Wake Forest University will be celebrating its 184th birthday next week, after it was founded in Wake Forest, NC on Feb. 3, 1834. This birthday also marks the milestone 180 years since Wake Forest College was renamed and 40 years since then-President Jimmy Carter made his National Security Address in Wait Chapel.
To celebrate, the Campus Traditions committee of Student Union is hosting a Birthday Bash celebration in Benson, and will be having Birthday Bash-themed trivia night at Shorty’s in partnership with the Traditions Council. This will be the second Annual Birthday Bash, after junior Allegra Brochin organized the first Birthday Bash event last February.
“I am so happy and proud of Allegra for starting what I am sure will be a tried-and-true Wake Tradition,” said sophomore Caleb Woody. “I am hopeful that students will continue to come out and support the event in the hopes of expanding its size, moving it to different venues around campus, and integrating other campus organizations and offices into its planning.”
Brochin has since become the Vice President of Marketing for Student Union, but still played a part in helping the Campus Traditions committee to plan the event this year.
“I am particularly excited to see where Caleb (Woody), who is now the Director of Deacon Pride for Student Union, will take the event this year,” Brochin said. “He is one of the most passionate students I have met during my 3 years on campus, and his love for Wake Forest clearly shows throughout his work with Birthday Bash and his extensive involvement on campus.”
Student Union has now included the Birthday Bash in their constitution, meaning that it’s something they plan to continue moving forward.
“I am so glad that we on Student Union Exec have included Birthday Bash in our Constitution as one of the events that we must plan from now on,” Brochin said.
Students involved in planning the event have voiced that the Birthday Bash’s newer status as a campus tradition makes it more difficult to plan, since it does not have the same precedents set as those events such as Shag on the Mag.
“Since this is one of Wake’s newer events and we hope to establish it as a campus tradition, knowing how to slowly build up the event can be a difficult task,” said junior Rylie Frayman, a member of the Campus Traditions committee.
However, this has also given students more freedom to set their own precedents for future Birthday Bashes.
“This one has been particularly fun to plan because it is so new so we have a lot of creative liberty with how we choose to run the event,” said junior Tori Taylor, who sits on the committee with Frayman.
“One of the great things about planning an event like Birthday Bash is that the sky’s the limit. There is so much you can do with it, in that there are so many opportunities to change or improve the event over the years as needed, so we can truly adapt it to the campus climate and give the students what they want to experience,” Brochin said. “It’s the perfect mix of tradition and innovation, which is the best of both worlds in the event-planning field!”
Students who attend will be able to compete in a cake decorating contest, participate in a scavenger hunt, listen to an a cappella performance and take photos in a photobooth. The committee has been aiming to make this year’s event more interactive than last year’s.
Even before the Birthday Bash idea was launched last year, however, the university usually acknowledged its Feb. 3 birthday in some capacity, most frequently through themed trivia by the Traditions Council and through serving a birthday cake in the Pit.
This year’s trivia categories will include Traditions, Sports, People and Old Campus.
“As Wake Forest gets older (and better) every year, we seek to teach/remind students and alumni of the rich history and where we came from,” said senior Ben Weekley, who is a co-chair on the Traditions Council.
“This is accomplished by talking about the founding of the Wake Forest Institute of Manual Labor on February 3rd, 1834, the school’s growth, its closing for four years during the Civil War, the beginning of sports on campus, the start of the Old Gold & Black, fraternity and sorority life beginning, women first being admitted and of course the big move. We also focus a bit on the history since we’ve been here. We hope all students will celebrate the founding of this amazing University and will grow to appreciate her history and uniqueness even more.
The Birthday Bash comes at a difficult time for the campus community, as many students and faculty are still reeling from the events that transpired last weekend.
“It is my hope that this event will be a part of the process of coming together after the recent events on campus and hopefully give everyone a change to enjoy a small part of their day while never losing sight of what changes/response should follow these events,” Taylor said.
“Due to the recent tensions on campus, it is our hope that this event can help lighten the mood and bring the community together to celebrate the University we all love so much,” Frayman said. “It is important to join together, and we hope to see many familiar faces stop by.”