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Snow Photos and Senior Oration by Gracie Harrington ’15

As you no doubt heard from your students, we got snow last Wednesday evening.  On Thursday morning, our intrepid and award-winning photographer, Ken Bennett, ventured out in the snow to take some pictures of campus.  They are in a terrific web site, Snow in the Forest, which I recommend to you highly.  Ken caught what appears to be some epic snowball fights, some very large snowmen, college students romping and playing with the glee of schoolchildren, and pictures of iconic buildings and places on campus.  It’s a beauty.  Enjoy.

Speaking of enjoying things, I hope you have been enjoying the Senior Orations as much as I have.  Today we hear from Senior Gracie Harrington “15, with The Closet.

– by Betsy Chapman

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When I entered Wake Forest at the age of 17, I in all honesty did not know what to expect. As a senior in college, I decided to apply to Wake Forest because it fit every aspect I was looking for in a college: Wake Forest had small class sizes and a rigorous education, while still holding a traditional “university feel.” During freshman orientation I looked across the sea of students in Wait Chapel while the President of the University spoke, and to my eyes nearly every face looked identical. While I was dressed in old jeans and a t-shirt, designer brands of J Crew, Southern Tide, and Louis Vuitton sprinkled across the audience. Between speakers, I happily introduced myself to those sitting around me, yet received unenthusiastic replies back. This was the start of a new chapter in my life, and I already did not feel part of my class.

Immediately, a deep fear of being excluded was instilled within me. I made a point to study what the girls around me were wearing, and to purchase similar apparel. I realized that both religion and greek life were popular on campus, so I consistently attended fellowship meetings, fraternity parties, and gossiped with girls about which sorority we wanted to join during rush. Within a few months, I felt satisfied that I had properly conformed to the Wake Forest culture.

However, when I went home for holiday breaks, I was reminded of the many parts of me which I was not showing at school. I loved to sing and write music, but I had not been playing the guitar or performing at college. In high school I had been passionate about civil rights, but at university I did not allow myself to be too opinionated on the topics. I even limited myself in the ways of love, for at college I was not out of the closet.

Since the 8th grade I had been questioning my orientation, and since the 8th grade I had been virtually silent about my interest in both men and women. Looking back on my experiences, I see that by not admitting my sexual orientation to myself I was lying to myself, and by lying to myself I was not supporting myself. In a world of high standards and scrutiny, it is easy to be so focused on pleasing those around us, that we forget to accept ourselves.

As the weeks of freshmen year went on, the Gracie I knew in high school wore away. I felt exhausted as I spent energy day in and day out pleasing those around me. Depression grew on me, until I was at a point so low and cared about my own happiness so little, that it became evident to myself that something in my life had to change. Yes, I had finally fit in, but I was disappearing into the crowd. I wanted to be a face people knew and I wanted to make a positive impact on those around me. In order to make a difference, my full self had to come to Wake Forest. For starters, I had to come out.

As I began to process the idea of coming out as bisexual during my sophomore year of college, I started by searching deep inside myself: what was stopping me? What were my fears? I listed in my head the different people I could put off, disappoint, or anger by coming out: my extended family, my friends, the administration, etc.. I felt as though I had everything to lose by coming out, but hiding my identity as a bisexual woman was definitely not working.

I began to prepare. I chose my location: a Shorty’s Open Mic Night. At Shorty’s I could not only come out in an open forum to a group of people for whom I cared and respected, but I could as well perform a song I had written. The song, titled “With a Wife,” was written about my fears in coming out, because many parts of the law and culture did not approve of two women being married. “With a Wife” contained the following lines in its chorus: “Strength is the key to my dreams/ I learned love ain’t as sinful as it seemed./ I’m young but please hear me out/ Love is what this world’s about./ I dreamed of the fairy tale life,/ but why can’t I have it with a wife?”

I marked my calendar; the night would be April 20th. I began inviting nearly everyone I knew: sisters in my sorority, friends from classes, professors, and President Nathan O. Hatch, someone I hardly knew at the time but had always admired.

The days grew closer to April 20th. Knots filled my stomach. I looked around, and wondered what in my life would change after I came out. Would the people with whom I had lunch still eat with me? Would my friends still be in my life? Would my world turn upside down?

