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This Is Where All the Action Will Be

I would expect within the next few days, they will start work on getting the Quad ready for Commencement.  If you are a fan of the Quad Cam, you may want to keep it open in one of your browser tabs or bookmark it and check in every now and again.

We have a new stage setup this year, so I am not familiar with the timeline of the construction/assembly of it and when that will begin.  But I can say from past years that the Quad preparations run like clockwork and the precision that gets used in measuring out the lines for aisles and rows of seats is incredible.  There is nothing haphazard about it, and if you’re the type who likes to watch the behind-the-scenes machinations, check out the Quad Cam.

Everything is crazy at the end of the semester as all our offices get ready for Commencement, and prepare for the launch of the New Students web site for the Class of 2019.  We may go light on Daily Deacs in the next week, but we’ll bring you as much news as we can.  Happy Black and Gold Friday and hope you wore your best WFU colors wherever you are.

— by Betsy Chapman


If LDOC was Last Day of Classes, today is LDOF – Last Day of Finals.  The home stretch.  Then they’ll have 105 or so days of summer before returning to Wake in the fall.

During the time between Commencement for the seniors and Orientation for the new incoming first-year students, the campus takes care of business in terms of projects and renovations.  One such renovation is going to be in the ZSR Library; this from the ZSR enewsletter:

“As soon as the last car drives off campus on graduation day, the Z. Smith Reynolds Library – with the help of Facilities – will commence with several summer renovation projects:

Starbucks Refresh: After six years of brisk business, the Starbucks will receive a much-needed refresh. New furniture, carpet and finishes designed by Starbucks will be installed on both levels. The work will begin on May 19, and Starbucks will be closed for four to six weeks. The two adjacent study rooms and the library entrance on the east (Tribble) side will also be closed for the duration.

5 7 15 zsr renovationsAtrium: The final stage of the Atrium renovation will occur right after exams. Electricians will add new power sources. Existing furniture will be removed, and the cork floors will receive their annual strip/refinish process. This activity will begin the night of May 20 and will be completed May 22. During this time, the Atrium will be closed to make sure the new finish cures properly. Signage will direct visitors to alternate routes to the Wilson Wing. Right after Memorial Day, new furniture will be delivered and installed. Look for a complete update with flexible table configurations, cozy banquettes, tall tables, and cushioned bookcase seating, all with bright colorful fabrics!

Compact Shelving: ZSR has been installing additional compact shelving units in a multi-year effort to increase capacity for book storage using a smaller footprint, thus freeing up space in ZSR for people to use. Two installation projects will happen in Wilson 1 this summer, beginning in late June with completion slated for August. The books shelved in these areas will remain accessible throughout the project.”

While I will be sad to see the Starbucks close for a few weeks, it will be exciting to see the new decor.  Also, it will be interesting to see how students use the flexible seating in the Atrium.  That might be a huge plus for students working on group projects, or who just want to move their tables around to different spots.

One of the current projects you might see if you’re here to move your Deacs home after finals is the Spry Soccer Stadium renovations.  From the Polo Road entrance, you can see enormous piles of red clay (always makes me think of Gone with the Wind and “the red earth of Tara”) as the field is torn out to make room for improvements.  According to a news release, they will be installing new Bermuda turf, irrigation and drainage systems, conduit for future television and live-stream broadcasts, new fence and windscreen surrounding the field, upgraded lighting, and new team equipment, including new field goals and team enclosures.

And we’ll close today with a couple of entertainment tidbits worth a mention.  First is that one of our Deac moms emailed me about the Demon Divas, one of our campus singing groups.  They have a new album called Mine To Make, which is available on iTunes.

Chi Rho, another of our a cappella groups (men only) also had a new album out this spring; The One You Call is also available on iTunes.

Finally, our Commencement speaker, comedian Stephen Colbert, just made an extraordinary display of Pro Humanitate.  Colbert, a native of South Carolina, donated $800,000 to fund every existing grant request South Carolina public school teachers have made via an education crowdfunding website.  Stephen Colbert was already enormously popular and students have been so excited that he is our Commencement speaker.  To have him do something so generous and wonderful for teachers is just the cherry on top.

