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Notes from a Thursday

From early morning to midday I was in a variety of meetings around campus.  Here are a few glimpses of things observed during that time.

– It’s cold.  Not 3′ of snow in Boston cold, but cold for Winston.  It feels like the high 30s, and there is not a lot of sun to help warm you.

– I was surprised at the number of students who were not wearing a jacket (opting only for a sweater or hoodie or fleece).  I wonder if they, too, were surprised when they left their residence hall or apartment in the morning at how cold it was?

– No one was just lounging on the Quad or sitting at the outdoor tables.  Way too cold for that.  Everyone who was outdoors was moving pretty purposefully toward their next destination.

– While normally you might see people looking at their phones and texting or reading while they walk, there was a lot less of that today.  My hunch is that people walk slower when they are trying to type or read, and it was too cold for that.

1 28 15– There is a sign outside of Kitchin Hall seeking feedback on the Kitchin Refurbishment Project.  I don’t know much about this but will try to find out more in the coming days.

– In Reynolda Hall around 9:30 am, there were very few students hanging out in the Green Room.  Either it was too early to have the ‘this is where I study‘ crowd there, or people didn’t want to be in a place where the doors constantly open and close (letting the cold air in).  The latter seems pretty likely, as the Green Room is a frequent pass-through for students going from south to north campus and vice versa.

– I observed one student leave a laptop while said student went outside for a few moments.  The student was always able to see the laptop from their standing place, but in general this always seems like a bad idea to me.  Unattended property can be taken, and if this student had been distracted and run into a friend who started chatting, I or anyone else could have grabbed the laptop and walked away with it.

– There were two students I knew and briefly chatted with during my time on and around the Quad.  Both were sick, though one was at the front of the illness and the other’s was finally trailing off.  They told me ‘everyone is sick right now.’  Whether that is a fact or not, that certainly was their perception.

– There were signs all over the Quad about Nancy Lublin, who is the Project Leadership Keynote speaker next week.

— by Betsy Chapman

Five Adjectives

For those of you stuck in frigid and snowfilled places, I wish you speedy melting and resumption to life as usual.  There’s no snow predicted for us (*knock wood*) in the near future.  It has been pretty cold for here, in the high 30s/low 40s.  This morning was especially frigid.

As I drove to work, I passed what looked like a giant, neon caterpillar of people running up Polo Road.  They were all dressed pretty identically, and all had a highlighter-yellow reflective vest on as well.  My first thought was that this might be ROTC cadets out for a morning run.

Some of you write me and tell me how much you like the “Five Senses” posts at the Daily Deac.  Today I thought I’d try a new one.  Five Adjectives.

I found myself in the Farrell Hall Living Room one afternoon and was struck by just a few things I saw or felt, and I was trying to come up with one liners or adjectives to describe what I saw.  Here they are:

Shushed (but not silent.)  There were a fair number of people in the Living Room when I was there, but they all spoke in relatively quiet tones.  My impression was that they all had a very strong sense of what the socially-acceptable volume level in there is for personal conversation, and they all conformed beautifully to that standard.  So while there was talking, it was respectful vs loud.

Sparse.  Maybe only 1/2 to 1/3 of the room was full at 2:15 pm, which surprised me.

Studious.  Of the students present, it looked like about 2/3 of them were in a study group or were studying on their own.  Very few of the students present looked like they were just hanging out, or were purely socializing.

Sunny.  The afternoon sunlight streamed through the large windows of the Living Room (facing out toward the large parking lot and in the direction of Magnolia and Dogwood residence halls).  The sun came in, providing a lot of light and much-welcomed warmth.

Socially aware.  While most of the students were not there to chat and hang out, when students saw someone they knew, the social graces were observed.  Depending on the relationship of the students, that might be a hug, or to say ‘hey’ or give a smile or a head-nod to someone who looked in the middle of something.  But people did make eye contact and wave or speak to those they knew.  It made me feel good to see that people were both friendly and also sensitive to not interrupt someone who clearly was in the midst of serious work.

— by Betsy Chapman

A Wonderful Reason to Smile Today

There is always a ton of things going on at Wake that I might not know about if not for a serendipitous mention by another person on campus.  And this one is a happy, happy thing.

For those of who watch the Jimmy Kimmel show, you might have seen lastnight that they announced the winners of Team Oscar:

“Actor Channing Tatum today announced the winners of “Team Oscar” during his appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”  The winners will deliver Oscar statuettes to celebrity presenters at the 87th Oscars on Sunday, February 22, live on ABC.  Team Oscar winners were selected by Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, Tatum, and the Academy, based on a creative 60-second video on the subject, “The best piece of advice I’ve ever received.”

