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Five Senses of the Benson Food Court

Today is another beautiful sunny day in a long string of beautiful sunny days.  It’s in the high 80s today, which made my walk across campus to the Benson Center a little warmer than I would like.  Following a meeting in Benson, I went up to the food court area to sit down for one of our “Five Senses” blog posts.

Here’s what you might have experienced had you shared my table in the food court around 11 am.

I see…

– two female students greet each other with a hug, presumably the first time they’d seen each other since coming back to campus (given their delighted reaction).

– a line forming at the make-to-order salad bar.  (It was the most popular eating choice during the time I was there observing.)

– about 1/3 of the food court tables filled.  Most of the tables have 2-4 students at them, and they are eating and chatting.  Maybe 3 of the occupied tables have only one student, with laptop open.

– lots of summery clothes – shorts and t-shirts, sundresses.  A few of the female students are in workout clothes and glistening as if they were fresh from exercise.   Many of our young men are in t-shirts and casual shorts (either athletic or khaki).  A couple of them are in button down plaid shirts and khaki-type shorts in colors other than tan. (They look exceedingly presentable, these young men.)

– bags with the Chick-fil-A logo or Moe’s logo on it.  Most of the seated eaters have chosen one of those two eateries.

– a narrow-ish variety of shoe styles.  A fair number of students are wearing flip flops (men and women), and several women are wearing gladiator sandals, which must mean they are still in style.  Most of the sneakers students are wearing look fairly new – not yet dirty or worn down the way well-used running shoes get.

– lots of clean shaven young men.  Nearly all of our male students here appear to be freshly shaved.  A couple of them are sporting light stubble, and only one with a full beard.

– one student who is standing up in front of a table of four or five male and female students.  This guy is imitating some sort of dance move to the friends, making a couple of wide, side-lunging steps to the right (and then back into place).  There’s an arm movement thing he’s doing too – elbows and forearms.  I have to hand it to this guy, he has a ton of confidence to be doing this in the middle of the Benson Center.  More power to him.

– a couple of Campus Dining managers checking out the scene, presumably to make sure lines are  moving and students are enjoying the food.

– several young men with baseball caps come and go during my time there.  Maybe 4 of them have worn their caps on backwards, and maybe 2 have worn them the regular way.

– dance demonstrator guy move to a different table to say hello to some other friends after his original table has left.  I am assuming he’s a strong extrovert.

– lots of smiling faces at tables and as people pass friends.  Too early in the semester for too many students to feel a lot of stress.


I hear…

– snippets from one young woman in a nearby conversation, something akin to: oh my God, I haven’t seen you for so long!!  are you rushing?  I am so glad, you should come out with us!

– ice hitting empty cups as students go to the soda machines.

– the rhythmic CHOP-CHOP-CHOP of the salads being chopped at the custom salad station.

– sizzling of food hitting the grills to be cooked.

– scooting of chairs across the floor as people pull out chairs to sit down/push them in as they leave.

– the rolling of a food prep cart through the middle of the food court.

– crinkling of paper bags being opened.

– the signature ‘click’ noise that is made as you first touch your cup to a soda machine lever to get it to dispense.

– “Welcome to Moe’s!” being yelled by the Moe’s staff.  Interestingly, I did not hear that until well into my time in Benson.

– metal pots banging.

– jingling of keys.

– a metal on metal sound that I would bet is the spatula going under burgers on the grill, just before the cook flips them.

– the noise gets louder and louder the closer I get to 11:30.  I am no longer able to hear snatches of individual conversations, rather it is more of a generic buzz or hum.

– laughter.


I smell -

– fried food.  It is really the only thing I smell, actually.  I think Chick-fil-A’s fried aroma is so strong it’s drowns out all the other smells.


I feel – 

– happiness.  It is a warm day.  Students look good, no conflicts or problems are evident in the folks that I can see.  They all seem like they are enjoying themselves, which makes me happy.

– a little wistfulness that I’d like to be 18 or 19 with so much less responsibility than I have in my mid 40s :)  And wishing my own dearest Wake friends could come back here with me.