The night of April 20th arrived. I went up on stage and looked into the crowd. I could feel my voice quivering as I said the following words: “I am up here today, because I need to tell you something that has been on my mind for years.” As the words came out of my mouth, I was surprised, because in the process of coming out I had only thought about my fears. I had been worried, I had been scared, but what about the countless other people at Wake Forest who were living in a closet? Perhaps by coming out, I could encourage them to do the same. “I am up here, because we need a change in this nation, a change in this state, a change in this community, and a change at Wake Forest” I exclaimed. I played my song “With a Wife,” and was shocked by the most miraculous moment thus far I have experienced in my short life: eyes of tears filled the audience, and these tears were not out of sadness, but joy.

Over the following months, people surprised me. When I came out in my sorority chapter, I received a standing ovation. Professors and students emailed me with words of support and acceptance. Even President Hatch sent me an email, thanking me for sharing my experience to the Wake Forest community. In essence, I felt supported by the majority of the Wake Forest community.

Before I came out, I thought I was a Wake Forest student for superficial reasons. What I later learned was that by doing an act for which I thought would make me an outcast, I had become more of a Demon Deacon than I had ever been before. By giving myself the opportunity to be who I was, I was given the opportunity to give back to my school through positions including a President’s Aide, a Resident Advisor, and the President of the Gay-Straight Student Alliance. I began to view Wake Forest not through its stereotypes, but through the pillars for which it was founded. I began to understand the meaning of “Pro Humanitate.”

We all live in closets. Not everyone is LGBTQ, but everyone holds something about them they are scared for others to see. I challenge you to break down the door of your closet, and show Wake Forest and the world who you really are. Let our closets hold clothes, not us.

 

 

Senior Oration: Elizabeth Carlson ’15

The Daily Deac is continuing to feature the finalists for Senior Orations.  Today we will see Am I Enough? An Addendum to Wake Forest’s Motto by Elizabeth Carlson ’15

But before we get there, you’ll note that today is a snow day here on campus.  That announcement has a link to Campusdish, which gives food service hours of operation (fear not, there is food to be had here!)

graham daily deacAlso, I received this lovely photo from a sophomore, Graham (’17).  He took the photo last night and thought that parents might like to see it.  This is an exceptionally pretty photo, and my thanks to Graham for letting me share it.

– by Betsy Chapman

 

And now, here is our Senior Oration from Elizabeth Carlson.

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There are several times in a young person’s life when one simple question plagues her identity: Am I enough? Am I smart enough? Involved enough? Do I participate in enough community service? Am I enough? Be it applying to college or a full-time job, these transitional stepping stones call into question our essential being. Having now passed through these pivotal moments and with the finish line of Commencement in sight, I can tell you one key difference between standing here today in this moment and standing here exactly four years ago: I now know I am not enough.

Walking into Wait Chapel for the new student Convocation with hoards of other frightened freshmen, I was convinced that in order to be successful I needed to be a one-woman show. I had to play the leading heroine, supporting friend, and comic relief all at the same time. And so, despite a varied class schedule, robust extracurricular involvement and healthy social life, a constant sense of inadequacy hovered around me because I wasn’t single-handedly “everything,” whatever this theoretical “everything” might be.

Amid this quest to be it all, I applied to CHARGE: Wake’s Emerging Leaders. Led by the formidable Mike Ford, the leadership development program began with a weekend retreat in the mountains. Nestled around a crackling campfire on a brisk January day, we discussed our results from the Strengths Finder assessment, a survey pinpointing the 34 most common human talents. I am an achiever, learner, arranger and maximizer. In other words, I’m a detail-oriented perfectionist who likes the process of learning more than the end result but still has to get things done. Mike began by sharing the inventory of our group’s strengths. With a chart composed of each of the 34 talents across the top and each group member’s name down the side, we individually checked off our top 5. I watched the grid slowly fill in until our group had every talent represented.

It dawned on me then with my friend the “relator” beside me and the “includer” across from me that I would never possess all 34 talents. I began to wonder if I really needed to; while my strengths fortified the team, my weaknesses were compensated for by the very same people. This simple act of filling in a grid showed me that while I may contribute a fundamental piece to this greater puzzle, it is still just one piece. A group made solely of maximizers and achievers like me may get a lot of things done, but without the “developers” how would we arrive at an idea to begin with? Without the sociable “Woo-ers” how could we market what we produce? The idea of “I” has become so engrained in our daily vernacular that the concept of “we” has been left by the wayside. By isolating ourselves, we miss the rowdy debates, impassioned defenses and gracious compromises that form the heart of remarkable ideas. While once I believed that asking for help meant admitting failure, now I realized that failing to ask for that guidance was a far greater injustice to the group itself.

