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So This Is Happening

8 4 14 n sparks 1 8 4 14 n sparks 3When I got to work this morning, there were tents and trailers and all sorts of hullaballoo in the large parking lot between Poteat Field and the Worrell Professional Center.  This looks like Ground Zero for operations on the movie The Longest Ride, which is being made on campus.  I have not read The Longest Ride, a novel by Nicholas Sparks, but I know that part of the story is set at Wake Forest and includes a character portraying a Wake Forest student.

Filming is going on today presumably, and it is a beautiful day for it.   It looks like much of the filming will be done on or near Hearn Plaza and Scales Fine Arts Center.   If you aren’t on campus, your best bet at viewing any of the action will be via the Quad Cam.   I am looking at the Quad Cam right now and two guys are carrying a large black screen across the grass.

If your student is in summer school right now, there is likely not too much of an impact to his or her daily life.  On campus folks can expect some traffic delays today, in addition to the parking closures.  But I suspect a lot of campus will find reasons to go up or near the Quad, just to get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on.

And if we have any senior Deac families (P ’15s) who read the Daily Deac, if you have a senior living off campus, registration for on-campus parking permits starts at 9 am Eastern tomorrow 8/5.

A Rainy Friday

We have some seriously crazy weather for the first day of August.  It is gray, cold – low 70s – and has rained steadily all day.  This is no where near the norm.

If you have been following our coverage of Emily James (’14) and her run on So You Think You Can Dance, it sadly came to an end on Wednesday night.  On her official Facebook page, Emily posted this message on Thursday:

“Wow. Words cannot describe the incredible journey I had on SYTYCD. I am so grateful for the lifelong friends, lessons, and relationships I have gained throughout this adventure. Thank you all so much for the support and love. I would not have made it this far without your help! I am so blessed. I have grown so much as a dancer and individual and can officially say one of my biggest dreams came true!”

What a great attitude and a wonderful perspective.  Would you expect anything less from a Demon Deacon, though?

Happy Black and Gold Friday to all – hope you’re wearing your WFU colors or apparel today.  Have a great weekend!

On Problem Solving

There was a blog post forwarded to me yesterday by a friend.  It’s by Marshall P. Duke, Candler Professor of Psychology, Emory University; Editor, Journal of Family Life.  The article is entitled “Starting College: A Guide for Parents.”

It’s got some very good advice for first-timers sending their eldest off to college.  But it also had a wonderful pearl of wisdom about problem-solving and letting your students become empowered:

“Waiting patiently for the “college student” to emerge means not doing what seems to come naturally to modern parents. They are problem solvers, they are action-oriented, they are capable. They want their children to succeed in their lives and they want to be sure to help as much as they can. Here’s what I tell them: During the course of normal events at college, your children will face problems that need solving. Roommate problems, social problems, registration problems, problems with specific subjects or professors. There are two ways for these problems to get solved. Way number one: parents call the school and talk to the Office of the Dean, or the Director of Residence Life, or even the President. What happens? The problem gets solved. Oh, but there’s one other thing that happens — their children are weakened. Not only are the children not given the chance to learn how to solve the problem and to grow in self-confidence from doing so, they are also “told” by their parents’ interventions that Mom and Dad do not believe that they can take care of themselves, increasing the likelihood that they will remain dependent on their parents to solve their problems which results in parents continuing to intervene which tells the students they can’t take care of themselves… you get the picture. The bottom line is this: either way the problems get solved. But… if parents solve them, the kids are weakened or prevented from growing. If the kids do it, the problem is still solved but they are stronger and moving toward a readiness to live their lives independently.”

I am a mom myself, and I know how terrible I feel when my young son has a problem and I can so easily see the solution.  I’ve had the advantage of watching my advisees and other students I know struggle with problems, and I see them growing exponentially as they work through it and discover they are capable of handing those problems.  It adds self confidence that you cannot measure.  So as hard as it is sometimes, I step back and let my son struggle with his own solutions.

So when your students call/text/IM you with a problem, try to take a minute and remember Dr. Duke’s advice.  When you get that stressed call, you might be tempted to jump in and help – thinking ‘My son/daughter is too stressed right now to do this on his/her own, and I will be helping if I can handle it.’   Most of the time, those stressed phone calls are your students venting and getting the frustration out of their system (leaving you holding the bag, or stress as it were).

So in those moments, rather than offer the solution yourself or make that call to fix it, instead turn it back to your student and ask some good prompting questions to help him or her get started on thinking about their own solutions:

- What might you do in this situation?