Pro Humanitate at its best.  Go Deacs!

— by Betsy Chapman

Dwindling Numbers and Gearing Up for Commencement

It’s finally getting to the “hot” stage in our weather year.  We have been around the mid-80s both yesterday and today, as well as sunny.  For those students who have already left campus for Post Exams/Beach Week, they must be enjoying some fine weather.

The number of students on campus is dwindling as finals come to an end.  And the number of parents and family members on campus is increasing as they come to help move out their students.  (Special thanks to the kind Daily Deac readers I chatted with in Starbucks today!)

2015 comm stageBecause Commencement is only 12 days away, we are starting to get some questions for P’15 graduating families about the weekend’s events.   Your best place to go for information about Commencement weekend is our Commencement web site:

The schedule of activities is here:  Your son or daughter may have ideas about which events he/she wants to attend, so it would be a good idea for you to talk your graduate about what he/she wants to do and which events you’d attend.

Some of our students (but certainly not all) attend the Baccalaureate Ceremony on Sunday morning.  It is similar to a worship service.  Students do not sit with their parents, they march in wearing their caps and gowns and sit as a group (no mention of them by name or anything like that).  It is very important to note that space for Baccalaureate is limited, and you’ll want to take note of all the information here so you understand about availability of seats:  When the doors open at 9:30 for families who have queued in the line to get in,  you will want to line up in advance of 9:30 for seats.  (And unfortunately I can’t tell you an exact time to get in line to guarantee you will get in.  Supply and demand for Baccalaureate vary from year to year.  I believe I have seen people in years past lining up at 8 am but it varies every year.)

Many of our students and parents go to the departmental open houses on Sunday afternoon.  Those give students a chance to visit with the faculty members in their major and introduce their families to them.

Formal graduation exercises (Commencement) is Monday morning.  More information is available here:

The Commencement web site also has a Checklists and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that may be helpful:

Now the informal advice from me.

– Bring some paper towels or a washcloth from your hotel (return it of course) to wipe the dew off your chairs.  Even though our Facilities team and Commencement volunteer staff try to wipe down seats, you might wish to do it yourself.

– Pay attention to the weather forecast and dress accordingly.  Consider layers that you can add or remove as you see fit.  In the sun, it can be quite hot, but if it’s a cool day it can be quite cool.

– Wear sunscreen.  3 hours outdoor is a long time and I have seen many a sunburn from people who wished they’d had sunscreen.

– Leave your fanciest shoes at home.  The grass will be wet with dew, and 10,000ish people will be treading the same paths to get to and from their seats.  Even with the amazingly lush grass we have, those paths can get muddy.  If you don’t want your most expensive, dressiest shoes to potentially be wet or muddy or grass stained, bring a different pair.

– Consider the comfort of older relatives.  My grandmother wanted very much to see me graduate, but she was very sensitive to too much heat and sun, and was not able to walk a long ways.  While we do our best to make everyone comfortable, if you have relatives for whom an outdoor event would not be good for them, consider that before you all come.  Each family needs to make the decision that is best for them.  There is a live feed of Commencement into Pugh Auditorium (in the Benson Center), which is indoors and a great option for folks who may not waish to be outside, are sun sensitive, need closer access to restrooms, etc.  Space is limited.

– Speaking of bathrooms…some of the Quad residence halls and Reynolda Hall are open, but there will be lines.   (We may also have portojohns, though I don’t know that yet).  To avoid lines, you might consider going to the Benson Center (a short walk) or Scales Fine Arts Center (closer to the Quad) if you don’t want to wait.  Because we read every student’s name, you will be able to see how long it takes as they begin and can plan your restroom break accordingly.

And for those of you who believe in a higher power, please send prayers and supplications for a mildly sunny day, 72-75 degrees, with a light breeze.  That is optimal Commencement weather.

— by Betsy Chapman

How Do You Know It’s Finals?

One word:  glasses.