That’s all she wrote, Deac families.  I suppose I should call this the Four Senses of Benson because I didn’t eat or drink anything, despite the variety of things I could have purchased there.  You’ll have to use your imaginations for that last sense.

Hope this gave you a feel for what campus felt like in this distinct moment in time.




We have a campus event coming up next Friday that I wanted to share with our parents and families.  We hope your students will attend this event (free food! fun and games! and some very special activities your students won’t want to miss – but I won’t spoil the surprise here).

thrive logoThe event is our Thrive kick off – which will be held on Friday, September 5th on the Manchester Quad (aka Magnolia Quad, near the first-year dorms and academic buildings) from 3-6 pm.  The Thrive event will be a campus-wide festival with dozens of fun and thought-provoking activities designed to help members of the Wake Forest community to take control of their personal wellbeing and empower others to do the same.

The idea of Thrive is not just a one-and-done party, though.  It is so much more.  Thrive is a thoughtful, conscientious approach to helping our students (and faculty and staff) think about the idea of wellbeing.  How can we lead healthier, more balanced lives – now, and for the rest of our lives?  How can we attend to all the dimensions of our wellbeing: intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, occupational, financial, environmental, and social?  We want to make sure our students are not just learning facts and figures and theories and concepts here, but the skills, knowledge and perspective so their lives thrive in all ways possible.

There is a Thrive web site that talks about the various dimensions of wellbeing.  There is also a terrific story on our News Center page about the investment Wake Forest is making in wellbeing on campus.   A fascinating part of this article is the story of John Marbach (’16), who had accepted a prestigious $100K entrepreneurship grant to start a venture, but ultimately returned to Wake Forest because he missed the social and intellectual environment and the wellbeing that comes from living in a community and learning and growing with peers.

One of the first visible signs of Wake Forest’s wellbeing efforts will be upcoming demolition work at the former Leighton Tennis Stadium adjacent to Reynolds Gym.  That space will be used to create an addition to the [very old] Reynolds Gym and then we’ll have a phased renovation of the gym into a more dynamic, modern facility.  Read more about the vision for this project.

And there will be other visible signs and hints of Thrive in the coming days.  Your students will begin seeing things on campus related to Thrive and the kickoff.  I was in a meeting yesterday about the September 5 Thrive kick-off and I promise you the Manchester (Mag) Quad is going to be spectacular.  Your students won’t want to miss it.

So encourage them to c0me next Friday, September 5th from 3-6.  But more importantly, encourage them to take very seriously the idea of their own wellbeing, across all dimensions.   Sometimes our students feel like they need permission to relax, permission to take care of themselves, time to decompress and just be.  To the degree that you can influence them, encourage them to begin really paying attention to their own wellbeing.  The more they learn balance and healthy living (in all its aspects) now, the better they’ll be prepared for the rest of their lives.

First Day of Classes

Classes began today, Deac families.  It’s a busy time for your students – buying books, finding class locations, getting through their course syllabi and learning what the expectations will be for the semester.

For those students who want to make changes in their schedule, the Office of Academic Advising is there as a resource.  On the main OAA page, students can look at the Open Course Report, which is posted (and updated) frequently within the first few days of class and can see where there are course openings.  Caveat of course is that this list will change as students drop and add classes, so students should check back frequently.  There’s another great item on the OAA page:  Dean Buchanan’s Top 10 List of Things that Academically Successful Students Do.  Some wise words here on how to have a good start.

President Hatch sent an email to the campus community today, welcoming students back to campus and sharing some of his thoughts.  You can read his email here.   And for the benefit of all the new parents and families that are just getting to know the Parents’ Page, any time there is an email that goes to all of campus, we post it to the main Parents’ Page news section (see center part of our main page), so you can also look for those broadcast emails there.

bistro 34 brunchI took a stroll today to the North Campus Dining Hall around lunchtime and it is already being well used.  There were lots of students sitting on the outdoor patio under umbrellas, with laptops and books.  Some were just lunching with friends and chatting.  Much of the seating indoors on the top level was in use, either with diners or folks socializing.  I had lunch in Bistro ’34, the sit down restaurant in North Dining Hall.  The salmon-quinoa salad was fresh and delicious – a really light meal.  They have a sign advertising Sunday Brunch there, which might make for a really nice treat for your Deacs.