One of the winners is Wake Forest’s own Kelly FitzGerald (’18)!!  Go Deacs!  Kelly made an absolutely charming short film called Sharing a Smile.  If you are grumpy today because it is snowing like mad where you live, give this video 60 seconds of your time and if you are still frowning at the end, I will be shocked.

As the old song goes,  “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”  :)


— by Betsy Chapman


Monday Round Up

While most of the northeastern part of our country is bracing for the threat of a big snowstorm, there is no such threat in Winston-Salem.  So if you are a Deac family in the snowpocalypse line of fire – and there is a sizeable portion of our student body who come from the Phili/NYC/Boston corridor – we send our good thoughts your way.

Here’s a roundup of random tidbits for your Monday.

– For those of you who missed the livecast last week, you can watch the interview with Ed Wilson (’43), provost emeritus and professor of English, online.  Start around the 14 minute mark.

– Three members of our campus community were honored with the Building the Dream award last week:  Hu Womack (’90, MBA ’00), instruction and outreach librarian, and seniors Nehemiah Rolle (’15) and Joe LeDuc (’15).

– The Old Gold and Black reports that major declariation for sophomore students is February 9-13: “Every sophomore must declare a major by setting up an advising appointment at his/her desired department during this period.  Sophomores who wish to declare minors should do so during this same period.”  Questions about the process can be directed to the Registrar’s office.

– The last day to add a full-term class is tomorrow (January 27).  The last day to drop a full-term class is February 17.  The latter date is especially important, because late drops are not allowed except in very specific (approved) circumstances.

– The Spring Study Abroad Fair is tomorrow (January 27) from 11am-4 pm in the Benson University Center.  If your student thinks he (or she) might wish to go abroad – and I fervently hope that he/she does! – the Study Abroad Fair is a “must do.”

– This Wednesday (January 28th) at 7:30 p.m. in Wait Chapel is a Secrest Artists Series event, Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico.  “The National Symphony of the State of Mexico represents the excellence of Mexico’s talent and musical traditions. Based in the city of Toluca, the orchestra promotes music as a means of union and identity among Mexicans.”  As we so often say at the Daily Deac, there is a vast buffet of experiences at Wake Forest, and the more you sample of these experiences, the richer your experience will be.  Your students may never again have the chance to see – completely free of charge – musicians of the caliber that the Secrest Artists Series brings to campus.  So urge them to go.

Wake Forest Student Showcase is an event happening this Friday (January 30) at 2:30 pm in Broyhill Auditorium in Farrell Hall. “Eight outstanding Wake Forest students will be giving TED talks about their experiences and ideas that are changing the community, nation, and world. From resettling refugees to incorporating robotics in medicine, these presentations will inspire learning, change perspectives, and showcase the amazing contributions of Wake Forest students.”

As always, these aren’t the only games in town, so to speak.  The Events Calendar shows a full range of published events.  And your students will see flyers about other things perhaps not formally announced on this list.

I hope your Deacs dig in and experience something new this week outside of their normal routine.

– by Betsy Chapman




Some Healthy Thoughts for Friday

It’s the end of the week, and today’s forecast promises to be dreary (high of 41 degrees, 100% chance of rain).  The weekend forecast isn’t stellar either.  Knowing that we have cases of the flu going around, and with cold rainy weather, it’s a good time to remind/encourage your students to practice good self care and good hygiene.  We all want our students to be healthy.

Speaking of health, our friends at the University Counseling Center (UCC) are doing a couple of great things, both programmatically and social media wise, to promote our students’ wellbeing.  There is a new group being formed at the UCC on mindfulness and awareness, described as follows:

“The Counseling Center staff would like to alert you to an opportunity for your students to engage in a four-week group on mindfulness and awareness.  Did you know that mindfulness has been shown to decrease worry as well as increase relaxation and overall well-being, and improve academic performance and sleep quality?  If you know any students who could benefit from a group like this, please ask them to contact the Counseling Center​.”  Students can call the UCC at 339-758-5273.  You can also see the mindfulness group flyer online.

As someone who tends to be a ‘worrying mom’ myself, I can attest to the fact that mindfulness can make a huge difference in how you learn to handle your worries and move from a place of anxiety and stress to a place of calm.  If I could have known about mindfulness training when I was 18 or 20, I think I could have shed a lot of the [self-induced] stress I was placing on myself about grades and performance and living up to people’s expectations.  It certainly is a hugely helpful tool in managing adult stresses and pressures (at least for me).

