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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


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

Wednesday Five Senses

The local school district was closed today on threat of freezing rain and roads, but as I drove to work there was just one moment of sliding and nothing more.  Wake’s classes remained on schedule.

It’s been a long while since we did a “Five Senses” post – so here goes.  Five Senses of Farrell Hall Living Room…

I see…

– Lots of students bundled up in coats.  It is cold and needle-fine mist.

– Tons of scarves and boots.  A lot of our female students keep their scarves on even once they take off their jacket.

– A yellow sign indicating wet floor (from people trudging in from outdoors where the ground is wet).

– 8-10 students are in the line for Einstein’s Bagels when I arrive.

– About 2/3 of the tables and chair groupings in the Living Room are filled.

– Those who are not actively having a conversation with someone are all using their phones to text or surf, or they are on a laptop.

– A young man who I’d wager is on the football team.  He looks like a lineman and he is eating and studying at once.

– A solitary girl in a short sleeved shirt.  She’s an outlier dress-wise; everyone else is fairly well bundled, though I do see a few young men who have just a heavy sweater on and no jacket.

– Lots of puffer jackets, clearly the style of the day.

– A clear delineation in the dress code of the graduate business students (business dress) vs. everyone else (full range of student wear).

– One girl has a laptop whose cover is totally filled with stickers.  You can’t see an inch of space on it.  I can make out a sorority sticker, the name of a band, but my eyes aren’t good enough to see what else is there.  Later, another girl with a similarly decorated laptop arrives.

– Two sets of improbably high heels, given the precarious nature of the wet sidewalks.

– A steady stream of people in the Einstein’s line.  They stay busy, those workers behind the counter.

– Administrators and faculty at a few tables meeting with students.  It’s cool that they are doing it out here in the open vs. in offices.  Makes the faculty and administrators much more approachable and accessible in my opinion.

– Two young men and a young woman enter from the outside doors near the Farrell firepit.  Both young men hold the doors open for her.  I smile.  Chivalry lives.

– No-frills hairdos on most of the women.  It’s rainy and humid and most of our young ladies are in ponytails or have their hair down or partially pulled back.  Not a good weather day for a complicated look.


I hear…

– A student behind me in line says my name.  He’d been abroad in the fall and I hadn’t seen him since.  I think the world of this young man and we give each other a hug and exchange pleasantries.

– Snippets of a conversation at a nearby table: “Did you retake it? That’s unfortunate.”  Clearly about a class someone failed or did pretty badly in at least.

– Clomp of a female administrator’s high heels.

– The screechy scraping of wooden chair legs across the floor.

– Crinkling of paper bags as students remove their bagels from them and begin eating.

– Though it is a big room with a very high ceiling, conversations seem very quiet.

– Occasional coughing.

– The crinkling of the paper wrapping that bagels come in (before they go in the to-go bag).

– People greeting each other or saying goodbye.  Things like “have a good day!” or “take care, man.”

– Einstein’s workers calling out names of orders that are up.  Brian.  Paul.

– The squeak of rubber-soled shoes against the floor, probably because they are wet.

– It get much louder in the Living Room as we approach the time of class changing.  There is a sudden influx of students coming to class, or coming here to get some food before class.  It is noticeably louder.  Not quite a dull roar, but close.


I smell…

– Cinnamon, presumably from cinnamon-raisin bagels.  It smells warm too.

– Toast from the bagel-toasting ovens.

– Crisp, cold air.

– A sudden, strong smell of coffee.  They must have brewed a new batch.


I feel…

– The softness of the cushion on the chair I occupy.  You sink in to these chairs.  It feels comforting.

– The hard, smooth table top.

– The occasional crumb underneath my fingers.


I taste…

– Hazelnut coffee.  I get the last of the pot and it is not as warm as I would have liked, but it’s warm enough to take the chill off.


That’s your Five Senses of Farrell Living Room.


— by Betsy Chapman

East Side Story

1 13 15 quadToday classes began, and about the only way it could be a drearier day would be if it was a full-on rain.  As it were, it’s grey with an occasional very light mist.  It was 41 degrees when I left the house this morning, and it is to get progressively colder today and into tonight.  Some possibility of ice tomorrow, depending on which weather forecast you consult.  (As a reminder, here are the ways weather delays are communicated).

1 13 15 zsrI had a meeting in the ZSR Library today and got a chance to see the campus fully populated and in normal operating mode.  For those of you who feared that the equestrian boot trend for women is over – fear not.  It is alive and well.  For guys, I saw a fair number of LL Bean ‘duck boots’ as we used to call them.  Back in the late 80s/early 90s, we all wore those in rainy weather too, guys and girls alike.

Starbucks was not nearly as busy at 1 pm as I thought it would be.  Which either means that the students do not yet have a desperate need to be caffeinated, or the weather kept them home.  Sitting at one of the tall tables, I saw two adorable young women at another table.  They sat down and clinked their coffee cups as if they were wine glasses and smiled.  I have no idea what they were toasting, but it was a gesture full of panache, so hats off to them.

