Home to more than 30 Islamic centers and the longest-serving Muslim elected official in the U.S. (General Assembly Senator Larry Shaw), North Carolina is a microcosm of the challenges faced by the 300 million Muslims worldwide who live in countries where Islam is not the majority religion.  In France and Germany, headscarves have brought Islamic gender issues to the forefront. In Britain, Shari’a law, which focuses on obligations and moral duties, struggles to coexist with secular law.   Muslims are not the only religious group coping with complicated connections between law and religion.  On March 23, a policy advisor from the Department of Homeland Security and religion  and legal scholars will address these issues in “The Rule of Law and the Rule of God: A Symposium on Ethics, Religion & Law.”  The event will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Benson University Center’s Pugh Auditorium.  “Religion as a supranational force must also cope with other global dynamics in economy, health, and law. The conference seeks to explore the ways in which law and religion can make distinct contribution to the welfare of humanity,” says Simeon Ilesanmi, Washington M. Wingate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Religion at Wake Forest, who organized the conference. Attendance is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged.

LAW, MEDICAL AND DIVINITY STUDENTS RETURN FROM SPRING BREAK IN NICARAGUA — Students volunteered with the Global Health and Interdisciplinary Professional Development Project in Nicaragua. The pilot project was designed to help soon-to-be professionals learn about a new area of the world and focus on how ministers, physicians and attorneys can contribute to the common good in a global context. Students visited several nonprofits including community-based organizations working to bring health care to remote communities. They also met with students and professors from a law school to learn about the legal and political system of Nicaragua. “As someone who had never visited a developing country, to witness this level of poverty first-hand was a truly eye-opening experience,” says Caitlin Stanley, a Wake Forest law student from Lancaster, Penn. “My goal is to work for the government after I graduate and this experience will certainly help me keep the ideas of ‘public interest’ and ‘the greater good’ at the forefront of my post-graduate goals.”  To arrange interviews with students and the faculty mentors who volunteered, contact the Communications and External Relations Office.


REYNOLDA FILM FESTIVAL PRESENTS FILMS AND FILMMAKERS — The third annual Reynolda Film Festival will feature a world premiere, a film competition, and talks by scriptwriters, animators and film industry insiders. The Festival will run March 24-27 at Wake Forest.   Award-winning film director, producer and writer Spike Lee will headline this year’s festival. He will speak at 7 p.m. March 26 in Wait Chapel. Tickets are $5 for the general public and may be purchased in advance through the Reynolda Film Festival Web site.  The event is free to Wake Forest students, faculty and staff, but reserving advance tickets is recommended.  The complete schedule of screenings and speakers and details on how to get tickets for the Spike Lee event are posted on the Reynolda Festival Web site at  Events will be held in Carswell Hall’s Annenberg Forum with the exception of “Spike Lee: Following Your Dreams.” Founded in 2008, the Reynolda Film Festival is organized and led completely by Wake Forest students.  Spike Lee will not be available for interviews and no photography or video will be permitted during his presentation. Contact the Communications and External Relations Office to talk with the executive director of this year’s festival, Brent Lindley, or festival speakers.

Press Contacts:

Kerry King
(336) 758-6084

Ellen Sterner Sedeno
(214) 546-8893

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