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In Praise of Scales Fine Arts Center

Here’s a picture of one of the most unique and recognizable buildings on campus – Scales Fine Arts Center.

There are a lot of reasons to love Scales and everything that is created and produced there.

Beautiful music.

Innovative art.

Provocative theatre productions.

Music to make you feel a million different emotions.

The incredible artistry of dancers.

Beautiful people with beautiful minds.

Yes, we will always love Scales.

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More from the Archives

As we continue our own Winter Break, here’s a look at one of the great shots from the 49th annual Lovefeast.


Merry Christmas

To all who are celebrating Christmas today, the Office of Parent Programs wishes you a very merry one!

This is from the Lighting of the Quad this year.


Picture of the Day

As we continue with our Winter Break coverage, today we offer you a picture from Finals Week.  Students looking for study spaces will create their own homes in the Z Smith Reynolds Library (and everywhere else on campus for that matter).  Here we find two students camped in one of the hallways outside an office.

Hey, if it works for them…who are we to argue?


Winter Break

The University is closed this week, so that means the staff of the Daily Deac is enjoying a few days off with family – hopefully just like you are doing at your house!

So this week, we’ll be featuring some of the best photos from our very talented University Photographer, Ken Bennett.   This is an amazing shot of one of your Deacs in the shadows.

We’ll be back to regular Daily Deacs after the New Year.  Until then, on behalf of the Office of Parent Programs, we wish you and yours all the best for the holidays!


Final Thoughts

Today is the last day campus is technically open before the break.  The whole university is on holiday from Monday 12/23 through Friday 12/27.  And I have to say, campus is Q-U-I-E-T today – unless you are in the Z Smith Reynolds Library, where they are putting in a new floor in the lobby, as well as digging a trench for more power outlets.  It was strange to see the ZSR Starbucks so empty when normally it is one of the most bustling places on campus.

I have a few final thoughts to share before break , and they are on the subject of Finals.  Final grades appear to have been posted in WIN, our online records system for students; at least I could see all of my individual advisees’ grades.  For students who have signed a FERPA (Family Educational Right to Privacy Act) form, grades should also be coming home via US Mail.  For information about FERPA and grade reporting, please see the Parents’ Page FAQ and look under the Academics section.

To add a bit of perspective to grades for families of freshmen, my personal experience and the trend I have seen with all my years of advising students is that typically the first semester is the worst semester gradewise.  This is the first time your Deacs have been through a set of midterms and finals and the first time they have been tasked with college level work.  It is a big adjustment.  And if you were used to seeing all As or As and the occasional B in high school, you might well be seeing more Bs and Cs and fewer As.

Don’t panic.  And please don’t stress your students out about the grades – they are often *highly* stressed about discussing grades with you.  My anecdotal conversations with a lot of students over the years suggests to me that they are keenly aware of thinking they might be disappointing you (even if they are imagining that).

When you talk to your students about grades, I would urge you to think about asking some reflection questions – things like “what did you do well in your classes?  what might you have done differently?  if you knew then what you know now, how would you change how you studied or prepared for classwork and exams?”  Sometimes by focusing on process (not outcomes) you can help them think about improving their study or work habits, which ought to lead to better outcomes.

Just to keep you apprised of the schedule for the Daily Deac, since the University is closed all of next week and our crack staff has some PTO as well, we’re going to feature some Pictures of the Day between now and New Years.  But we’ll be back in January and will bring you all the news that’s fit to print, as the saying goes.

Until then, we wish you a wonderful holiday with your students.  And thanks as always for reading the Daily Deac!




Sorority Recruitment

Yesterday I was at a meeting to talk about sorority recruitment and the process our young lady Deacs will go through in early January.  Parents and guardians of girls going through recruitment should have received an email on Tuesday from Annie Carlson Welch, who oversees that process (information here: 2014 Sorority Recruitment Parent Letter).  If your daughter will be involved in recruitment, please do read Annie’s letter.

I also wanted to add a little bit about the process.