I was in the ZSR Starbucks this morning and couldn’t quite put my finger on what seemed different.  And then I realized – it was so many students in glasses.  Particularly young women.  Normally you don’t see a ton of glasses on students, and it would be easy to assume either they have contacts or are still young enough to have 20-20 vision (ah, how nice that time was!)  The answer appears to be that a lot of our students regularly wear contacts and they must all be soaking their lenses and relying on the glasses instead.

So between the tired eyes, minimal makeup (women) and two day stubble (men), and the very relaxed clothing (somewhere between workout pants and tshirts that look like they had seen a lot of wear of late), our students are dressed for finals.

5 5 15 1There was not much of a line at Starbucks at 9:15 this morning, and you could find a seat downstairs as well as the comfy chairs in the loft.  I expected to see a bigger crowd, but then when I went to the other parts of ZSR I saw that the lack of bodies in Starbucks was because they were Everywhere Else.  In desks in the stacks.  At every table in the Atrium. In large reading rooms.  In the 24 hour study room.  Tons of students tucked away in every quiet nook and cranny.

My favorite glimpse of a student today was a young woman deep in study.  From my perch near Reference, I could see her through the windows of the old part of the building.  She kept making a motion that caught my eye and I couldn’t see at first what it was.  Looked like a brief wave of white.  And then as I watched her, I realized she had old school flash cards.  She’d pick one up, look at it a moment, and then do a flip to the reverse (where the answer presumably was).

I wondered what she was studying: foreign language vocabulary or verb conjugations?  Chemistry or math equations?  Dates for a history exam?  It had been ages since I’d seen anyone with flash cards, and it brought me back to my old days at Wake (back when the Card Catalogue consisted of a billion tiny drawers, not a screen on a computer).

5 5 15 2The feeling in the library was one of absolute quiet.  Yes, libraries are typically quiet, but at finals it is much more so.  The seat I’d chosen to observe the scene was not particularly close to the nearest student, yet it was quiet enough I could hear him typing on his ThinkPad.  Those keys are not loud.  It was quiet enough you could hear people turning pages in books – just little rustling papery sounds.  Occasionally you could hear a cough, or someone asking a question at Reference.  But overall, very very quiet.

5 5 15 3The ZSR has free coffee and lots of fun streamers and decorations in the Atrium.  That’s become a tradition each Finals Week.  Near Reference, some enterprising person had done this sheet of Tearable Puns (clever!)  And the student group DoRAK (Do Random Acts of Kindness) had chalked a lot of good luck messages on the sidewalk outside the main entrance.  Those tiny things can make a big difference and can give study-weary kids a momentary grin.  Well done, DoRAK!

5 5 15 4 5 5 15 5Finals continue through the 7th.  Steady on, Deacs – you’ve got this!  And special shoutout to Flashcard Girl.  I hope you get a great grade in whatever you were studying for!

— by Betsy Chapman

Reading Day

Reading Day is the day before final exams begin.  It’s one day off to prep for the finals to come.  Today I was in the center part of campus between 8:20-10:20 am and I could have counted the students I saw on one hand.  Not sure if they were all sleeping in, or all studying in one of the designated study spaces on campus, but your Deacs were not out and about first thing in the morning.

The report from ZSR was that typically on a reading day, it starts slow but students come in as the day progresses and it starts to get packed around 6 pm.  Wake the Library is starting tonight.  That takes a little bit of the pain out of finals.  There will be food at midnight (good stuff too – I am told ice cream, Biscuitville and more) – and my reliable source also tells me there will be some dogs on Sunday evening outside on the Starbucks patio.  So if your Deac would feel better having a dog to pet, tell him or her to keep an eye out Sunday night.

A few reminders for you as the year draws to a close:

– encourage your students to do Deacs Donate vs throwing everything way.  Reduce, reuse, recycle!

– there are summer storage options off campus as well as shipping services on campus

– remind your Deacs to be aware of check out policies for their residence halls

– have you sent your student a Deacon Greeting?  Send an e-card today and wish your Deac good luck on finals!