Words can’t capture how spectacular the weather is today (yesterday as well).  It’s sunny, high 70s/low 80s, almost no humidity.   This is as close to perfect as it gets, folks.

PS – if you want a good laugh (or cry, depending on your perspective), check out Beloit College’s Mindset List for the Class of 2018.  It tells you what the country’s new freshmen have always known/never known. etc.  I suspect many of these things are big changes from our own childhoods.  The one that hurt me was “When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.” :)

New Student Convocation

class of 2018 photoIt’s been a long weekend of Orientation activities for our new first-year Class of 2018s.  I caught the tail end of yesterday’s events – dinner with academic advising groups over at the football stadium, followed by Wake the Demons, a spirited pep rally kind of evening where new students learned cheers and the fight song and such.  One nice outcome was a class picture – so behold, the Class of 2018!  It will be hard for you to find your Deac, but your student can probably tell you the general area to look.

This morning all of the new students went to one-on-one meetings with their academic advisers.  Those appointments give students a chance to talk about any schedule items that they had questions or concerns about, but also provides an opportunity for the adviser and student to get to know each other better, set any expectations of what they want from their advising relationship, etc.  And it gives the advisers an opening to offer some tips or advice on how to get a good start.  It’s always fun getting to know a new group of advisees.

After lunch we had New Student Convocation.  This official academic ceremony provided a venue for the new class to gather with their student adviser (and academic advisers if available).  I attended this event and wanted to offer a brief recap.

Sarah Martin (’15), the student representative on the Committee on Orientation and Lower Division Advising, offered her top 1o pieces of advice for new students as they start their college careers:

1. Strive for milestones.

2. Work hard.

3. Don’t fear failure.  (She got a big audience chuckle when she said – tongue in cheek –  ‘Remember that falling on your face is still forward movement.’)

4. Seek help and use campus resources.

5. Find a mentor.

6. Get involved.

7. Roll the Quad!  (I loved her explanation – that rolling the Quad is so much more than about athletic victories – it represents the coming together of our community).

8. Make the most of your time here.

9. Be kind.

10. Live Pro Humanitate [our motto, ‘For humanity’]

University Chaplain Tim Auman followed.  He invited everyone to share in the blessing he offered for the new students, in the spirit of everyone’s faith traditions.  What struck me the most in his blessing was his invocation of the notion of wisdom, civility, compassion, and generosity of spirit.

President Nathan O. Hatch addressed the group next.  He shared stories of some of his college professors.  One had picked on him, singled him out in class, threw him curveball questions and tough assignments.  Dr. Hatch came to realize he was not being picked on, but intellectually engaged, because his professor saw something in him that made him want to press harder.  “He understood that a student’s mind is not a bucket to be filled, but a fire to light,” said Dr. Hatch.

He also talked about a class that was really rigorous – 12 research papers due in a 15 week term.  Dr. Hatch recalled having to spend two days each week researching and writing those papers.  And while the workload was challenging, he discovered by the end of the term, he’d learned how to take his research and writing to the next level.  Dr. Hatch said it was as if his mind had been to the gym and his mental muscles had grown from so much practice.  He also said that he discovered that learning needs both silence and solitude, and that class helped him focus and concentrate.

Dr. Hatch concluded by urging students to chew on the big questions outside of class.  What do I know?  In what can I believe?  How can I serve?  In what do I want to invest my life?  And that students should explore the big questions of life and think about developing both mind and character in college.

Meredith Mulkerrin (’15), Student Government President, reflected on the transition from high school to college.  She said that most Wake Forest students arrive at college being used to being big fish in a small pond, and the sudden realization that you are a minnow is an adjustment.  And that during Orientation (and at the start of your first year) EVERYONE is offering you advice about everything.  But in class, everything is different.  In class, you can use your voice – ask questions, challenge assumptions, examine and expose.

She concluded with offering this advice and predictions for the future:

– in the last 4 hours of Orientation, soak up all the advice you can.

– in 4 days, follow up with your student advisers and faculty advisers.  Talk to them – tell them how you are, or if you need help.