The first day of recruitment, the rushees (called Potential New Members) are assigned into groups and are given a Greek advisor (a Gamma Rho Chi or GRC).  The GRC takes her group to visit every single sorority party (whether the PNMs are interested in that sorority or not).   Then after the first day, each girl ranks her sororities in priority order from those she loves most to those she merely likes.  At the same time, the sororities do the same, so it is a narrowing down process on both sides.

Sororities issue invitations to the next day’s function to any PNMs they are still interested in getting to know better.  Which means that each day of recruitment, girls are invited back to successively fewer parties (and they may have to choose between all their invitation options), until at the end they have just up to two choices (in a perfect world if all goes well).   Along the way, some students drop out of the recruitment process, and some go all the way through but aren’t successfully matched.

While your daughters are home for the holidays, talk to them about the process of recruitment if they are going to go through it.  Particularly talk to them about the idea that they would be wise to manage their expectations – both about where they think they might end up (we all think we will get our first choice and are stunned when we do not!) and their expectations about the sororities’ personalities and reputations.

A million years ago when I was a student here, there were a couple of groups perceived to be the “best” or “most elite” or “coolest” or [insert your adjective here], and girls wanted to get into those Highly Desired groups.  Just as it was in my day, there are currently some groups that the PNMs are all dying to get into, but the laws of economics say that you can’t invite all the girls back to one or two groups, and make two or three giant SuperSororities, leaving the remaining groups to slimmer pickings.

An illustration:  for argument’s sake, say there are 400 girls going through recruitment and 8 sororities.  The pledge class size will end up all being about equal – say it will be 40 girls (accounting for some who drop out of the process).  If on Day 1 of recruitment, all 400 girls wanted to be in A or B sorority, that would be 400 girls vying for 80 spots.  Those are not favorable odds.  So it is to your daughters’ advantage to consider membership BEYOND just their dream group.

Every year there are girls who are not invited back to the sorority(ies) they wanted to be invited back to, and there are inevitably girls who drop out of the process, thinking “If I can’t be a [insert name here], I don’t want to be anything at all.”  Talk to your daughters now about reconsidering that position.  What I always tell my advisees (and any parents who ask me), is to stick with the process and see it through.  All the sororities will have some girls they’ll love, and some they don’t have as much in common with.  But they will all have Greek letters, and t-shirts, and fun and fellowship and opportunities for leadership and growth.  And if the women will look beyond what they perceive to be the Most Desirable Group, and not worry about perceived reputation or coolness or whatever, they might well find they are among a fantastic, amazing group of girls.

Sometimes there are girls who are hesitant to accept a bid to a newer, less established sorority – but I always challenge my advisees to look at this as an opportunity to help grow that group, provide leadership, and build it for the next generation of students.  I talked to a young woman last year who had a bid from just such a group and she didn’t want to take it because she was afraid of being in the new group.  I told her she should think long and hard about it – she is going to find fun and philanthropy and sisterhood in this group even if it is newer.  She ended up taking the bid and telling me later she was so glad I had urged her to reconsider her initial reaction of declining.  So in the event that your daughter does not get asked back to X but gets asked back to Y sorority, urge her to give Y a try.

One of the tough parts about the recruitment process is that it happens before classes start and the full student body arrives back on campus.  In some ways this is a positive, because there are no distractions.  But in the event that your daughter does not have a happy recruitment experience – whether she elects to drop out, or is not successfully placed – it can also be a stressor.  And this is where the excellent campus administrators and staff come in.  There are going to be a plethora of activities for young women who do not continue with recruitment – everything from movies to yoga to tv or movie viewing parties, to activities off campus to things in the residence halls.  We have a group called “Mary’s Posse” (named after an administrator here who started the group) who have volunteered to reach out in a mentoring and friendship capacity to anyone who has had an unhappy outcome.  We offer to talk to young women one-on-one, take them for coffee or a walk or a chat or a good cry.  We listen, and we care.  Please urge your daughters to consider opting in to some of these activities if they choose not to see recruitment through to the end.

