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Anyone Else Wishing for Spring? Or Summer?

Though February is a short month, it can seem like it lasts forever if you are sick of winter and cold and jackets and the risk of snow.

So if you are in the throes of the Winter Blahs, take a deep breath and look at some of the beauty that’s to come in the spring.  Maybe these pictures will cheer up your Deac, or inspire you to want to make a trip to campus to see it yourself.

Here’s a reason to think ahead for summer.  There are a number of service trips students can take, broadening their global horizons and also their sense of Pro Humanitate.  Here’s an email I received about one such option:

Hello fellow Deacons!

In view of the upcoming long summer break and in consideration of our school’s motto, Pro Humanitate, I would like you to consider joining our service trip to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, during the two weeks following final exams!
More than an opportunity for Wake students to bring smiles to Dominicans living in Santo Domingo’s poorest suburbs, this service trip is an inspiring and character building experience for anyone who is willing to delve into it!
Last year, in coordination with local organization Mission Emanuel, our group was able to help build more than three houses, teach, and simply bring warmth and cordiality to some who’s only wish is to be recognized as individuals. To find out more about our previous experience, check out our Tumblr @
For more information or to sign up for an interview, contact both  Mary Gerardy at and myself at “
– by Betsy Chapman

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A Sweet Home Victory

The LJVM Coliseum was the place to be on Saturday afternoon, when our Deacs took on VA Tech.  Happily, a good number of students put down their books and came out to support the team.  No matter how well VA Tech is playing, their fans always come out in pretty good numbers since it is an easy drive between the schools (just a couple three hours), so I was really happy to see a lot of black and gold in the stands.

If you followed the game (or were here for it), I wonder if you – like me – sprouted some new gray hair or lost a few fingernails from sheer nerves.  It was a tight game with lead changes and it came down to the final seconds, with clutch shots and free throws and all.

Our team, which has been playing really well despite a few ticks in the Losses column (against strong teams, I might add), did a great job rallying to get the victory.  You can see some videos and get a recap here.

The. Deacs. Are. Back.

I am officially calling it.  Because this is a team that has talent and (from this layperson’s seat) good coaching.  There is great excitement again, and I strongly suspect a year from now we will be a very, very dangerous opponent to the ACC.  And I could not be happier about it.

I didn’t make it to the Quad after the game, but from the looks of the Quad cam, it seems maybe the students rolled.  The Quad is happiest when it’s rolled.

Our next men’s game is tomorrow night against NC State at 8 pm.  We need the students and their energy, so bring all you’ve got!  And for our families at home, it looks like it’ll be on ESPN3 and ACC affiliates.

Waiting for Godot

This has been a busy week in our office and another one to follow, so today’s Daily Deac will be a short one.  I was combing through our photo archive to see what kinds of shots might be in there from our great Ken Bennett, University Photographer.  Here’s a selection at the end of this post – from the Farrell Hall Living Room to Waiting for Godot.

Speaking of Waiting for Godot, the play is coming very soon, and your students should take the opportunity to see their friends, classmates, or hallmates tackle this Beckett classic.  Details below.

20150121godot2952Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett and directed by Brook Davis. Two men . . . A tree . . . Join us for Samuel Beckett’s classic play performed for the first time during Wake Forest’s Mainstage season. All performances will be in the Mainstage Theatre of the Scales Fine Arts Center.

Following the performance on Sunday, February 8, there will be a discussion with Emily Austin (Philosophy), Wanda Balzano (Women’s and Gender Studies), Sally Barbour (French), and Jefferson Holdridge (English) moderated by Leah Roy (Theatre and Dance).

There will be a post-performance discussion on Thursday, February 12 with Elizabeth Anthony (French), Lucas Johnston (Religion), Tony Marsh (Health and Exercise Science) and Leah Roy (Theatre and Dance) moderated by Brook Davis.

Tickets for individual productions are $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, and $7 for students (price includes NC sales tax).

February 6-7 & 12-14, 2015 at 7:30 PM February 8 & 15, 2015 at 2:00 PM”

As always, I hope you wore your black and gold this and every Friday to show your school spirit!  And reach out to your students too so they get the benefits of that Friday interaction with those they love.

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– by Betsy Chapman

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


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