My time as a CHARGE mentor over the following two years continued to reconstruct my long-held notion of success. One such moment came during the annual Play-Dough Challenge. Group members were instructed to re-create the Quad in Play-Dough. The tables turned, however, as mentors took away the power of speech from the chatty participants, use of the dominant hand from the proactive, and sight from the observers. Forced to counteract their weaknesses with the remaining strengths of others, I watched as reserved members talked the blind through the making of Reynolda’s stairs. I saw an overzealous right-handed person without use of that hand hold a piece while someone else molded the chapel. In this moment, I was struck by the potency of each member’s recognition that alone, they could never be enough. When their efforts combined, however, a fully-functioning emerged. It was this very cohesion that then successfully addressed the demands of an ever-expanding campus as students struggle with how to efficiently and effectively take breaks. The concept of a nap room in the ZSR was born to offer a quiet refuge closer to studies. When we first discussed the ZieSta Room, none of us could imagine the overwhelmingly positive – or even national – reception it would later receive. Today I happily invite you to witness the power of “we” as you hunker down in a cozy recliner on the mezzanine of the 24-hour room.

It wasn’t until this year as director of CHARGE, that I fully grasped the importance of our being enough, together. As student directors, we interview potential mentors and participants. Throughout this process, I realized I was not simply evaluating each applicant on individual strengths, but also on what he or she would contribute to our emerging group dynamic. Lessons I had observed as a participant and mentor culminated as I understood the fact that this humanity we work for is not an idle body staring back at us, but a dynamic group working right beside us. Leadership is not an independent task, but rather an intrinsic interaction that functions best when fully collaborative.

So no, I am not enough. You are not enough. And as such, a university made entirely of “me’s” or “you’s” is not enough either. But we, we are enough. A university built of me and you and us, that is enough. Earlier this year, as I sat in Wait Chapel listening to a heated town hall discussion, I felt the familiar sense of inadequacy creeping in. I didn’t have answers for the troubling questions of racial tension or religious intolerance being debated, but a sense of urgency to find those answers overwhelmed me. Then I realized that pesky little first person pronoun had crept back into my vocabulary. The problems facing our community won’t be resolved by me or by any single person. But together, our cumulative strengths can tackle these very challenges. For in these four years I’ve realized that a successful life is one lived not solely for humanity but also with humanity. Not just Pro Humanitate, but also Cum Humanitate.

 

Senior Oration: Conor Stark ’15 and MamaDear

The Daily Deac continues to showcase the finalists for Senior Orations.  And with whispers of possible more snow to come this afternoon or tomorrow, we’re preposting Thursday’s Daily Deac just in case.

mamadearThere is a basketball game scheduled for tonight (WFU vs UVA at 7 pm here at the Joel).  A colleague in Athletics let us know that alumnus Parker Bradway (’11), a former Screamin’ Demon and member of Chi Rho, will be peforming the national anthem at the game Wednesday night with his band, MamaDear, as well as a halftime set.  My colleague wrote: “MamaDear got its name from the last line of our alma mater, thanks to Parker!  Having recently signed with entertainment-giant CAA, they were named the top up-and-coming band at the 2014 CMA Festival in Nashville.  You can find information on them via Facebook and they have songs available on iTunes.  Additionally, Parker and lead singer, Kelly, recently got married!”  They are playing Ziggy’s here in town on Thursday, so your students who like country music can hear more.

And without further ado…today’s Senior Oration is Losing Your Feet, by Conor Stark ’15.