- Who on campus might you talk to about this?

- What are your options?

- Is there a web site for that office/role on campus that might have more information or assistance?

You will be helping your students more than you know.

Phili Roundup and a Big Bag of Rice

Last night was our St. David’s, PA (Phili area) New Student Reception and it was a blast.  We had so many great new families, as well as some wonderfully poised upperclassmen and even some current parents too.  It was a lovely, convivial gathering, as I knew it would be.

From all the new freshmen I have met this summer, I have to say I am impressed.  They are interesting, intelligent (obviously), polite, and charming.  I think it is going to be a great class.

Here’s a few of the ‘get off to a good start’ tips that our upperclassmen gave last night:

- During high school, most of your day was planned and filled by school.  In college, you are going to have very little daily work, but will have a lot of material to cover in between classes and tests.  Don’t let yourself get behind.

- Unlike high school, your professor might not remind you of an upcoming quiz or test.  That information is all on the syllabus, and you need to read and follow that syllabus (and not wait for prompts).

- Be sure to visit your professors’ office hours and get to know them personally.  Go to class and participate.  Those are the building blocks to in-class success – and on the off chance you have an illness or emergency, your professor is more likely to work with you if you have a good track record in class and he/she knows you personally.

- Leave your door open the first couple of weeks in your residence hall – not all the time, not when you are sleeping, just when you are hanging out.  Invite your hallmates in or speak to them, and introduce yourself to them if their doors are open.  That’s how you build hall friends.

- Living in close quarters means that things like colds and such will run through the dorms.  Do a lot of hand washing and hand sanitizer to help keep germs at bay.

- Go to every Orientation activity.  You’ll meet tons of people.  Also go to the Student Involvement Fair (which takes place this year on 9/3 from 3:30-6 pm on the Manchester aka Mag Quad) and sign up for some clubs and activities – but not too many.  You can put your name on email distro lists for groups you are interested in, but can opt out later if that group is not for you.

I also had a fantastic suggestion from an upperclassman parent of something that ought to be added to the “What to Bring to School” list:  a ziploc bag of rice.

A ziploc bag of rice? whatever for?  you might ask yourself.  I know I was puzzled for a sec.

At some point, most of our students will have a cell phone-water mishap.  Could be getting stuck out in the rain, or spilling a drink on it, whatever.  Point is, in the moment your phone is wet and not functional, the cure for a wet phone is immersing it in a bag of uncooked rice.  And that is probably not a staple in most college kids’ rooms.

So the word to the wise is – send them to college with an emergency phone-drying-out ziploc of rice.  That way if they need it, they have it and can start the phone cure ASAP.

Thanks for the great night, my Phili friends.  Here’s a picture of our newest Deacs from the areaphili nsr



Remember Our Dancer, Emily James (’14)

If you are a fan of reality TV – or if we’ve just goaded you on via our Facebook page – you’ll know that Wake’s very own Emily James (’14) is on the Fox show So You Think You Can Dance.  You can scroll down on the main So You Think You Can Dance page and see videos of the dancers, including our Emily.

I am told by a good friend of hers that this week’s episode is a critical one.  Four dancers will be eliminated, and we want to do our part to make sure our girl Emily stays on the show!

The next show is tomorrow – Wednesday, July 30th at 8 pm Eastern.  We hope you will plan to vote (early and as often as the show allows) – the voting page is here.

Let’s show Emily the full support of the Wake Forest family!



Important Reminders and Action Items

How is it possible that it is almost August?!?!  This summer has been speeding by for us – maybe for you as well.  Part of the reason our summer is a blur is because we go to so many New Student Receptions (I look forward to seeing our Phili area Deacs tomorrow night!)  And because I am traveling, we’ll have a couple of lighter days in the Daily Deac.

There are two big action items/important to-dos in the next few days, Deac families.

1) tuition is due August 1st.  If your student has authorized you as a third party payer on DEAC, you should have been seeing some electronic reminders of this.  If your student has not granted you third party payer access, all tuition notices will go to the student only (and we hope your student is telling you!)  Here are some instructions about how your student can sign you up.  It is every student’s personal choice of course, but I can’t tell you the number of times I have received a frantic call from a parent about their student being locked out some important process (like registration) from an unpaid bill.  You can avoid that drama if both students and at least one responsible third party viewer can see all notices on DEAC.