– in 4 weeks, you’ll learn who you click with (and who you don’t).  You’ll also learn your caffeine delivery device of choice.

– in 4 months, take your pulse.  You’ll be home and reseeing your friends from high school.  You’ll have time to reflect on the semester.  Who are you? What have you learned? How have you changed?

– in 4 years, you’ll have a list a mile long of why you love Wake Forest!

Before the singing of the alma mater and the recessional, Christy Buchanan, Associate Dean of Academic Advising, presented the awards for Excellence in Academic Advising.  This year’s winners were Mary Gerardy, Associate Vice President and Associate Dean of Campus Life, and Luis González, Associate Professor of Spanish.  Dean Buchanan offered one final piece of advice to the new students: communicate.  In person whenever possible, but communicate with your new faculty, peers, and community members.

The convocation concluded and the new students went back out to the Quad, which was a near perfect mid 70s and sunny.  A picture perfect WFU day.

Classes start tomorrow.  The adventure begins!

Orientation Wrap Up

Orientation activities are largely over for new parents (or the P’18s, as we call them).  The grand finale was a huge picnic on the Quad, followed by the “Making of a Demon Deacon” ceremony.

During the event, there were speeches and remarks,  musical performances by singing groups and the Spirit of the Old Gold and Black Band, and it was generally a really festive (if hot!) atmosphere.

There was some audience participation too:  parents and loved ones wished the new students well in unison (with phrases like “We believe in you.”  “We trust you.”  “We love you.” – brought a tear to my eye, I confess.)   Students learned to sing the alma mater, they pinned a WF pin on each other, which we’re told they should keep, as they will need them again at Commencement 2018.  And finally they got some instruction in rolling the Quad from upperclassmen, then they took to the TP like champs and rolled the trees on their own.  (Interesting aside, I have heard some of the upperclassmen refer to the new students as Baby Deacs or Baby Deacons.)

And then at the end of that event, I saw a lot of hugs and kisses and some misty eyes.  Many (most?) of our parents and families are departing soon, because your formal activities are finished.  However, the activities for your new students will continue throughout the weekend.

A couple of newsworthy items to mention.  For those of you who could not attend Orientation – or those who want to revisit it! – we have made some of the parent Orientation handouts and slide shows available online.  We were piloting the recording of some of today’s events for parents and families and hope to put them online next week at this same website if the quality is acceptable.  Let me manage expectations for a moment and tell you that this was a volunteer (read: free) effort; we are trying to be good stewards of our resources, so we were trying to do this in house using existing technology.

In academic reporting news, some of you might be familiar with FERPA (Family Educational Right to Privacy Act) – which controls the release of academic information.  New students received an email about how they can go online and grant proxy access to various parts of their academic experience.   So if you want to have access to your student’s academic information protected by FERPA, please encourage them to complete the proxy access process.

And because it is Friday and we have a lot of new parents and families onboard now, we’ll close with a couple of our oft-preached refrains.

We like to think of Fridays as Black and Gold Fridays. Translation: show your support for Wake Forest every Friday by wearing black and gold, or WFU apparel.  This gives you a tie to your students, but it also can give Wake some valuable exposure in your home areas, particularly if you wear something that says “Wake Forest.”  It is a tradition we would love to see our Deac families adopt.

And since it is the first weekend of school for our new students, we hope they will all exercise good judgment and make wise decisions, particularly in manners of their personal safety.  Your new students are finishing a Staying Safe at Wake session right now where they are hearing from campus experts.  But you can do something too.

Christy Buchanan, who is our Associate Dean of Academic Advising as well as a developmental psychology faculty member, shared this at the parent Orientation session about alcohol:  call your student sometime on a Friday and have a meaningful conversation with them.  It has the potential to influence your student’s behavior for the weekend in a positive way.

You don’t have to talk directly about alcohol or tell them to be good.  It can just be a friendly conversation. There is research that showed that students whose parents and family members called them on Friday tended to engage in less risky behavior than students who did not hear from loved ones.

The idea is that when students have contact with parents and loved ones on a Friday, there is a subtle reminder of the values of home, and expectations of parents.  And then they behave with a lower degree of risky behavior.