– by Betsy Chapman

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I’ve always been struck by our desire to tell stories. It truly is one of the most peculiar facts about human beings, namely that—for some reason—we feel compelled to understand and be understood by one another. In our best stories, it seems to me that we keep returning to three questions in particular, questions which confront any reflective human beings: namely (1) who am I, (2) why am I here, and (3) how, then, should I live? And so we look stories to provide the context in which these questions can be asked and answered effectively. They tell us how we can understand the world around us and how we might relate to it in a meaningful way, in a way that might make our lives happy and whole. Who better, then, to hear such stories than college seniors, those of us who are about to wrestle with uncertainty, whose business it is to contend with the future? Indeed, we must not deceive ourselves here, we must admit that, although we may be anxious, uncertain perhaps, we, as befits our age, are also full of hope, which may lack a name as of now, but which bears all the marks of passion and resolve. (Pause) While only a foolish person approaches his life without anxiety, only an ornery one does so without hope, without that uniquely human hope that at the end of every story, lies a conclusion and a meaning. But perhaps it would be better to show such stories, as opposed to telling you about them.

One night, a man was seen walking outside of a town near Athens. In the sixth century, the night brought its necessity with it. It was time when meaningful labor ceased, when tired hands put down the plough and reached out for home. But this man’s day was just starting. It was as if the night’s warning was lost on him, as if he saw freedom where others had seen only compulsion. To many, it seemed that man was in the habit of talking to himself. But how differently he understood himself. As a child might wait under his covers, eager for his parents to come and finish yesterday’s story, so too this man waited upon the stars. If they had descended, he would try to speak with them for a while. But no secrets would be shared that night, for in his passion to shine a light onto heaven, the man tripped over his feet into the dark and fell head first into a hole in the ground. Justice had been served—and the night had claimed its due. Thankfully, a young girl came to his aid, and, after lifting him up, scolded him for his folly. The man’s name was Thales, and he was, by most accounts, the first philosopher. As of that moment, he succeeded in establishing what would be a long and glorious tradition of Western philosophy, of posing odd questions to yourself and seeming odd to just about everyone else. Being a philosophy major myself, I must acknowledge the truth in this story: one day, for example, I got so caught up trying to figure out how minds were related to bodies, I neglected the fact that my body was at once, hungry, tired, and several hours late to dinner.

Of course, these stories are comical. The person who forgets that he is on earth, although trying to storm heaven on top of syllogisms, is no doubt ridiculous. However, I’ve come across another story lately, one that is perhaps more tragic than the other comical, a story which has unfortunately become more commonplace and acceptable to us. A certain man was born, raised, and married in the company of good people. As he made his way through life, he made a reasonable amount of money, kept a reasonable number of friends and acquaintances at hand, and maintained a reasonable home life with his family. The man’s life passed quietly in this fashion, and, after he had died, everyone decided, as if by committee, that the man had lived a long and happy life, that others could only be so fortunate to have half of what this man achieved for himself. He was, in the end, a good person, who minded his own business and left his eyes on the ground, on life’s problems and demands. And yet, something happened to the man during his life that was most unfortunate. The man had forgotten or had allowed himself to forget that he had never known himself, had never known whether he was a good or bad person, or had lived the right kind of life. While Thales had neglected the ground beneath his feet, our honorable man had lived his entire life unknown to himself, neglecting a need he had always felt, which had always made him a bit uneasy.

In the Symposium, Plato has someone say that, underneath every passion and every love, lies a desire for happiness and for good things. In his words, “love always wants to possess the good forever, [since] that’s what makes happy people happy.” Indeed at the end of our striving, whether for money, grades, security, friends or family, lies a desire to be happy. And there we can go no further, since if someone were to ask you why you wanted to be happy, you would rightly respond, ‘What do you mean, why do I want to be happy—I just do’.  But it seems we’ve omitted a few things. For don’t we say that courage makes someone happy? What about justice, moderation, or wisdom? Surely we don’t call the person happy, who in cowardice shirks his duty, who, through intemperance, cannot control his actions, who, because of ignorance, stumbles recklessly through life? It seems, on the contrary, that, if we want to be happy, we need virtue. That’s a good thing, too, since, although other people may rob us of our wealth or tarnish our character, the virtues are lost only through negligence. It’s curious, then, that, while the virtues are so essential to our lives and to our happiness, they have been so unceremoniously abandoned.