2) the period to either waive coverage or enroll in the Student Insurance Program is also August 1.  You must either complete this waiver or enroll in the Student Blue plan, or else the Student Blue plan will be automatically billed to you.  The SIP web site has an FAQ that answers a lot of questions you may have.

Please take care of these promptly so there are no unhappy surprises.  And as always, it is a great time to remind your students that they should be checking their WFU email account very frequently, as that is how administrators and faculty will communicate action items to them.

Looking forward to seeing you, Phili!

Pro Humanitate at work

Don’t know if you have seen the nice article on the main WFU web site about the Pro Humanitate Institute - if not, do read it.  ”The new Institute is consolidating Wake Forest’s various community engagement efforts, including the former Institute for Public Engagement, which sponsored teaching and research along with local outreach, as well as the former Office of Service and Social Action, which facilitated opportunities for students to connect with the community, serve others and explore social-justice issues.”

We don’t just talk a lot about our motto of Pro Humanitate (“for humanity”); our campus community members live out Pro Humanitate in so many ways, large and small, public and private.  I am a big believer in our mission and had an opportunity to link up with one of the terrific projects we support on campus – this one is Campus Kitchen.

7 24 14 campus kitchens1 7 24 14 campus kitchens2 7 24 14 campus kitchens4 7 24 14 campus kitchens5 7 24 14 campus kitchens6The idea behind Campus Kitchen is to use local food from campus and other sources to cook meals for people in need.  Today I worked a shift in the kitchen where I helped prepare a meal for Prodigals, a program in town for men in recovery from substance abuse.

Campus Kitchen has an office in Benson (but is soon moving to their own lounge in a Quad residence hall).  There were four of us volunteering – two current students who are regular volunteers, and a librarian from ZSR and myself – the two newbies.  The CK volunteers loaded a big cart full of cooking supplies and food and we went to the Benson Center catering kitchen to get to work.

We were preparing a meal for 18 men at Prodigals.  Today’s menu was vegetables (a mix of very good looking French green beans and some frozen mixed vegetables), chili with a couple of different kinds of beans plus chicken; a potato casserole dish, and molasses cookies.  The two students helped us get acclimated to the kitchen and we quickly divvied up the jobs – potato cutting, chicken cutting, cookie making.

The process of cooking with strangers was surprisingly delightful.  Everyone chatted and talked a little about their Wake Forest experience, all the while talking about some of the work CK does, peppered in with the intermittent reminders about food safety, proper temperatures, etc.  We cooked together and cleaned up together, everyone doing their part.  It was a really beautiful hour and half of community togetherness working toward shared goals.

At the end of the shift, when all the food was cooked and ready, we took it back to the Campus Kitchen office, where it will be stored until it is time to be delivered.  One of the students told us about the Prodigals agency – she said if you ever want to go there on a Sunday afternoon and volunteer, they are the nicest guys you will ever meet.  They will remember you, and remember your name, and will be nice and so grateful for the help.  I could tell from my fellow volunteers that they liked to cook, liked to serve, liked to be doing something for someone else.  These were terrific people – and as an alumna I am proud to call them Wake Foresters.

After I got back to my office, an email was waiting from the CK automated sign up system: “We rely on volunteers to run 15 weekly shifts, serve over 900 monthly meals, and rescue more than 3,000 pounds of produce a month! We hope you had a great experience with us and that you will come back, bring friends, and think about growing your commitment in the future. ”

This was a fun gig.  I will be back.  And I hope as your students get back in the fall, they’ll consider trying this once or twice.  Pro Humanitate is good for the soul.


Two other quick items:

1) work is going on at the top of Wait Chapel – looks like painting or wood repair.  I took this picture on the way back from my cooking shift.  That is a crazy high up scaffold.

2) the Wake website is going to be down for part of the day on the 26th and 27th.  So if you try to access our web sites then, you are going to see some redirecting to other sites.  Not to worry, this is temporary.  Here are the details:  ”Due to planned network maintenance, many WFU.EDU websites will be unavailable on Saturday, July 26 from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m. Sunday, July 27.  While maintenance work is taking place, the campus computing network will not be available. Additionally, most computing services, such as Google Mail, WIN, Sakai, and Banner will not be available.  If an emergency occurs during this time, information will be available on the Wake Alert website at”

Some Interesting Stats

We’re coming down to the home stretch of our New Student Receptions, and I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the statistics of these gatherings for new students and their parents or family members, as well as current students.