I share that only in the spirit of saying that mindfulness is not something that you have to be clinically depressed or diagnosed with anxiety to benefit from – it’s for anyone who wants to try it.  This may or may not be something your Deacs might enjoy, but I encourage you to make them aware of it and let them know it is an option they can choose to pursue.

The UCC also is rolling out 75 days of daily tips for emotional success.  You can follow these on their Facebook page or on their Twitter.  If you aren’t already following the UCC’s social media accounts, think about doing so – and for the next 75 days you can see the tips for emotional wellbeing they are sharing.  Those might be fun things to pass along to your Deacs – or even to try and practice in your own life!

A final word about health and wellbeing.  Today is Friday, and we always encourage parents and families to connect with their students today and talk, as it has been shown to have a positive effect on reducing dangerous behavior (such as drinking to excess); see the info about the studies.

Tonight there is an extra reason to want to talk to your students: it is pledge night or kiss night, as it is sometimes called.  Historically on pledge night, there are celebrations for the fraternities and sororities and their new pledges and many students (Greek and non-Greek alike) attend those functions.  Some will drink (some to excess,  some years dangerously so).  It seems like first-year students can be at particular risk.

Depending on your family’s style and values, you might want to have a conversation about alcohol and how to reduce dangerous drinking behavior, or abstaining completely, or anywhere on the spectrum.  (With some of my own family members when they were in college, I have reminded them of things like ‘you can hold a drink and choose to nurse it, not drink it at all, accidentally-on-purpose spill it’ etc.)

There are resources online that might help you consider ways to talk about alcohol with your student should you choose to do so:

WFU Alcohol Position Statement (there are tips at the end about reducing risks)

Alcohol information from WFU CHOICES (this has some good information about drink sizes, BAC, etc.)  They also have a tips for parents page.

A final word about pledge night/kiss night.  Knowing that there is flu on campus, students ought to be especially judicious about things like sharing cups, kissing others, covering coughs or sneezes, etc.   There have been past pledge nights/kiss nights where Student Health saw increases in a certain illness (such as strep throat) a few days after the event.  So everyone, be smart, be safe, and make good choices.

— by Betsy Chapman


Let’s Talk About the Flu

Student Health sent a message to all of campus yesterday regarding high numbers of students presenting with the flu.  Here is the text of that message:


The following message is sent on behalf of the Wake Forest Student Health Service:

The Student Health Service has begun to see large numbers of students (especially undergraduates) with influenza, “the flu”.  Typical symptoms include sudden onset of fever, body aches, headaches, sore throat, cough, and fatigue.  Influenza is typically a self limiting illness that last from 5-7 days.  Influenza is a highly contagious illness that is easily spread in a classroom setting.

The purpose of this e-mail is to inform faculty, staff and students of this outbreak and to encourage appropriate public health measures with respect to class attendance and participation in other mandated activities.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that anyone with symptoms of influenza stay home from work and/or school until the fever associated with the illness has been resolved for at least 24 hours. These individuals should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.

To reduce the spread of this illness, students should not be expected to attend class, labs, or other academic gatherings with these symptoms.  Because of high demand for clinical services, students should not be required to obtain documentation of this illness from the Student Health Service; faculty are encouraged to accept the verbal report from the student. We also encourage students to avoid contact in other settings including social gatherings, the library and eating in public dining venues.

Additional general information about the flu can be found at:

Students: Please read additional information about how to manage this illness, obtain meal passes and avoid catching the flu in our “FAQs for Students.”


It’s important that your students read the FAQs for Students above because it can help direct them to resources for food as well as self-care tips and answers the question “I have the flu.  Should I go to class?”  Be sure they are aware that: “An email has been sent to all faculty advising them of this outbreak and that students should not be expected to attend class, labs, or other academic gatherings with these symptoms.  Because of high demand for clinical services, students should not be required to obtain documentation of this illness from the Student Health Service; faculty are encourage to accept the verbal report from the student.”

As parents and family members, I know it has to be very difficult to be away from your student when she or he is ill.  But rest assured that there are number of departments (Student Health, Academic Advising and Dean’s Office, Residence Life and Housing, ARAMARK/Campus Dining) who are doing all they can to help those who are ill to recuperate.

What can you do if your student is ill?  From a distance, not much, beyond moral support.  Let them know you love them and let them rest in bed.  As always, remind your students to wash hands, use hand sanitizer, and do all those personal cleanliness/care things moms and dads have been teaching their kids since toddlerdom.

Should Student Health feel the need for further updates, we’ll post them on the Parents’ Page.  We hope your Deacs avoid the flu!