Recently, we have talked about the differences between races, genders, and classes, and have asked ourselves many questions in favor of those suffering injustice. How can equality be won for this group? How can we give freedom to crowds of disenfranchised people? Valid and difficult questions no doubt, but are there not also questions with a different sort of character? Questions that, as it were, take it upon themselves to search through the crowd, saying nothing to the group, but saying everything to individual, overlooking entirely the issues of gender, class, or race? Indeed, these questions find every man in the protest, every member of the cause, and whisper to him “are you the person you should be, are you living the right kind of life?” In short, they take us aside one by one, in order to examine each of us about virtue and what it means to live a good human life.

Pascal said that mankind’s problems, for the most part, would be solved, if we could all just learn to sit quietly with ourselves, alone in our rooms. While not that drastic, I’ve often wondered what kinds of misunderstandings and injustices we might avoid if, instead, we focused on being understanding and just people, in whom we might see the virtues of wisdom and justice at work. While it is not wise to lose one’s feet or forget the world’s problems, it’s certainly far more foolish to wander through life without stopping to look at oneself properly—to examine whether one’s life is good and happy. For it is this reflection, this refusal to be deceived by oneself, and this love of excellence, which makes, and has always made, a human being a human being.

 

Golden Moments

If you were watching the Oscars last night, you saw the golden moment of Wake Forest’s own Kelly FitzGerald (’17), whose short film was chosen as one of six winners in a Team Oscar contest.  You can see Kelly at the Oscars here, and there is a wonderful story in the Winston-Salem Journal about Kelly, with commentary by our own Mary Dalton, Professor of Communication and Film Studies and Faculty Fellow for Luter Hall.

Speaking of winning moments, Dr. Dalton was recognized at last week’s Founders’ Day Convocation as winner of the Schoonmaker Prize for Community Service.  She was among a number of faculty members recognized for excellence in teaching, service, and more.  Congratulations to all the winners; you can read more about each of them at the link above.

Each year at Founders’ Day, three seniors are selected to deliver an oration that addresses how they have changed during their four years at Wake Forest.

The winners of the 2015 Senior Orations competition were:

I hope you’ll take the time to read these orations and see the talent and depth of thought of our seniors.  We’ll continue to feature the other Senior Oration finalists in the coming weeks.

Finally, there was a senior video shown at Convocation.  Senior parents, grab your hankies.  Freshmen parents, four years goes fast.  Enjoy every minute!

 

– by Betsy Chapman

Senior Oration: Anne Hillgartner ’15

In the coming weeks, the Daily Deac will feature the finalists for Senior Orations.  Three students were chosen to read their Senior Oration during Founders’ Day Convocation.  But all of the top ten orations are worth sharing, and we’ll publish one at a time.

Today’s Senior Oration is Mentorship, by Anne Hillgartner ’15.

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I can remember the best week of my life: it was in September of my sophomore year at Wake Forest.  I was only three weeks into my new internship with the Secrest Artists Series and we were hosting our first event, the Wayne Shorter Jazz Quartet.  One of my responsibilities was transporting the artists to and from the airport, their hotel, and wherever they wanted to go.  This was not a chore, but rather it meant I got to interact with musicians I had admired for years.  At the end of the week full of film screenings, master classes, and performances, I was driving the pianist, Danilo Perez, to the airport at six o’clock in the morning.  Despite the hour and his exhaustion, he was talkative, asking me about what it was like to be a student and helping me study for my Spanish test later that day.  In our conversation, he gave me a piece of advice that I’ve never forgotten.  He said, “Believe in other people and the enthusiasm they have.”  When he got out of the car, I scribbled down some notes on a scrap of paper and this line was one of them.

Now two years later, I realize the importance of having enthusiasm for the work and passion of other people.  My Wake Forest experience has been set apart because my mentors characterize Perez’s advice.  The support I have received from professors, supervisors, and friends has done more than made me knowledgeable, write effectively, and hone my musical skills.  It has left me with a profound sense of gratitude for those who showed excitement for my interests; who took the time to support my academic pursuits; who were essential parts of the web of resources.  Wake Forest’s greatest gift to me has been my mentors. 

So, who are they?