We’re thinking good thoughts for all your students as the semester ends.  Let’s do this, Deacs!  We have faith in you!

— by Betsy Chapman


LDOC = Last Day of Classes.  And it is here, hard as that might be to believe.

My good colleagues in the Wellbeing office who spearhead our Thrive efforts are doing their part to help students have manage stress and have a little fun as finals begin.  They teamed up with the ZSR Library, the Dean of Students, and the student groups DoRAK (Do Random Acts of Kindness) and Active Minds in the rotunda of the Benson Center today with bubbles, puppies to pet, mind putty and games, even free food – all to help your Deacs during crunch time.  The two puppies were siblings from the same litter and they were really fun.  If your students haven’t taken advantage of all this goodness, it runs until 3 pm today for fun and games, and massages were being offered until 5 pm (sign up via Benson Ticket Office).

4 29 15 logo 4 29 15 8 4 29 15 7 4 29 15 64 29 15 2 4 29 15 3It’s not just the students trying to get ready for finals – campus is also starting its pre-Commencement preparations.  Yellow ropes have gone up through the grassy places around the perimeter of the Quad so the grass can grow thick and nice before graduation.  There is an enormous thing of cable on the Quad, along with the biggest Ditch Witch I have ever seen.  Not sure what those are about, but undoubtedly part of Quad prep for May 18.  And as I looked around at the students on the Quad and in Benson, I noticed that students’ dress is moving more and more toward workout gear and less and less ‘dress to impress,’ a sure sign finals are coming.

4 29 15 5 4 29 15 4 4 29 15 1I was prompted today to think back to parents and families who have now been with us for 4 full years of the Daily Deac.  Many thanks for making us part of your WFU experience!  Since y’all are now just 3 weeks away from becoming parents of alumni, thought it might be fun to cast your memories back to Orientation 2011, when your students arrived.  Here’s a look at the pre-orientation program with SPARC (volunteering) and Wilderness to Wake, orientation receptions and lectures, and fun stuff like A Taste of Winston-Salem and Pros vs. Joes.  Your students have come a long way in 4 years.  We can’t wait to celebrate with you and them as they go across the stage to get their diplomas!

— by Betsy Chapman

20110822wilderness0436 20110823sparc0808 20110826reception7786 20110827taste8228 20110828baseball7268 20110829pros_v_joes8534 20110830orientation7859

All the Sunny Spaces

Today is the final Tues-Thurs class of the spring semester.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Beautiful blue sky, around 65 degrees.  Totally perfect.  Unless of course you are trying to finish projects and papers and start studying for finals and aren’t outside to enjoy it.

But fear not, Deac families!  A good many students were outside between 1:30-2:15 pm.  Some of them were on the way to class, or to get a late lunch.  A LOT of them were destined for the ZSR Starbucks: when I arrived at 1:45 in search of a coffee, the line was all the way up the stairs to the ZSR loft level (my librarian friends told me that the line is really bad right before 2 pm classes start, then it drastically slows around 2:05 – and they were right).

Took a stroll through the ZSR Library and I have to say I can’t recall a time where I saw the lobby so full of people.  Lots of copies being made, students at every table in the atrium – in fact, I heard from a reliable source that every single table in the atrium was occupied at 8 am, which would NEVER happen if it wasn’t the end of the semester.  Normally our students keep vampire hours and would not want to see the sunrise there.

Students were sitting in most of the available nooks and crannies in the ZSR.  I saw tons of students on the 4th floor study room as well as the Wilson Wing.  Reference was pretty packed.  The Mandlebaum Reading Room still had an open table or two.

All the sunny spaces were also occupied outdoors.  On the Quad, I saw students sitting at the teak chairs with laptops on their laps and headphones in their ears.  Some were stretched out on the grass.  Others at cafe tables.  On the Mag Patio, they were reading in the rocking chairs or sitting in a big group around one table – not sure if that was a friendly lunch or some kind of group collaboration.  Outside Zick’s there were 15-20 people in a large group with chairs huddled together – maybe a class meeting there instead of in an academic building?