Even if you just left campus, consider picking up the phone later today and every Friday and have a nice chat with your students.  Nothing to lose and everything to gain.  You might be the bump in the right direction as the weekend starts.


The Five Senses of Move-In

Today the Daily Deac is ensconced in the Campus Services and Information Fair in Benson 401.  It seemed like a great day to do one of our “Five Senses” blogs, so here goes.

I hear…

– A steady, continuous hum of voices.  Lots of chatting, lots of questions.

– A mix of emotions in parents’ voices.  Everything from enthusiasm to confusion to excitement, with the occasional hint of melancholy.  Rarely do I hear frustrated voices, which is a good sign.

– The same questions and answers being given at tables near me.  This is to be expected of course.

– Introductions as people meet – or re-meet.

– Foreign accents and American alike, which is super cool.  I find myself regretting that we didn’t have more international students when I was here.

– The sound of my phone as text messages come to me.


I see…

– Tons of sneakers and shorts.  From my vantage point, I get a good view of people as they enter 401 Benson.

– Most folks have dressed in move-in-ready clothes.  Shorts, t-shirts, breathable cotton fabrics.

– Brows being wiped.  It is hot outside (but mercifully cool inside)

– The faces of my colleagues from various other offices.  They look happy to be meeting everyone.  It’s a really fun day for all of us who work here.

– Some of my new advisees, some folks I met at New Student Receptions this summer, or people I encountered on their admissions visits.  Nice to see so many familiar and friendly faces.

– The gold stars on our table, scattered on the black tablecloth.

– Lots of green recycle bins carried by students.  And filling quickly with handouts and giveaway items.

– My computer screen, which I am consulting from time to time as families have questions.

– Our stack of Orientation brochures disappearing rapidly.  If you did not get one, the schedule is online – and they have many copies outside of 125 Reynolda Hall (while supplies last).


I feel…

– The breeze of people walking quickly by our table.

– The extra supplies hidden under our tables that I am bumping with my feet every time I move.

– Great pride when people tell me how easy move-in has been, how beautiful the campus is, how much they already love Wake.


I taste…

– Only my water bottle.  It’s early and I have not stopped for lunch yet.


I smell…

– The occasional whiff of perfume or cologne.

– The salty smell of perspiration.

– My warm laptop


That’s the view from about 11:15 am, folks.  We’ll bring you more 5 Senses blogs as the semester unfolds.

PS – Many thanks to all the parents and families who came to our Parent Programs table at the Campus Services and Information Fair today in Benson 401.  It was great to speak to you and to put faces to the names I see in emails or on our WF Parents Facebook.  I am so grateful that you read and enjoy the Daily Deac, and I treasure your comments and feedback.    You helped make my birthday a great one!

Final Thoughts Before Orientation

T minus 24 hours to go and we’ll be seeing 1,250+ new students and their parents and families.  Move-in Day is always one of the happiest on campus, and we can’t wait to meet you.

Here are a few final thoughts for those of you who are new parents (and if you are an upperclassmen parent, share any Move-in Day tips by emailing and we’ll try to post them here).

Our special issue of Wake Parents and Families e-newsletter went out yesterday just to new first-year parents and families.  It has a lot of factual information, as well as tips and suggestions.  (If you are a first-year parent who submitted an email address on your Parent Record Form and you didn’t see the e-newslettter in your inbox, check your spam filter or your junk mail folder to see if it was rerouted there.  If your email is searchable, you can search on either the sender “” or the subject line “Wake Parents and Families” to find it.  Then add us to your ‘safe senders’ list or mark us as ‘not spam’).

We have an addition to the Orientation schedule.  New this year, Wake Forest has a Pre-Graduate School Adviser:  Dr. Cecilia Solano.  Dr. Solano will be available to talk to parents and students about preparing for a future that includes graduate school.  The session for parents will be held on Friday, August 22, 9:45-10:15, Greene Hall 414.  The session for students will be held on Monday, August 25, Greene Hall 444 (drop in as you can between 9 and 4).