I was lucky to have an internship with the Secrest Artists Series not only because it exposed me to wonderful musicians like Danilo Perez and Wayne Shorter, but also because it introduced me to my first mentor: Lillian Shelton.  She was an example of how to call upon all the resources of the university—the Secrest series was run only by two people: Lillian and me.  Yet what made the Series possible was the support of so many other offices at the university.  For the Wayne Shorter event, we partnered with the biology department, the office of sustainability, campus life, and IPLACe. Lillian always took me to meetings with advisors, artist managers, and administrators even though I was only a student.  She insisted on introducing me to all the people she knew.  The result of her mentoring was that I realized early in my college career the great wealth of individuals that wanted to work together, were happy to provide free thoughts and advice, and wanted to see our work at the Secrest Series prosper because they believed it added value to the Wake Forest community.

Academically, Wake Forest prides itself on the close relationship between students and faculty encouraged by research, office hours, and small class sizes.  I experienced this benefit myself when I decided to write a thesis for my history major.  I wanted a way to combine my interest in history, my passion for music, and my love of Venice (where I studied abroad).  So, I dreamed up an idea to study a little known Venetian composer named Luigi Nono, and ask the question, “how did an upbringing during the revolution of Mussolini’s Fascism affect his life experience?”.  I knew his archives were located in Venice, and that his widow was still alive, so I wanted to return to the city to research and meet with her.  As you can guess, this wasn’t going to be an easy or inexpensive dream.  But, when I walked into Dr. Peter Kairoff’s office to pitch the idea, he just said “done” practically before I had finished my sentence.  Through his resources, he connected me with the composer’s widow for an interview, helped me find funding, and secure a place to stay.  Dr. Kairoff had confidence in me, something that I really needed as I undertook this giant, risky project.  Similarly, my history advisor, Dr. Alan Williams, supported my alternative topic and helped me take the experience and translate it to my best possible thesis.  He was not just concerned with the successful completion of the paper.  He cared about the process—making sure that broader research methods and critical thinking across disciplines were the real things I was learning.

These are just three examples of mentors, but I could name well over fifty individuals that have left an impermeable mark on my college experience.

As an upperclassman, I was confronted with a situation where I was needed for support.  After my junior year, I had to make the decision to quit or continue marching band.  My first two years of band had been exhausting: I had seen Wake Forest lose more times than win.  I had a great family from marching band, but, let’s be honest: it was not always fun to be out in the cold, fingers bare, wind whipping through the stadium, raining, playing a clarinet for five hours, staying all the way to the end of the game, especially at a game that we might lose.  My senior year there would be two new coaches and new band director, and the rebuilding year would present many new challenges.  Nevertheless, I decided to continue in the marching band.  Call me crazy.. My decision was inspired by the example of my mentors who had supported me even if it made their lives a little harder.  Though I hadn’t seen great years in Wake Forest sports, it was more important to me to be a source of support for the teams than to have my Saturday afternoons to myself.  Often times the marching band members are counted on to be an example of enthusiasm for the stadium. I really believe that our presence does not go unnoticed by the players and I think our supporting role is an invaluable contribution to the school spirit of Wake Forest.

As I venture into post-graduate life, I will take with me the inspiration and lessons of mentorship at Wake Forest.  My mentors taught me the value in showing excitement for other people’s ideas, not just my own.  They showed me that great things could happen not only when you are a leader, but also when you are a great supporter of the work of other people.  They taught me to appreciate and use the talents and resources at Wake Forest.  Their selflessness was found not a single act, an afternoon of volunteering, or an evening at the soup kitchen, but in an enduring commitment to their students. Their approach to life valued working together and the strength of ideas when combined rather than standing separate.  My mentors have showed me the validity of Danilo Perez’s advice in the car when I was nineteen: to believe in other people’s enthusiasm.  The greatest lessons of my education could not have been learned through books alone.  These lifelong lessons were the product of the joint effort and collaboration with my Wake Forest mentors. Their example is my continuing source of inspiration.

WFU to host TEDx ‘Hearts & Minds’

Wake Forest students are very entrepreneurial in their thinking and their activities.  A few years ago, they started TEDx events on campus – these are local versions of the TED Talks you might have seen on YouTube.

The organizers of this year’s event wanted parents and families to know about TEDx ‘Hearts and Minds’ for two reasons – 1) to invite you to attend if you are able, and 2) to encourage your students to take advantage of this exceptional lineup of speakers.  Their formal press release is below and it includes information about how to register.

To go back to one of my favorite analogies – Wake Forest is like a wonderful smorgasboard buffet.  The more bites you take of all we have to offer, the richer your experience is.  If your student hasn’t tried TEDx, maybe it’s time to take a spoonful and put it on the plate?