— by Betsy Chapman


Guest Blogger on Study Abroad

Daily Deac fans, today I have the great joy of passing along an essay written by sophomore Ashley Laughlin (’17) about her experience in Dijon, France.  Ashley chronicled her semester abroad and was willing to share it here.

As a student who studied abroad in the same Dijon program, I can attest to how wonderful a semester it was.  My Wake friends who chose other abroad programs were equally pleased and say that their time in a foreign country transformed them in more ways than they could have imagined.  So my plea to you is that if your student is inclined to go abroad, try to do all you can to make it happen.

— by Betsy Chapman


I awoke one morning over winter break to a familiar, bittersweet heartache—homesickness, but for some reason, the home I missed wasn’t the house I had been raised in. It wasn’t even my university, as one might suspect. I was homesick for Dijon, France. My months abroad touched every aspect of my nature—what I wear, how I eat, the career I want to pursue. Long before I boarded my plane to Dijon, the world was telling me how much I would grow from my time overseas, but these predictions could not have prepared me for the metamorphosis I was about to undergo.

Of course, becoming multicultural doesn’t happen overnight. I had to miss a few bus stops first. Upon arrival in Dijon, I sought out a church for a Saturday vigil Mass. I was immediately lost—the narrow, curved French streets were unlike any I had ever navigated. I wandered an hour and a half trying to find the church, going in circles, turning my map around, and trying to reorient myself. A homeless man on the street corner began to laugh at me after the third time I passed by, rendering me confused and embarrassed. A triumphant wave of relief washed over me as I saw the striking spire of the cathedral breaking into the Dijon sky. I made it to Mass in the nick of time, and I managed to orient myself properly for the fifteen-minute walk back to my hotel.

The Dijon program begins with an intensive schedule of classroom studies and weekend touring: I saw Provence, Burgundy, Champagne, Normandy, The Loire Valley, and Paris. Each region was unique and impressive—the hot, dry climate of Provence, where we were reminded that France was once a part of the Roman empire, and the mild beaches of Normandy where we were reminded that France and America are forever tied in the memory of D-Day. I tasted escargot and sipped chardonnay. I learned the City of Lights, my favorite spots in the Louvre, and the easiest metro lines.

Slowly but surely, I became a part of France. Some days I would wander the streets of Dijon, just to peek into shops and to see what I could find. There were surprises around every corner—a beautiful Gothic church, a miller’s house, a duke’s palace. The cobblestones became familiar beneath my feet as I would trek to my favorite fruit stand at the market, my favorite bookstore, my favorite café.  My heart would soar with delight simply being in France, becoming a part of this old world in which I felt so at ease. I devoured a series of books, as well as many macaroons and espressos—and I did it all in French.

louvre jordan+ashleyThe memories of France are still vibrant in my mind, vibrant enough that I can tap into the expanding, joyful feeling that a boat ride down the Seine gave me. If I close my eyes, I can almost feel the wind whipping my face, brushing through my hair as I stuck my head out the boat window to get a better glimpse at a gilded bridge. I can see the Eiffel Tower, lit against the sky, and the Musée d’Orsay glowing in the night. I can remember a heartfelt farewell to Delacroix’s Liberty Guides the People in my favorite room of the Louvre. I spoke to the painting silently, whispering, don’t worry. I’ll be back.

France surprised me and stole my heart—the French are rumored to be snooty and unattainably chic. I will defend the kindness of the French to my core, as well as their unattainable chic-ness. In fact, I will defend most anything French like it is my own nationality, because France gave me an opportunity to be frighteningly independent—lost and found in a foreign language, in the heart of a city, in the ruins of an empire, in my very own skin. The stresses and joy of being abroad constantly tugged at my heartstrings, exposing all of my vulnerabilities and giving me the opportunity to do what we are all constantly trying to do: find a little bit more of ourselves.

So here’s to Wake Forest University, an academic institution that promotes wide worldviews and intercultural understanding though its highly developed study abroad programs, a true Pro Humanitate effort.

— by Ashley Laughlin (’17)
Photo of Ashley Laughlin and Jordan Bunn (’16), used with their permission

A Conversation with Mr. Wake Forest

20030122F_ed_wilson5003My colleagues at the ZSR Library sent me this notice of a speaking event on Thursday.  This is something your students should drop what they are doing and attend.

Every school has a legendary professor figure.  And at Wake Forest that professor is Ed Wilson (’43).  He taught English for decades, and his ‘British Romantic Poets’ and ‘Blake, Yeats, and Thomas’ classes were ones you fought to get into during my time.  An amazing man and a wonderful Wake Forester.