Parents, part of what you can do during the recruitment process is urge your daughters to keep things in perspective!  Urge them to be open to choices and alternatives, to be mindful of other girls on their hall who might not be having as positive an experience and to offer support, and to ask for help if they need it.   You can also help by letting your daughters sort through this process on their own!  Try not to add any pressure about where she wants to join.  You might be a legacy but your daughter may not want to be in that group (or that group may release her – legacy status is not a guarantee of a bid!)

A common refrain you’ll hear from us to let your daughters have the opportunity to build resilience when they encounter a setback.  If recruitment has a bad outcome, you might want to rush here to help her or fly her home, but before you do that, think about whether that is really the best course of action.  One way you can help your daughter grow into a young adult is to let her navigate problems on her own.  And by letting her feel her way through a situation – even when it is painful – she will be growing critical skills of self-care, self-advocacy, and independence.  So NOW is the time to have some of those types of conversations with your daughters – talk about how they might seek resources and assistance on campus if they don’t finish recruitment successfully.  Help her build some ideas and a plan.  Let her rescue herself, instead of you rescuing her :)

We’ll talk more about recruitment closer to the time, but please think about having some of these tempering-expectations conversations now.  Good luck to any of your girls who will be embarking on this process!

Today I Am Asking for a Favor

Most of the time at the Daily Deac we are simply here to give you a glimpse of campus life and some snapshots of things your students might see, hear, or do.  Today I am going to ask our Deac families for a favor – and that is to make a gift to the Parents’ Campaign of the Wake Forest Fund.

Part of the responsibility of my office is to ask parents and families to make a gift to the Parents’ Campaign of the Wake Forest Fund every year.   (I get to do the Daily Deac and all the other fun communication things I do because it is agreed that several times a year I will also ask our Deac family for their support).

Many of you choose to make charitable gifts in December for tax purposes, so if you are one of those families, please consider making a gift now.  You can make a gift online - it is secure and easy.  

The Parents’ Campaign of the Wake Forest Fund helps provide support for a variety of campus needs and initiatives.  Your gift will be used this academic year in the areas where we deem it is most needed.   The Parents’ Campaign of the Wake Forest Fund provides a lot of the special extras that make the Wake Forest experience so special for your student.  (If you want to see a great illustration of what the Wake Forest Fund does, check out the Zombies and Hotdogs video here.)

Note that you can designate your gift within the Wake Forest Fund:

- The Wake Forest Fund is the most general designation.  Those gifts are applied to the University’s highest priorities.  Families who want Wake Forest to have the most flexibility in using their gift often give to this fund.  

- The Wake Forest Fund for the College is used to support students and faculty in the undergraduate College and associated programs and opportunities.  Families with freshmen or sophomores, and those with juniors and seniors who are not the business school often give to this fund.

- The Wake Forest Fund for the School of Business is used to support students and faculty in the School of Business and associated programs and opportunities.  Families with juniors and seniors who are business majors often give to this fund.

- The Wake Forest Fund for the Z Smith Reynolds Library is used to support the work of our library and librarians, including providing resources and programming.  Families whose students have great affection for the library and its staff and programs often give to this fund.  I’d like to add an editorial note here: if you were one of the families who participated in ZSRx Parents and Families: Deacon Development 101, I’d encourage you to consider making your Parents’ Campaign gift to this fund.  Dean Sutton and her talented staff gave a lot of time and effort to bring this class to families – and you can say thank you this way!

- The Wake Forest Fund for Student Aid is used to support students with financial aid needs.  Families who want to help increase the amount of money available to student financial aid often give to this fund.

I have long believed that our Daily Deac readers are the most generous and enthusiastic about Wake Forest, and you could help me validate that when you make your gift.  You can check the box at the very bottom of the form that says “I want to include a note with my gift.”  If you want to check it and write “Daily Deac” in there, you can help validate my theory.

Thank you for considering making a gift.   I know you are not only engaged, but generous in both your interaction with my office and the support you give to Wake Forest.

(And tomorrow we will go back to our regularly scheduled blog, I promise!)