– by Betsy Chapman

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Wake Forest University will host TEDx, an independently organized event licensed by TED, on Feb. 21 from noon to 5 p.m. in Wait Chapel. The student-organized event will feature thought leaders ranging from the CEO and founder of an online therapy site to a best-selling author exploring the intersection of technology and health.

Nine health and wellness speakers will present TEDx talks, including:

Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health

Al Vernacchio, a sexuality educator, former TED presenter and author of “For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens about Sexuality, Values and Health.” 

Jennifer Pharr Davis, long-distance hiker, author and 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

Wake Forest Hall of Famer Hunter Kemper, a four-time member of the USA Olympic triathlon team and the most decorated U.S. triathlete in history.

A complete list of speakers is available on Wake Forest’s TEDx website.

Registration and tickets for TEDxWakeForestU 2015 are available online. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for non-WFU students, and free for Wake Forest University students, faculty and staff. Registration is required to attend.

“The theme ‘Hearts & Minds’ represents innovative thoughts surrounding the health and wellness field,” said senior student organizer Katie Franklin, Director of Publicity. “All of us will be able to relate to issues the speakers will address, and I am so excited that these ideas will be shared with the Piedmont-Triad community.”

The TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.

“The really powerful contribution of TEDx talks is not just each of the talks themselves, but the interplay of ideas between the talks,” said Polly Black, assistant vice president and director of Wake Forest’s Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship. “This enriches the experience exponentially.”

Visit the TEDxWakeForestU 2015: Hearts & Minds website, like the Facebook page and follow @TEDxWakeForestU #TEDxWFU2015.

Happy Black and Gold Friday!

It’s Friday, and as always, I hope you’re making it a Black and Gold Friday wherever you are.  Wear WFU colors and show your school pride!

Correction from yesterday: the Kissing Kanines booth is in the Benson Center 3rd floor. Hope your students get the chance for a big pooch smooch today!

This weekend is the University Theatre production of Waiting for Godot.  Given our recent Five Senses of Scales, there’s no better time than the present to encourage your students to see some high quality theatre.

It was really cold yesterday – and WINDY!  The wind howled much of the day and into the night lastnight.  The wind is supposed to be diminishing today so perhaps it won’t be quite so cold.  Here’s the Deac-end forecast.

love-sunsetFinally, I wish all our Deac families a very happy Valentine’s Day.  May you feel the love of those closest to you.

Don’t forget to send an e-Valentine to your students through our Deacon Greetings.

– by Betsy Chapman

Valentine’s Day Thoughts

This weekend is Valentine’s Day, which can be a really tricky time in college.  Students might be in a relationship, or they might be in some sort of ambiguous place where they don’t want to push too hard to DTR (Define the Relationship) and scare their partner off.  Or they might be happily – or unhappily – single.

So there may be some ambivalence, drama, grumpiness, or excitement about V-day, depending on where your Deac is coming from in his or her personal life.  As with so many other things, I’d urge you to just roll with whatever vibe they are giving off to you.

woof forestThere is one sure way to get some love for Valentine’s Day.  ‘Woof Forest,’ the intrepid group who brings dogs to campus, is sponsoring a Woof Forest Kissing Kanine booth on Friday on Manchester Plaza (aka Mag Quad on South campus) from 1-4 pm on Friday:  “Come to Manchester Plaza to get kisses from lovable pups just in time for Valentine’s Day! All proceeds benefit the Forsyth Humane Society.”  I am not clear on whether you have to pay to kiss a pup or they are just asking for donations.  But puppies are college student catnip, and I suspect it will be a big time draw.

There are many more events this weekend that students can take advantage of if they don’t have Valentine’s Day plans.  Check the Events Calendar for more details.

It goes without saying that it is always a good time for you to tell your kids you love them. But especially on Valentine’s Day!

– by Betsy Chapman

 

Flowers and Ribbons

The Daily Deac blog post that you will see below the dotted line was written a couple of days ago at the request of students who wanted to get some publicity for upcoming efforts.  Occasionally I pre-write posts and schedule them to go live if it is going to be a particularly busy week or if I am out of the office; this was one such week.

