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Summer Conversations

If your student is at home with you over the summer, this is a wonderful time to have some important and meaningful conversations.  One of the conversations that you might wish to have with your student is about alcohol.

Whether your student is an incoming first-year or an upperclassman, it can be an important step to talk openly and maturely about alcohol and college students.  Incoming first-year students are required to take the My Student Body alcohol online course.  We recommend parents of first-year students complete the parent section of My Student Body (instructions on how to sign up are here).

Wake Forest has a good web site called CHOICES (Cultivating Healthier Opinions In Challenging Everyday Situations) and it has a section just for parents and families about alcohol and substances.  This site will be well worth your time.  We all know there are personal health and safety issues related to college students and alcohol, as well as legal issues.  Not many of us like having tough conversations about sensitive subjects, but there can be a lot of good that comes from having a talk with your student about alcohol use, personal responsibility, your family’s values, your parental expectations.

Hopefully these tools will be helpful in that process.


On the Importance of Finding a Niche

I was talking with one of my colleagues this week, Mike Ford (’72), who is an Associate Dean for Campus Life.  Mike has been working with Wake students for quite a long time, and he has a special talent for mentoring young people and helping them get engaged and involved in meaningful ways on campus.  Mike – along with many other fantastic Campus Life colleagues – works with students on a number of volunteer, philanthropic, and leadership projects.  And one of the takeaways I have learned through observation over the years is that students who are actively involved in a meaningful project or activity tend to find a greater sense of belonging and satisfaction on campus.  The transition to college tends to be smoother and happier for those who get involved early.

20110823sparc0811This is particularly important during the freshman year.  The first year on campus, students are going through so many changes and adjustments.  It can help tremendously to be grounded in a group, a project, an activity, a social network.  Just somewhere that the student can dig in and feel like they belong.

20100817sustainability1771Campus Life does a great job providing a huge variety of potential activities for our students.  Those start even before school begins, in programs we call Pre-Orientation.

md_20050817E_preschool6588These are optional programs, but are terrific enhancements to the Orientation experience.  Incoming freshmen come to campus a few days before the rest of the Class of 2018 and can get a head start on making friends and finding a niche on campus – which makes the transition process a lot smoother.  I am copying below some of the information Mike provided to me on the Pre-Orientation programs – and hope if you are the parent of a new freshman, you’ll urge your son or daughter to consider these programs.

20110822wilderness0398That said, if your student does not want to participate in a Pre-Orientation program, that is fine!  Not all students do, so don’t worry if yours is not interested or if it does not work for your family’s schedule.   The thing I want to impress on everyone (whether your student is an incoming freshman or a rising senior) is that it is important to find a way to get involved, the earlier in the semester the better.

There will be a Student Involvement Fair the first week of September, just after classes start, and our 175+ student organizations will all have tables set up on the Mag Quad (aka Manchester Plaza) for your students to see.  At each table will be sign up sheets where students can get on the email distro list for that group.  No matter your students’ year, urge them to go to the Student Involvement Fair and pick 2-4 groups to consider joining.  That will give your students exposure to new friends, shared interests, and will broaden their social network.

One final thought.  Not everyone is a “joiner,” as one of my dear campus friends would say.  I myself am a low-grade introvert, so the idea of signing up for a bunch of groups was Not My Thing.  If your student falls in this category, encourage him or her to find some other ways of getting involved and meeting friends in a style that might be more their speed.  Maybe that is forming a friendship with a professor, RA, or staff person they have come in contact with – and letting the trusted adult try to help broker some introductions with likeminded people.  Maybe that is hanging out in the art gallery or the library and seeing who else tends to be there in the same places – maybe that could be a potential friend to meet.  Maybe that is going to a lecture or an open house for a department, could be anything.  The trick is – and this is easy to say and hard to do for introverts – to try and get out and meet a few people that you can be close to during college.

The important part is for the student to determine his/her comfort level and get involved that way.  As parents, we might have done it differently in college (or might want our kids to try ‘our’ way of doing college rather than theirs), but I believe they will be happiest if they take their own path.




Class of 2018: Make a Fast, Firm and Fun Start to Wake with Pre-Orientation Programs!

For new students looking to understand the Wake Forest and Winston-Salem cultures, meet student and administrative leaders, and connect with fellow classmates, the university is offering several outstanding Pre-Orientation programs:

  • Deacon Camp: August 17-20
  • SPARC: August 17-21
  • Summit: August 18-21
  • World Wide Wake: August 17-20

Check out the descriptions and the deadlines for each program on the New Students website.  Participants get to move in early to their residence hall rooms.  For questions, contact Mike Ford, Associate Dean Campus Life, 336.758-5921.

Back At It!

The Daily Deac took a little break last week for some family vacation to Yellowstone National Park with Class of ’27 Deac and Deac Dad.  For all our Deac families in those areas, my hat is off to you.  What an absolutely stunning place to live.  So very different from Winston-Salem.

You might think summer is a time of slowness and rest at the University, but you could not be more wrong.  Summer is the time when we collectively do a lot of physical work for the coming year – maintenance or renovation of residence halls, retiring of old furniture and bringing in new, and anything that might be painting, paving, pruning, plumbing or any of the other things.