Empty.  That is the only word to say it.  Campus feels empty without your students.  And beyond the temporary joy that comes from magnificently easy parking now that everyone is gone, it feels a lot less lively without the students.  So I am cheering myself up in Alumni Hall by listening to a Frank Sinatra Christmas.

So – what happens while your students are home on break?  Right now the faculty are scrambling to finish grading finals (they are due tomorrow at noon).  The Z. Smith Reynolds Library is getting a new entryway floor.  Residence Halls are being inspected and any needed maintenance done.  Work continues on the new dining commons, though the Starbucks opened early (I have not tried it but heard good reports).  Many of the administrative offices on campus are business-as-usual, trying to finish up work before the university closes.  We will officially be closed December 23-27.

We hope you are enjoying the break with your Deacs.  And many thanks to those of you who have sent our office good wishes and cards this holiday season.  We are happy to be part of your Wake Forest experience and wish you all the best at the holidays.


Crisis Management

Last week I spent three days in a Crisis Management training program.  There were 42 of us in class, representing University Police, Facilities, Residence Life and Housing, Parking, ARAMARK/food service, Communications, Chaplain’s office, Counseling Center, IS, Student Health, Athletics, HR, Budget/Finance, and a few more offices.

These would be the folks who would potentially be the first to respond to a campus disaster and/or who would be charged with arranging logistics and putting things in place to make sure your students’ needs were taken care of during and after an emergency.   And as a mother myself and knowing that there is nothing more precious in the world than our children, the first thing I want you to hear is that in a crisis, I would trust the people in that Crisis Management room without hesitation.  

The people on Crisis Management are smart, prepared, and well trained.  More than that, they are good people who work well together.  And all of them have the safety of your kids and the rest of campus as their top priority.  I want to say a special word of thanks to our University Police officers.  They train regularly as a department, but also work very well with city and county EMS, Fire, PD and others so that everyone is familiar with the campus and we have solid plans in place.

During our training class, we studied a number of case studies of other college crises (natural disasters, active shooters, hostage situations).  It is scary, wearying stuff.  We talked about efficient operations before, during, and after a disaster.  And then we did a WF-specific drill where we were presented with an imaginary disaster (in this case, natural disaster plus fire) and worked out how we’d approach it.

The second thing I want you to hear is the time for your students (and you) to think about and prepare for an emergency is NOW, not during the crisis.  We have a great website called Wake Ready that gives emergency preparedness information.  Your students need to be aware of things like how they would be notified in a crisis (cell phone text message, email, potentially also outdoor siren) and they should be accustomed to looking at their cell phone/email for official messages.  They need to know about what to do if they need to evacuate a building, or what to do in various emergency situations.  They also must understand terminology they might see, like what it means if they are told to “shelter in place“.  Wake Ready has all of that information for them.

If there were an emergency on campus, there will be official notifications on the WFU website main page and Wake Alert.  It is important to note that I will not be updating the Parents’ Page during a crisis (I will likely be deployed elsewhere), but you will see an emergency banner at the top of the page linking you to the official news and information.

Related to communication, the third thing I want you to know – and talk about with your students – is that we want students to let parents know they are OK as quickly and safely as they can.  If your student reaches out and tells you he or she is OK, we can help keep our phone lines and personnel here focused on the emergency.

My fourth point for you is we would ask both students and parents to follow directions and recommendations that are communicated to you.  For example, if we say that the campus is closed except for emergency vehicles, please do not attempt to drive onto campus (we will work out ways for you to reach your students and communicate those pickup points when the situation is stable).

No one wants to think about emergencies and crises, but it is to everyone’s benefit to plan and prepare now.  Though it is scary stuff, it is stuff we need to talk about.  So urge your students to be familiar with Wake Ready, and you as parents and families read it all too.

And this is the final thing I want you to hear: God forbid anything terrible was happening, our University Police  would be the ones running TOWARD the crisis and putting themselves in harm’s way so the rest of us can stay safe.  I have the utmost respect for Chief Lawson and her team.  They are ready to give it all on any day for us.

So please, the next time you see a campus cop, please say thank you to them for their service.