33 receptions total

438 of the incoming freshmen families registered to attend a reception

76 current students registered to attend a reception (NOTE: this number is probably larger than 76, because most of our reception hosts had their WFU students attend)

21 alumni (non staff members) registered to attend a reception; some were current parents

20 WFU staff members traveling to these 33 receptions.  At the end of the season I’ll total up the mileage from these events – it will be a big number.

We have also had some wonderful interactions with families during and after the events.  Maybe the two most meaningful I witnessed personally were these:

- I had two upperclassmen women come up to me at a reception and tell me they’d met at this same reception a year ago as incoming freshmen and became best friends

- A mom came up to me after a reception and said (paraphrasing here)  ’before this event, my anxiety level about sending my student to college was up here [gestured toward her neck].  Now that we’ve met so many nice people, that anxiety is way down here.

And for those of you not living in a reception area, we are still trying to work out a ‘virtual’ route – less about you guys meeting and mingling (as our students have Facebook for that), but more to share the tips and good ideas that have come out of the events.  More to come once we flesh it out.

tampa nsrFinally, a great pic from the Tampa New Student Reception the other night.  They all look pretty excited about Wake!

Some Food for Thought

Some of my friends and colleagues are kind enough to point out articles about parents and parenting, thinking they might be interesting food for thought for our Deac families.  Today I am going to bring you a few of those types of articles.  Note that the Daily Deac isn’t making a value judgment about whether these are good or bad – that is for you to decide.  But I share them with you in good spirit.

The first one might be coming a little late for those of you with upperclassmen, because you have already experienced having your Deacs home for the summer after Independent Life at College.  This article is called “The Other Nine Months,” and it is about when your college student returns to live home after freshman year has ended.

The second article is written by the mother of a 10th grader, and it is entitled “An Open Letter to My Teenage Son About Drinking.”  Topic is self evident, and the writer states her family’s opinion and values in it.  She also challenges the assumption that all teenagers will experiment with drugs and alcohol – why should that be the norm? – and wants to be sure her son is aware of her ideas and ideals:  ”I get it. My son is growing up, and he’s going to have to make choices for himself.  I want him to spread his wings and discover who he is.  And as much as some people think I’m living under a rock, I do know that he is going to make mistakes along the way.  But, I want him to know where I stand on engaging in behaviors that are at best risky and at worst illegal or life-threatening.  I never want my son to say that I wasn’t clear about my feelings — so I’m writing them out here, for all to see.”  (Aside: as we have said often on the Daily Deac, summer is a great time to have those tough conversations – about alcohol and all other difficult issues.)

Finally, we offer “The Real Goodbye,” which was quoted to us last night by a WFU professor and incoming freshman parent at our Winston-Salem New Student Reception.  This article is poignant and talks about students’ increasing independence (and simultaneous letting go of their parents).

Seen and Heard

Today I had occasion to walk all about campus, and thought I’d show you a little bit of what I saw and heard.

On the Quad:

7 21 14 campus hydrangea- close to Efird and Taylor and Huffman and Poteat we have some gorgeous hydrangea bushes – really big and thick.  This one here is just outside Davis Hall.  One solitary purple one, but it was pretty.

7 21 14 campus tour- there was a big tour group walking along the Quad.  It is overcast again today and not as beautiful as a sunny day (in my opinion), but one benefit to these visitors is that it is also cooler than a typical July day.  I listened to the tour guide for a couple of minutes and this young man appeared to be doing a great job.

7 21 14 campus flowers- these planters outside the entrance to Reynolda appear new – or newish, maybe I haven’t seen them – and they are lovely.  There are twin planters at the entrances to Benson up the main entrance stairs.


In Reynolda:

7 21 14 campus 1- some new and colorful artwork on the steps leading to the 2nd floor.  I love that we rotate student pieces as well as purchased artwork.  I neglected to get the artist info, but I really liked the look of this one.

7 21 14 campus women center- a banner (new? newish?) outside the Women’s Center.  If your female students haven’t taken advantage of some of the offerings of the Women’s Center, urge them to do so this fall.


At the ZSR library:

7 21 14 campus fire drill- a fire drill!  When I arrived, the occupants were all on their way out the door for a brief fire drill.  Evidently there is a lot of construction going on this summer and I am told there was a fire drill either yesterday or late last week.  Not sure which of them was accidental.  And yes, there was the requisite sound of alarm going off – thankfully it was short lived.

- toward the library parking lot near Luter Hall, they are removing some of the trees.  Evidently the soil can’t support the trees as close together as they are, so they are removing some in hope that the others will flourish.  No pictures of that one, but there are orderly piles of red clay where the trees were removed.