And as I walked across campus in the various buildings, I heard snippets of conversations.  Funny when you get just a couple of seconds of it.  I heard one that sounded like a student discussing community service, a faculty member getting flustered in a checkout line and saying a good-natured ‘it’s the last day of class, don’t confuse me‘ to the cashier, to someone talking about advising a student who wanted to do extra credit to boost his GPA.

Most of the time though, the students I passed were either in groups talking and smiling or looking lighthearted, or on their own and concentrating (but not grim-faced).  My guess is that even with finals looming, the joy of weather like this cannot be denied.

A final note: I got the following message from our Center for Global Programs and Studies (aka study abroad office).  One of our recent graduates

WFU alum (and current employee in Global Programs) Chelsea Tamura has had her video “Beyond the Forest” selected as a Finalist for the GoAbroad Innovation Awards. We’re trying to generate on-line votes for her and thought you all might be able to share on your social media pages. If so, we would really appreciate it. Details are as follows:

Voting opens today (04/27/15) and will continue until May 27th. All winners will then be announced at the GoAbroad Innovation Awards Reception during the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo in Boston, on Thursday, May 28th, at 5:30 pm.

Vote for Chelsea’s video here.  Click on the name of the video and hit submit vote at the bottom of the page to vote. 

Watch, like, and share our post on Facebook here. 

Retweet our post on Twitter here. 

As always, thanks for your support of study abroad at Wake Forest!


So I hope you’ll join me and vote for Chelsea!

— by Betsy Chapman




Almost Finals

And you can tell it, too.  I was on campus yesterday and spent a few minutes in the library.  Lots of students.  Lots of low-maintenance clothing (think workout gear).  Lots of people with coffee and wearing their ‘hard at work’ faces.

hang 10Speaking of finals and the library, the ZSR has once again had its ‘secret decorators’ add some festive cheer to finals.  Check out the ZSR Facebook page for more.   Also, they have a final drop-in research session today from 2-6 pm: “Our final drop-in research assistance session of the semester is happening tomorrow from 2:00-6:00 pm. We’ll be camped out in Room 476, ready to assist with our laptops, our citation guides, and a buffet of refreshments! Stop by and see us.”  The ZSR is open 24 hours during finals to help students with the crunch; see hours here.

One more end-of-year related note, the Office of Sustainability has a great message about donating unwanted bikes.  This is a wonderful idea – pass it on to your Deac if he or she has outgrown having a bike on campus.

Bicycles cannot be left in the bike racks or with Residence Life & Housing over the summer.* All abandoned property, including bicycles, will be removed following commencement.**

*Students in summer school will have the chance to notify us that they will have bicycles on campus for the entire summer. All bicycles should be registered for easy identification.

**Students who are living in interim housing should move their bicycles to their interim residence hall bike racks. Any bicycles left behind at the interim housing residence hall will be removed on June 1.

At the end of the academic year, students should consider shipping, storing, or donating their bikes. If a student would like to donate his/her bike to the Office of Sustainability, student volunteers will refurbish it over the summer and it will join a fleet of bikes in a new bike-sharing program on campus. Simply email and we will arrange for someone to pick up the bike and any other related items, like a lock or reflective gear, that the student would like to donate.

If you have any questions, please contact

— by Betsy Chapman

The Secret Life of Wake Forest

Today is Campus Day and there are about 800 families visiting this time.  It’s a bright and sunny day but a bit on the chilly side – saw lots of new families in what appeared to be brand new WFU sweatshirts and jackets during the 7:30-8:30 am check in time.

Yesterday some of my colleagues went on a tour showing some of the secret life of Wake Forest: the tunnels and the tower of Wait Chapel.  You may not have known that when the campus was built, the very first part of construction was a series of tunnels that traversed the campus underground and connected the buildings.  Ever wonder why you never see a telephone poll or a power line on campus?  This is why – everything was buried underground as the campus was built.

The tunnels are home to steam pipes (that are over 300 degrees, which is why the tunnels are closed and students are prohibited to enter them), power lines, telephone lines.  In more recent years, when internet and fiber optic cables were added, they went underground too.