Run don’t walk to get there, students.  And for our Deac families, you can livestream it online that day.  Details below.


—  by Betsy Chapman


Thursday, January 22, 2015

4:00 p.m.

ZSR Library Auditorium (Room 404)

Doors open to the first 100 students at 3:30; open to the public at 3:55. This event will be streamed electronically through the Z. Smith Reynolds Library’s website and an overflow room will be set up in Room 204.

The Z. Smith Reynolds Library Lecture Series Committee is proud to kick-off the Spring 2015 events by giving Wake Forest students the opportunity to spend an hour with Ed Wilson! This “Oprah-style” hour will be an informal opportunity for students to ask questions and hear reflections from “Mr. Wake Forest” himself. Dr. Wilson is a legendary figure on campus: graduating from Wake Forest in 1943, returning to teach English in 1951, becoming Wake Forest’s first provost in 1967, and receiving numerous accolades along the way. The Wilson Wing of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library is named in his honor. Students, this one’s for you! Grab a seat and be prepared for an experience you can one day share with your children.

A Long Weekend

Happy Black and Gold Friday, Deac families!  I hope you are wearing Wake Forest colors wherever you are and helping keep our spirit alive in your home areas.  Since it’s a Friday, we also want to remind you it’s a great day to call your Deacs (here’s why if you aren’t in on the reason).

We have a long weekend in front of us for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.  No classes on Monday and administrative offices are also closed.

How will your Deacs use that time? To study? To reflect? To serve?

Whatever they do, I hope they make it a great day in honor of MLK.


— by Betsy Chapman

Opportunities Abound – for Students AND Parents and Families

I was at a meeting this morning where we covered a ton of upcoming events.  There are countless ways for your students to be engaged in interesting and exciting activities.  Here’s just a few of them.

2015 MLK Celebrations:  The 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration is coming up this weekend.  Some of the activities are at Winston-Salem State, and others are on campus.  The 10th Annivesary Gospel Fest in Brendle Recital Hall is not to be missed.

Spring Career Fair, Wednesday, January 21, 12-4 pm, 401 Benson Center.  This is THE place to be to talk about careers and internships.  Open to all WFU students.

Pro+ect, Thursday, January 22 at 7 pm, Brendle Recital Hall.  Join CEES in welcoming three women marine biologists who have dedicated their lives to saving the oceans: world-famous oceanographer and activist Sylvia Earle, renowned coral reef biologist Nancy Knowlton of the Smithsonian, and policy advocate Amanda Leland of the Environmental Defense Fund.

The Pro Humanitate Institute is offering a Summer Nonprofit Immersion Program where students will be exposed to the nonprofit sector and working with them.  An information session will be held on Monday, January 26th at 5 pm in Reynolda Hall 301.

Social Impact Careers Workshop, Wednesday, January 28 at 5 pm, OPCD Innovation Station (230 Reynolda Hall).  Are you looking for an internship or job that is dedicated to change? Do you want to bring a social and environmental lens to a traditional business role? If you answered yes (or maybe) to either of these questions, then this workshop is for you.

Looking to the longer term, there are opportunities for Wake Alternative Break – where students spend their spring break on a service trip doing something in the Pro Humanitate spirit.

There is a Social Justice Retreat that students can sign up for online.

There are International Service Trips that will depart for the Dominican Republic and Rwanda shortly after May finals conclude.  Information is online as well.

Happily, our many avenues of engagement can extend to YOU too!  Here is an opportunity for parents (as well as alumni) to participate in a transformational travel experience to Bali, co-led by the chair of the Wake Forest Religion department and our Senior Advisor for Engagement Strategies.

“Experience the beautiful and enchanting Isle of Bali in the spirit ofPro Humanitate. Explore the Balinese practices of Tri Hita Karana, a Hindu saying meaning, “to live in harmony with the natural world, community and spirit.” From the cultural and artistic hub of Ubud, travel to remote villages nestled in lush rice paddies, to sacred Mount Agung, and to the beaches along the north coast. Observe traditional ceremonies and rituals that the Balinese celebrate in joyful expression of reverence for their ancestors, god, families and the beauty of the natural world that surrounds them.”

Learn more about the trip and find contact information if you wish to sign up, Deac families.

Urge your students to get involved.  Do something amazing this year!  Stretch their boundaries.   And consider this trip to Bali, parents and families.

I bet you my next latte that your Deacs – or you – won’t be sorry for trying something new.


— by Betsy Chapman