Summer also brings a slew of visitors to campus who are here for camps and conferences.  In addition to the summer school students who are living on campus, we use our residence halls to host paid camps over the summer.  Campers could be little kid daycampers – like my ’27 Deac who is here for a sports camp – or it could be overnight guests.  You can see a list of the conference groups here.   It makes for a lot of activity on campus when you see a big gaggle of camp folks all going across the Quad or the fields at once.   The ones that are really fun are the cheer/dance teams – they can get really loud when they do their start-of-the-day cheers!

In terms of the Parent Programs office, summer is one of our very busiest times.  We are in the midst of organizing about 30 New Student Receptions for the incoming first-year students and families.   These receptions help our newest Wake Foresters meet each other, and help build a network and some shared ties between the new students and parents and some current ones.

If you are a parent or family member of an incoming first-year Class of 2018 student, please sign up for one of these receptions if you wish.  We send invitations directly to your students (because we have their email addresses now, and not all new parents have completed their Parent Record Form – good reminder to do so if you have not!)   Note that your student does not have to receive an email invitation to attend.  All are welcome.  We only send to a reasonable driving distance from each reception because we don’t want anyone to feel like these are command performances or make anyone feel obliged to attend.

If you are the parent or family member of an upperclassmen, you could be a big help to us too!  We are always in need of a few current students at these receptions.  If there is one in your area and your rising sophomore, junior, or senior will be in town, please share this post with them and ask them to sign up!  We want to have some current students present at our receptions to help answer questions that the new families have!  Or if you want to attend as an upperclassmen parent, we welcome you!

Finally, in taking a look at campus via the Quad Cam, it can show you how green and lovely it is this week, but can’t show you that the heat of Southern Summer is coming.  The Weather Channel tells us that it will be in the low 90s this week.  Time for our summer school students to get out their most lightweight clothes and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Ordinary Yet Extraordinary

Our final good thing to look forward to during the academic year isn’t an event proper or an activity.  It’s a time of year.   An ordinary week somewhere in October most likely.  But it is extraordinary.


There is something about when fall arrives on a college campus that just feels good.  It’s that first hint of a chill in the morning.  Needing to wear a  light jacket for the first time.  The fact that Starbucks brings back Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  And the trees and the leaves.

Wake is an undeniably gorgeous campus.  And while spring is resplendent in its own way with all the flowers, fall is really a stunner.  We have so many gorgeous trees in every shade of flaming red, yellow, and orange.  When the leaves are on the trees and you can look from the Mag Patio downtown, it is breathtaking.

Fall is a time when students need to get out and take some long walks every weekend.  On campus.  To Reynolda Gardens.  Or even the short drive up to Pilot Mountain to hike.

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What’s Left?

The Daily Deac is at the end of the Things to Look Forward to This Fall series, and what is left?  Today isn’t about an event or a place or a thing, it is about the feeling of being back at Wake Forest as the semester begins.   And we’ll try to project some ideas, in the style we like to do called “Five Senses.”

You see

- Lots of upperclass students hugging and smiling hello as they move back to campus and reunite with friends

- Freshmen traveling in packs for the first few days

- Lines to buy books and people carrying large packages of same.  Feel bad for the science majors; their textbooks are always enormous

- The start-of-semester student uniform: tshirts, shorts, flip flops, cellphones

- Frisbee on the Quad, or people studying on the grass.  Lots of outdoor pursuits.

- People sitting on the walls and decks of the residence hall lounges.  There could be guitars, or grilling, or gatherings.

- Joggers, walkers, and runners


You hear

-  People talking as they walk on campus together

- Phone calls to moms, dads, significant others

- Ordering food in Subway, Benson, and all the other eateries

- Roars from intramural games in progress

- Mostly English, but occasional conversations in foreign languages (frequently Spanish and Chinese)

- the beehive buzz sound of a very full Farrell Hall Living Room


You smell

- The subtle, delicious scent of drying tobacco leaves from the plants nearby (but only on humid days).  This is a smell your kids will forever associate with Wake Forest, I can promise you that.

- Fried food in the Benson Center (Chick Fil A, I’m looking at you)

- Fresh cut grass anywhere there is green space

- Freshly showered and perfumed girls on their residence halls

- The strong waft of coffee as you enter the ZSR Starbucks

- The smell of old books as you move from the Starbucks into the library stacks


You taste

- the first sip of a ZSR Starbucks – and it is delicious

- the crispy edge of a make your own waffle at the Pit’s waffle station

- a perfectly cooked omelet that has all your favorite ingredients in it

- the salty/sweet and delicious late night food runs from Cook Out, Krispy Kreme, delivery pizza

- tailgate food – depending on where you tailgate (and the game time), it could be BBQ, fried chicken, sausage or ham biscuits.  None of it healthy but all of it perfectly suited to a ball game


You feel

- Like there is a lot of energy on campus.  Especially on a Friday night, the electricity is palpable.

- Warm.  It’s hot and sunny.

- Glad to be back.

