LENS @ Wake Forest, a pre-college summer academic program, has given 38 high school students from 15 states and Puerto Rico a sneak-peek at college life, service and the opportunity to study sustainability and apply this knowledge to the community.
Whether it is waking up early on a Saturday morning to see firsthand how a sustainable market runs, meeting with a community partner or visiting Wake Forest Biotech Place, LENS students’ environmental viewpoints are being broadened.
Wynter Haley Scott, a rising high school senior from Tenn., wasn’t a nature fan before LENS. Now, she says she is more receptive to the environment and understands the importance of sustainability.
“The LENS program opened my eyes. In our daily lives, we often are not paying attention to sustainability. I’ve learned that what may seem like a small detail can explode and have tremendous impact on our environment and community.”
The students spend three weeks studying sustainability and strengthening their writing skills. They work in small project groups to respond to the sustainability-related needs of five Winston-Salem community partners. During the program, LENS students live on campus and get a taste of the college experience at Wake Forest.
“LENS is unique because not only do our students have the opportunity to live and learn in a collegiate setting, they make a difference in the Winston-Salem community. LENS students then apply this knowledge and perspective to their own communities, which is phenomenal,” said Leigh Stanfield, director of LENS @ Wake Forest and global campus programs.
Greg Giovannoli, a rising high school senior from N.J., chose LENS for the opportunity to meet and collaborate with his peers. Little did he know that he was going to gain an appreciation for service.
“LENS has taught me to help my community before myself, which is a reflection of what Wake Forest does for Winston-Salem,” said Giovannoli.
Making a difference at an early age
As part of the program, which ends August 1, each student action group will present a final project to their community partner that offers a solution to the sustainability-related issue they’ve been working to solve.
John Scott, a rising junior and student advisor for LENS, says that he continues to be amazed at the impact high school students from around the country can make.
“All of the community partners have taken the LENS students seriously – they’re not judged by their age or mindset, but how they plan to address the problems and offer a solution to the issues,” said Scott.