Keep an eye on the weather for both Thursday and Friday.   As of my typing this in the morning, predicts a 40% chance of rain.  So be thinking about whether you will want rain gear or umbrellas with you.  If you’ve already left home without them, the Deacon Shop on campus can be your go-to place, and there is a very close Target on University Parkway, as well as other stores.

We hope that you’ll stop by the Campus Services and Information Fair in the Benson Center tomorrow (8/21) between 8-4.  Your students will have a lot of things to do while they are there – and we have a Parent Programs table, and hope you’ll come and say hello and pick up some information from our table.  If you did not complete a Parent Record Form (or if you have changes to it since submitting it), there will be a table next to ours where you can complete the form.

Finally, enjoy the experience!  The many offices on campus involved in Orientation and Move-In (and there are *many*) try their best to make this a smooth and easy time for you and your students.  Have fun when you can – take pictures (and tag them with #WFU18 as you post to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram), hug your students, tell them you are proud of them, meet the hallmates and other parents, talk to staff.  We hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between your family and your newly-adopted Wake Forest family!






Gearing Up

If you remember that old song about it being a “Manic Monday,” you would have had a good glimpse into what it’s like on campus right now.  I am not sure what the right adjective for Tuesday is, but somewhere in the area of ‘frenetic’ might be a good place to start.  The clock is ticking away and most of our offices are trying to get all the final tasks accomplished before the big arrival day.

8 19 14 i love ncSome of our freshmen have arrived already for Pre-Orientation programs.  I saw a bunch of upperclassmen arriving this morning as well.  They must either be RAs or Student Advisers.

As I was driving by a parking lot on the north side of campus near Polo Hall, I saw a gray car that had been bedecked with all sorts of hilarious sayings.  The car has a Texas license plate, and there was a lot of funny Texasisms on the car.  But I did have to stop and take a snap of this window.  I love the idea of this young man or woman driving back to school from Texas, advertising his or her love for WFU.  And in gold, no less.  I like to think it is gold for WFU rather than Texas, but that one might be a 50-50 toss up.

8 19 14 busesAs I got closer to Alumni Hall, I saw a huge gaggle of students all walking from Farrell Hall toward three large motorcoaches.  The students were all dressed in fairly casual athletic gear – t-shirts and sneakers and exercise shorts.  I am not sure if this is part of a Pre-Orientation program or not.

In other campus news, Campus Kitchen got its new lounge space in Kitchin Hall and from reports I have heard, it looks like a terrific space.  Encourage your students to volunteer there this fall if they are so inclined.

Finally, the Quad looks especially beautiful today.  The lawn is freshly mowed – check it out on the Quad Cam! – and it is as green and pristine as it can be.  If you bookmark this site and check it on Friday, it will be bustling with activity.




Move-In Day Best Practices

Ready or not, here we come!  While some of our ’18s are arriving early for Pre-Orientation programs, the full Class of 2018 will be moving in on Thursday, August 21st.  We can’t wait to meet all of our new Deacs and their parents and family members!

Having witnessed many years of Move-In days, the Daily Deac has some tips to help make Move-In a more enjoyable process for all.  This is by no means a comprehensive list – use only the parts that make sense for your family.

Be patient – with 1,200+ new students moving in on the same day, there could be times where you have to wait in line.  It might be in the car driving to your student’s residence hall, at the Campus Fair in Benson to pick up ID cards and keys, or even to get lunch.  Know that you have all day to accomplish things, and don’t fret about a wait.

Stay hydrated – if it is warm and sunny outside and you are helping move in all your student’s possessions, you might get overheated.  There are drink stations outside all the residence halls.  Please stay hydrated.  Ask for help from any staff member if you feel unwell.

Be diplomatic - you will most likely be meeting your student’s roommate and family sometime during Move-In.  The students will have to navigate who gets which bed, who puts their things where, etc.  It’s best to let the students decide these things.  Parents and family members, this is time to take a neutral stance and let the students make the decisions.

Understand your student may act a little differently – he or she might be excited, or nervous, or trying to put on a brave face with his/her new peers in an unfamiliar situation, or he/she may want to act independently in getting all the business of move in taken care of.  Every student handles the hustle and bustle of Move-In differently.  Be there with a supportive hug when needed, and let the student have his/her distance when needed.