But today’s Daily Deac is about the action on the East Side of campus.

1 13 15 tri deltComing back from ZSR off the Quad, I passed Kitchin Hall and the Tri Delta sorority lounge.  They were all decked out with two big banners welcoming their new pledges, as sorority Bid Day was yesterday.  (Aside, the gloomy weather did not deter the sororities from gathering on the Quad with lots of yelping and squealing in the 3:30-4ish timeframe yesterday).

1 13 15 gym 2 1 13 15 gym 1As I walked down the hill, I peeked over the fence into what had been the former tennis stadium.  They have been *busy* working there.  A shell is starting to emerge from the site and you can see the start of the framing of the building.

In the distance, as you look toward the Miller Center, you can see the clearing and work that has begun on the Sports Performance Center.

Moving toward Worrell Professional Center and Alumni Hall, there is a long sheet of black fencing in what had been a sort of coutryard on the side entrance to Worrell.  They have cleared out the trees to make way for a building addition that I believe will one day house the department of Health and Exercise Science – a fantastic department, by the way, one that does a tremendous amount of research on health and wellbeing; their facilities are in the old gym and with the upcoming renovation they will be moved.  The area will be re-treed later after construction is finished.

1 13 15 miller additionMany years ago I was lamenting what appeared to be a lot of construction projects at once.  A wise colleague told me (I’m paraphrasing) ‘I love orange fencing – it shows that the university is alive and active, growing.’  And I believe he was right.

1 13 15 worrell tree stumps 1 13 15 worrell front

— by Betsy Chapman


Bitter, Brutal Cold

9 degrees when I entered Alumni Hall around 8 am today.  It hit 22 at lunchtime, but any way you spin it this is a bitter, brutal cold.  So cold that I didn’t even want to venture out to the center of campus to catch a glimpse of the ladies going through sorority recruitment.  Today is Day 1, and that is a long day for everyone.  Best wishes to all the young women involved.

Lastnight was the Wake-Duke basketball game, always one of the biggest games of the season.  Despite the cold weather and the tremendous win, there was a good crowd at the Joel and our team showed a lot of energy and talent.  Our unranked Deacs were up against the #2 in the country, but we held our own.  For those of you watching the game or following online, we were down by 9 at the half and made a magnificent climb back into the game, even leading for a time.  Eventually Duke got the better of us and won the game.  The 73-65 final score in my mind does not reflect just how close the game was.  You can read the game recap online.

So yes, it is a loss, but it’s also a win in the sense that we see the sparks of greatness in this team.  My Wake Forest friends on social media had a lot of very positive things to say about our team and Coach Manning.  They used words like ‘moral victory’ and they were excited and proud of our guys.  I have complete faith in Coach Manning and believe he’ll build on that greatness.  My prediction: this team is one we are going to enjoy watching more and more and more.

In other sports news, Bobby Muuss was named head coach of men’s soccer.  He had been an assistant at Wake from 2001-2007, so this is a sort of homecoming.  Welcome, Coach Muuss!

For those of you with Deacs still at home, tomorrow and Saturday will be warmer, but not by much.  It will be a cold reentry into college life for our students.


— by Betsy Chapman


More on Campus Changes

For those of you who frequent the Quad Cam, you might have noticed a lot of action taking place on either side of Wait Chapel – trucks, earth being moved, etc.  This is part of a landscaping renovation project that has been going on throughout Winter Break, and should be completed in the next week or two (weather permitting).  Here is a description of what’s taking place: “The project…will remove overgrown shrubbery, replacing it with a more inviting planting design that opens the spaces up to Hearn Plaza. In addition to an entirely new planting scheme, curved teak benches, brick pavers, and blue stone will also be included.”  You can see an artistic rendition of the final look of the space.

This bit of construction is not visible from the Quad Cam, but is very close to my home in Alumni Hall.  The Worrell Professional Center, home to our law school, is having site trees removed for what will become a building addition that will house the department of Health and Exercise Science.  Right now the big parking lot W1 between Poteat Field and Worrell is home to some big trucks and equipment working on the trees.

If you are having trouble figuring out where these spaces are, our intrepid web team has a new Interactive Campus Map where you can see the buildings on campus.  The map has Google Street View of some of the buildings (I remember seeing the Street View car on campus earlier this summer, now it all makes sense!)

We’re starting to see more signs of life on campus from returning female students here for sorority recruitment – more joggers, people carrying suitcases or grocery bags to their residence halls, etc.  Recruitment kicks off with a meeting this evening, and then tomorrow we’ll start to see small groups of girls being led with their GRC (Greek Recruitment Counselor) to a series of sorority functions all day.

The weather is getting colder and is supposed to be only in the high 20s tomorrow.  Right now it really looks like a wintry sky.  Not like snow is imminent or anything – just that kind of weak-sunlight look of winter.

— by Betsy Chapman