But lastnight we received the horribly sad news of the passing of a student, Clayton Bruntjen.  President Hatch’s full message to the community is online, but I want to draw your attention to the following excerpt:

“Each of us is affected by loss in different ways, and there is no right way to grieve.  I encourage you to take care of yourselves and your fellow Deacs during this difficult time.  Wake Forest offers support and counseling services for all students, faculty and staff. Please visit the Counseling Center’s web site for helpful guidance.

On Friday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., professional staff from the University Counseling Center and Chaplain’s Office will be at Benson University Center, Room 410, for anyone who would like to stop by for support.

In addition, the Counseling Center may be reached at 758-5273 and Chaplain’s Office at 758-5210.  For faculty and staff, there is also the Employee Assistance Program at 716-5493.  Please do not hesitate to seek support.”

Please encourage your students to access the resources listed above should they need support as they grieve this loss.  And I hope you will join me in offering your prayers to Clayton’s family and all his friends and loved ones.

———————

It’s the end of another week, and as usual on Fridays, we encourage you to talk to your students (forget why? here you go).

For families of sophomores through seniors, you might recall that last year for Valentine’s Day, students in a Spanish class created a “Flores in the Forest” project, where their class took orders for Valentine’s Day roses and delivered them to your students.  Well, students are once again doing it this year.  So if you want to order a rose for your Deac on Valentine’s Day, here’s how:

Flores in the Forest2“Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and while you can’t package love, you can show it with a rose! Show someone special you care with a delivery from Flores in the Forest, a student run entrepreneurship venture. Let us do the footwork, all you have to do is point and click! wfu-cupid.myshopify.com

So that’s the flowers.  Let’s talk about ribbons.

Without meaning to end the week on a heavy note, next week is Tie a Yellow Ribbon Week and it is worth talking about here.  I received information about Tie a Yellow Ribbon Week from the PREPARE Executive Board; PREPARE is the student-led Policy Group on Rape Education, Prevention and Response.  The emails reads (in part):

TYRW2015“Tie A Yellow Ribbon week is a week of sexual assault awareness and survivor support on our campus. The goal of the week is not only to unite the campus against sexual assault and rape, but also to stand in solidarity with survivors. In preparation for the week, we would like to provide you with information about each day. By sharing this information ahead of time, we hope to inform campus partners of events and also provide a warning as needed to members of our community who may have experienced, or know someone who has experienced, sexual violence.

 

PREPARE’s TIE A YELLOW RIBBON WEEK 2015

All week — Selling t-shirts and giving out resource information and ribbons/buttons/stickers outside the Pit from 11 – 2 pm. We will also be implementing a stamp board, on which students have the option to stamp a ribbon-shaped sponge covered in yellow paint to support survivors and express solidarity in preventing sexual assault on our campus.

Monday 2/9 — Campus decorating (bows, table tents and picket signs). Signs will include statistics as well as messages of support for survivors in our community. We will be decorating the lower Quadupper Quad and Pit.

Tuesday 2/10 — Tuesday Trivia on healthy relationships, in Shorty’s, 8 pm

Wednesday 2/11 — Sing Out with student A Capella groups in Shorty’s, 7 – 9 pm

Thursday, 2/12 — Speak Out in Wait Chapel with keynote speaker Dr. Penny Rue, Vice President of Campus Life, 6 pm

**At the Speak Out, we will read anonymous testimonials of Wake Forest community members who have experienced sexual assault. We are collecting testimonials of those who feel as if sharing his/her story is part of a healing journey. Here is the information for submitting testimonials:

Have you or someone you love been affected by sexual assault? Please consider submitting an anonymous testimonial for the 23rd annual PREPARE Speak-Out to be held on Thursday, February 12th, at 6:00 pm in Wait Chapel. Please submit testimonials to Denisha Champion, University Counseling Center, 118 Reynolda Hall or champida@nullwfu.edu  by Tuesday, February 10th. Testimonials should be 1 – 2 pages, double spaced.”

I hope your students might participate in some of these activities – whether that is to show support for others, to learn more about the issue of sexual assault, or to promote a healthy campus climate for all.

– by Betsy Chapman

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 @ http://wabsantodomingo.tumblr.com/
For more information or to sign up for an interview, contact both  Mary Gerardy at gerardym@nullwfu.edu and myself at defooj12@nullwfu.edu. “
– by Betsy Chapman

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