4 23 15 tunnel big openingSome of the tunnels are large enough for people to walk through; one of my colleagues described it as ‘like being in someone’s basement.’  It’s all cement and no frills whatesoever, other than lights.  In some parts, the concrete is 18″ thick.  Other parts of the tunnels are only 4′ x 5′ and you have to just about crawl to get in them.  One of the pictures below, where it looks like you are peering down a hole, is a drop leading into one of the small tunnels.

4 23 15 tunnel 4 x 5 tunnelThe tunnels are still used – with official safety escorts – for events today.  For example, when Michelle Obama came to campus to speak at the memorial service for Maya Angelou, she was whisked in and out of Wait Chapel via the tunnels.  And of course Secret Service was down there with her.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are in the habit of sharing Daily Deacs with your students, PLEASE tell them not to attempt to get in the tunnels.  They are dangerous and pose severe safety risks.  It is illegal to go in them.  Even as far back as 1980 (and probably earlier, frankly), it was illegal to go.  So rather than your Deacs take a risk, here is an article from the 1980 Old Gold and Black describing the experience of one who went tunneling, as it is called here (scroll down on this site for the article entitled Tunneling).  The senior class typically has an opportunity or two to sign up for a tour, so tell your Deacs to be safe and wait for that.

tunnel 4 23 15 clock faceThis tour also went up to the tower of Wait Chapel and to the Carillon.  I’ve done that tour once and let me say it is not for those with a fear of heights.  But the view is extraordinary.  There are a couple of levels to Wait Chapel.  To get to the level where the Carillon is played, you have to go up a spiral staircase that is frighteningly open for those with height issues.  At the Carillon itself, you have to strike the very large keys with your fist to get the bells to ring.

4 23 15 tunnel bells allFor the very daring, you can climb up a metal ladder (sort of like what you’d see in an old NYC fire escape) and go up into the area where the bells are.  You can see some signatures of people who have been up there before, or a little good natured graffiti (see pic below).  The bells are just enormous.  The Carilloneurs do some fun things – they play at 5:00 pm every day, and they are clever folk – if it’s been raining they might do a song about rain (or maybe sun, as if wishful thinking).  On Halloween, they chimed a 13 o’clock.

Again – these places are off limits.  But you can enjoy the pics below and see some of the secrets of Wake Forest.

— by Betsy Chapman

4 23 15 tunnel big opening 4 23 15 tunnel graffiti bells 4 23 15 tunnels bells close

4 23 15 tunnells bells keyboard

Earth Day Fair

earth day 2015Today is Earth Day, and the Office of Sustainability has created a wonderful event for your students to enjoy.  The Earth Day Fair will run from 3-7 pm today on the Mag Quad (south side of campus, aka Manchester Quad).

Details are below.  It’s a gorgeous day again today.  Hope your students will come out to the Earth Day Fair and soak up all the goodness they can.

— by Betsy Chapman


Pet some ponies, play with puppies, have your face painted, challenge a friend to a game, and make your commitment to the Earth community…

The WFU Earth Day Fair is today, Wednesday, April 22nd from 4:00-7:00pm on the Mag Quad!

Commemorative t-shirts are being given away every half hour from 4:30-6:30 pm; all participants can enter to win over $1000 worth of raffle prizes.

Legendary Sunshine, Village Juice, Twin City Hive, and Roots Hummus are handing out delectable free samples. In addition to a jammin’ line-up, Wake Radio will be playing throughout the fair. Bring your wallet and visit local exhibitors.

Entertainment Schedule:

3:00pm – Campus Sustainability Awards in Reynolda Hall Green Room

4:00pm – Afro-Cuban drumming circle

4:30pm – Teach-in on Magnolia Quad featuring faculty Vanessa Zboreak, Richard Schneider, Justin Catanoso, and Miles Silman

5:30pm – Yoga by The Breathing Room

6:00pm – Student performances

6:30pm – Minor Variations

One love,
The Office of Sustainability