Honor the Orientation schedule. There will be activities for students only, and activities for parents and family members only.  When your students are scheduled to attend an activity with their advising group or their hall, let them do that.  We expect students to attend all required activities.  This is the students’ chance to bond, and also to begin separating from their family.

Have fun whenever you can. Sure, it can be a grind to move in and deal with extra trips to Target or the grocery store and such, but this is the start of what we hope will be four of the best years of your student’s life.  Celebrate.  Be excited.  Recall your own time at college or during other experiences in your late teens and how fun it was.  You are making family memories now that will last a lifetime.

Take pictures.  This is a major milestone in your student’s journey to adulthood.  Your student will want to remember this day, and so will you.

Before you leave, tell your students that you love them, that you are proud of them, that they’ll do well, and that you trust them. This is the most important of all.  Nothing makes it better like your family can make it better, and we all need someone to remind us that we are loved and valued and capable.

Student Health Service

We’re wrapping up our coverage of some good-to-know topics for parents and families as we all gear up for the start of school.  One of the areas we want to talk about this week is the Student Health Service.

Some of you might remember your own alma maters’ student health service and you might recall a not-too-sophisticated operation (I heard someone once describe theirs as ‘a nurse dispensing aspirin’ sort of office).  I am here to tell you that is not the case at Wake Forest.  Your students have a wealth of medical expertise and services at their fingertips here.  As one of the clinicians told a group of parents once, “consider us your students’ Primary Care Physicians while they are at school.”

Here are a few Student Health Service links of interest:

Parents Top 10 Things to Know – this is a great place to start in understanding some of the basics of student health, office availability, and privacy of student health records

Services – your students have access to both preventive and urgent care, care for chronic illnesses, allergy shots and immunizations, gynecological services, a pharmacy, psychiatric consultation, and more.   And if your student has any kind of chronic medical issue, please urge him or her to contact the Student Health Service either before the semester starts or early on in the semester to make sure that the Student Health Service is aware and can be part of their health care team.   This section also talks about fees and insurance, so it is helpful parent information.

There are times when the Student Health Service is closed.   They do have a referral page for resources off campus in those times.

There is normally a flu vaccine clinic offered in the fall semester once the vaccine is available.  Information about that will be available on the Parents’ Page once we announce it.  We’ll also announce it on the Parents’ Facebook and Twitter accounts

One of the questions we get most often in the Parent Programs office is “what if my student is sick and I want to talk to his/her doctors at Student Health?”  Our Student Health Service answered that for us on our Parents Page Questions and Answers section on Healthcare – but we’ll put there answer here for you:

What if my student is ill?  Do I get notified, and if so, how?

If a parent calls asking to speak with a staff member of the Student Health Service, the parent will be told that we cannot discuss the care without the student’s permission.  Health Service personnel will attempt to contact the student to get permission to discuss the provided healthcare if a parent calls.  Parents can also ask their student to contact the Health Service to give permission to discuss the diagnosis and care.  In some cases, students may have already provided this permission during the visit.

Parents are welcomed to call and speak to a Health Service clinician; however, information concerning the diagnosis and treatment of the student cannot be provided to the parent without the student’s permission.

In general for non-emergency cases, the Health Service will not notify parents of their children’s illnesses or visits unless directed to do so by the student.  In urgent or emergent situations, we usually ask for permission to contact parents.

Permission to discuss care is generally limited to a particular problem; if the student returns at a later date for a different concern, permission again would need to be provided by the student before Health Service personnel would be able to provide information about the new illness or injury.”

So one of the things you may want to talk about with your students before they come to school is whether you’d like them to consider granting permission for Student Health to talk to you if they get sick and are in Student Health.  That is a personal decision of course, but it might be good to establish expectations now so your student has a game plan, vs trying to get him to think about those things when he has the flu at school and he is not thinking about those kinds of procedural things.

The Student Health Service also provides the SAFE office and substance misuse prevention.

And just an editorial aside:  I would trust our Student Health Service doctors and nurses with my own family’s care.   They are terrific folks, very well qualified.  You should feel very comfortable entrusting them with your students.