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Two More to Go

We’re coming to the end of our vacation-week series of Things to Look Forward to in fall 2014.  Semester’s end means finals, and while none of our students look forward to those, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s called Wake the Library.

Wake the Library is a week’s worth of food, fun, TLC, stress relievers, and research help in our Z Smith Reynolds Library.  We have an amazing team of librarians who work tirelessly to keep the library open 24/7 during finals week.  They are there as supporters, cheerleaders, thinking partners, comforters, and subject matter experts.

Wake the Library gives students some especially fun moments of study breaks.  Free food at midnight.  Yoga.  This year there were pinatas.  Graffiti wall.

If you have to be in the trenches of finals, the ZSR staff is who you want beside you.  And they deliver, year after year.

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A Cherished Tradition

We can’t bring you any kind of preview of fall semester highlights without talking about one of the cherished holiday traditions that comes the Sunday before finals begin: the Moravian Lovefeast.

Here is the official description of the Lovefeast:

The Lovefeast at Wake Forest

Moravian student Jane Sherrill Stroupe ’67 organized the first Wake Forest Lovefeast in December 1965.  200 students gathered to celebrate the traditional meal.  Since then, the Wake Forest Lovefeast has grown to be the largest Moravian-style lovefeast in North America, and one of the favorite features of Wake Forest tradition.

The Wake Forest Lovefeast consists of a sweetened bun and creamed coffee.  It is served to the participants by dieners (German for servers).  During the meal, music is offered by the Wake Forest Concert Choir, Handbell Choir, Flute Choir, and the Messiah Moravian Church Band.  During the service of song and scripture reading, handmade beeswax candles decorated with a red paper frill are distributed to each worshiper.  The candles are lit while the worship space is darkened except for a large illuminated Moravian Advent Star for the singing of the final hymns.”

For students who want to celebrate the Christmas season with lots of holiday magic, this is the ‘can’t miss’ event.  Read the Daily Deac’s preview of last year’s Lovefeast.

Lovefeast llovefeast1277 20091206lovefeast2547 all lit up again 20121202lovefeast8615 20121202lovefeast8482

Looking Ahead

Happy Monday, Deac families!  While the Daily Deac is on vacation, we’re still bringing you good news from campus.  This week we’re looking at Things to Look Forward to in 2014-15.  Our series continues with Project Pumpkin.

Project Pumpkin is a Halloween carnival that is put on for local schoolchildren.  Around 1,000 local at-risk schoolchildren come to campus to trick-or-treat in a safe, fun environment.  Project Pumpkin is designed and led by Wake students, who organize a theme, brainstorm and staff carnival games, face painting, and more.

This is a great day on campus.  It gives our students a reason to dress up and be silly for an afternoon, and it also gives them contact with younger kids (and for those who have much younger brothers or sisters at home that they dearly miss, this is a way to have some kid time!)  Most importantly, it lets our students do for others in the spirit of our motto Pro Humanitate (for humanity).  Don’t we all feel good when we know we are making a little kid happy?

Particularly for freshmen parents, encourage your student to look for sign ups for Project Pumpkin after the semester begins.  Our new students can meet a lot of other upperclass Deacs that way.

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More Good Things

We’re continuing our preview series of Things to Look Forward to in 2014-15.  And today we are all about Hit the Bricks.

Hit the Bricks is a wonderful campus tradition that combines philanthropy and service with genteel intercampus rivalry, music, fun, and teamwork.  Students form teams and run (or walk) laps on the Quad all day in hopes of winning bragging rights on the giant leaderboard.  Their entry fees and any additional donations go to fund the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund, which was named in honor of Wake Forest football great Brian Piccolo (of Brian’s Song fame).

If you are the parent of a freshman, start telling your Deacs now that they need to be looking for sign ups for Hit the Bricks after the semester starts.  Get a group from their hall or student organization they join and be part of the running teams!  And if not, make sure they come to the Quad and watch for a while.  It is a combination of sweat, pride, sofas dragged out of lounges for good views, music, and more.  Faculty and staff do Hit the Bricks too, and one team in particular can hang very well with these young 18-22 year old legs.

Read our Daily Deac preview of last year’s Hit the Bricks.

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Things to Look Forward to in 2014-15

The crack team at the Daily Deac is taking a few days off, and so for the next week or so we won’t be covering the day-to-day as it happens, but rather giving you a preview of things to come for the fall semester.  Both in the vein of campus activities and traditions, and in some of the everyday moments that make this such a great campus.

Hope you enjoy.

2012-move-in-football-group-shot 2012-move-in-cars 20120824move-in3015 move-n-family 20110826move-in6953 20110826move-in6638Move-In Day for the freshmen – one of the sweatiest yet most fun days of the year.  1,200ish new Deacs and parents all arriving together and beginning a shared experience.

There is tons of help to move things into your room – you’ll pull your car up to the grass in front of the residence hall and tons of helpers unload and move your things up to your room so the next car can do the same.

Then it’s a whirlwind of picking up keys and laptops and ID cards, meeting the roommate and hallmates and RAs.  Big, long day.  Fun day.  I met my very best Wake friends on Day 1.  So might you.