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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!






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.


Today marks the 1,000th entry in the Daily Deac blog.  It has been a blessing to be able to write this blog every day, and I am grateful to everyone who reads it.  I cherish your emails and your feedback and am thrilled whenever I meet one of you on campus or in my travels.

1,000 seems like a momentous thing.  A milestone.  And I struggled to think of what might be worthy of a 1,000th post.

And in the end, the answer was really simple.

It has to be Ed Wilson (’43), our Provost Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of English.

If Wake Forest was Hogwarts of Harry Potter fame, Ed Wilson would be Dumbledore, the venerable, loveable, wise man who helped shape the face of the institution for good.  If Wake Forest had an equivalent to the Hogwartian Order of the Phoenix, Ed would be at the top of it – defender and preserver of the founding ideals that gave shape to what is best about Wake Forest.

When I was an impressionable senior, in 1992, Ed Wilson gave the Founder’s Day Convocation speech in Wait Chapel.  Like many students, I hadn’t gone to many convocations.  But as spring of my senior year rolled in and I was fretting about graduation and having to leave Mother So Dear, I began to try to pack in every moment of Wake Forestness I could.

So I went to convocation, and Ed gave an amazing speech.  All of his speeches are amazing, mind you, but this one spoke to me especially.  He talked about the history of Wake Forest, and some of its founders, and what makes us unique among institutions of higher education.  And he ends on a beautiful, beautiful quote from a favorite book from many of our childhoods.

There are so many nuggets of goodness in this speech.  And as I listen to it at my desk now, 22 years later, the Wake Forest he talks about is still the Wake Forest I see every day.   “A marriage of goodness and intelligence,” he said.

You can listen to his speech online.  And I hope you do.

betsy and edMany thanks to Ed Wilson for being the best voice of Wake Forest in my generation, and so many others.   And again, thanks to all of you for reading the Daily Deac and allowing me to keep doing one of the very happiest parts of my job every day!




So This Is Happening

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

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

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

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

Phili Roundup and a Big Bag of Rice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Some Interesting Stats

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

33 receptions total

438 of the incoming freshmen families registered to attend a reception

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell Us What You Think, Deac Families

Family Weekend registration went live on the 15th of the month.  So people are starting to think about the fall and this signature event from Student Union.

One of the frequent questions we get in the Parent Programs office is: ‘where should we take our students to eat during Family Weekend?’  There is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question.  A lot depends on your taste, what kind of cuisine you are looking for, what sort of price limits you are considering.

And rather than have us answer from the Parent Programs office, we’d love to hear from you!  What are your recommendations for a good restaurant for a Family Weekend dinner, or for any other time you’re in town.

Email us at and we’ll compile the results here.

Another Archival Moment

Last night was the New Student Reception in Kentfield, CA (north of San Francisco), and I look forward to returning to the East coast soon.  These New Student Receptions have been a blast for me and all my staff colleagues who attend.  It’s a wonderful way to meet eager new Deacs and Deac family members and help build community before the school year begins.  Hopefully at these events, we convey the sense of fun that people have at Wake Forest!

And so today’s Daily Deac is some of the best of the “fun” pictures from our very talented University Photographer, Ken Bennett.  We know your students are going to be studying hard and will be diligent in their classes, but they do have a lot of fun as well.  20091027pumpkin8411 20130520commencement1901 20090822amanda6483 20101019dance9763 20110407discgolf9956 journey sept 5 girls in room cropped 20110829pros_v_joes8708 20110829pros_v_joes8551 rake forest shag 3 20090423students2477 20090423students4524 20110827taste8166

20080826library9428 20081028pumpkin4287 20090130students0584 20090319aarf6385 20090421carnival1177

Creative Solutions

This morning I was privileged to go to the graduation ceremony of the LENS program we have talked about on the Daily Deac this week.  This program brought high school students to campus to work in groups and partner with local agencies on finding creative solutions and opportunities to help the partner agencies do better work in our community.

The partner agencies all had to do with topics like sustainability, the environment, and food resources.  I learned some troubling things at the presentations, especially about local food issues.  Winston-Salem has a higher child poverty and child hunger rate than the norm, and we also have “food deserts” – areas of our city where there is not ample local grocery stores/access to good, healthy food, which encourages residents to choose less healthy options like fast food.

One of the partner agencies these students paired up with is our own Campus Kitchen, which takes food that has been cooked but not eaten in our own dining venues, and prepares meals for local families who need them.

A friend of mine on Facebook was talking about doing a shift with Campus Kitchen this week, and I didn’t realize they had such a robust system to sign in volunteers.  It can be accessed here.  I have signed up for my own first shift as a volunteer and am really looking forward to it.  There are lots of ways your students could plug in to Campus Kitchen once they are back on campus – you don’t have to love to cook, either.  There are sorting and delivering options too.

So many of our students (and faculty and staff) want to do something in honor of our Pro Humanitate motto and help the community.  Campus Kitchen is a well-0iled machine, and if your students are looking for ways to give back, meet great people, and serve, this is a terrific service program.

The News Service did a nice special on LENS on the WFU website.   Enjoy it.


#MyTopCollege and #SYTYCD

Today we have some audience participation opportunities for all of you who are on social media.  The first one is that Forbes Magazine is running a #MyTopCollege contest.  Here’s what they say about it:

Show Your School Spirit - Every year FORBES ranks America’s Top Colleges based on graduation rate, student satisfaction, post-graduate success and student debt. This year, we want to hear from you. We are asking students and alumni across the country to tell us all about what makes their college special in our #MyTopCollege social media campaign. Watch which campuses have the most school spirit as we fill in this interactive map and get ready to publish our annual Top Colleges ranking on July 30. Everyone who submits their own college fun fact or unique tradition has a chance to appear here and in FORBES magazine. Use #mytopcollege on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.”

So if you have a Twitter account, you can help us by tweeting about Wake Forest and why we are your (or your student’s!) top college.  Make sure to use the following hashtags in your tweets:  #WFU and #MyTopCollege.  For example, this was our entry from the WFUParents Twitter account.tweet photo

If you are on Facebook or Instagram, you want to use the following hashtags: #wfu #MyTopCollege #WakeForest #GoDeacs as you add your favorite MyTopCollege thoughts.  Please do participate if you can, because we want to see Wake Forest at the top of the list!

The second area where you can have an impact on Wake Forest is by helping our young alumna Emily James ’14, who is in the Top 20 of the Fox TV show So You Think You Can Dance.   You can see clips of Emily on the SYTYCD website.   And you also have the opportunity to vote for her each week (see the “vote” option on the page; voting only happens once a week).  We would LOVE to have a Deac Dancer win this – so share the show’s link with your family and friends (and your student!) and help keep Emily’s dream alive:

Finally, as a follow up from yesterday. for those of you that enjoyed our brief coverage of the LENS program yesterday, there is a larger story on the Wake Forest News site today.