In Memoriam: Zachary Zhang

Rising junior Bingrui (Zachary) Zhang, who died on June 19, is currently being remembered by the Wake Forest community as a positive and hardworking student. According to a campus-wide email circulated by University President Nathan Hatch, Zhang was found unresponsive in an off-campus apartment after a friend reported him missing. His death marks the third tragic loss that the campus community has faced since April.

Zhang, a biophysics major from Beijing, China, was recently selected to serve as a President’s Aide. The Office of the President noted that he believed in Wake Forest’s motto of Pro Humanitate and hoped to represent the concerns of Chinese students and the international community as a whole during his tenure. “He felt a tremendous responsibility in ensuring that the voices of many different cultures and countries be heard,” the Office of the President stated. “He demonstrated leadership as a Physics 110 lab teaching assistant, a rare accomplishment for an undergraduate, and he was committed to nurturing a love and appreciation of science amongst his fellow Wake Forest students.”

At the time of his death, he was conducting summer research on a URECA fellowship with his research adviser, biophysics professor Dr. Martin Guthold. “He was such a wonderful addition to my lab,” Guthold said. “He was so cheerful and enthusiastic, always with a smile on his face. He was hard-working and helpful to everybody, and he was also very inquisitive and dedicated to his research project.”

Zhang’s project concerned the properties of tiny fibers that might be used in tissue engineering. “He really wanted to understand the project, the relevant atomic force microscopes and optical microscopes, and the medical applications of these nanofibers,” Guthold said. “And he quickly did, often working weekends and nights. I will remember him for wanting to dig deeper, and asking excellent questions in group meeting and at the many one-on-one meetings we had.”

Guthold added that Zhang’s goal was to go to graduate school and that his summer research work had already established him as an extraordinary student. “His most recent data on the mechanical properties of these nanofibers – collected just before he passed away – were such high quality that we are planning to publish them with him as a [posthumous] co-author,” Guthold said. “In the sciences that is the real stamp of approval of outstanding research, and a tribute to his wonderful work.”

Zhang’s friends and fellow biophysics students echoed fond sentiments of his enthusiasm and energy. “Zach, he was a student with bright energy,” said physics graduate student Hyunsu Lee. “He told me about his experiences of traveling in North Korea and showed me the photos and videos he shot there. As I am South Korean, his experience in North Korea was very interesting.” Lee also concurred with Guthold’s prediction that Zhang would have made a large impact on the biophysics field and the world. “The last time I saw him, he was wearing a black T-shirt with an Apple logo and holding a MacBook,” he said. “Perhaps he would have … wanted to be a person who would change the world like Steve Jobs. I won’t be able to forget his enthusiasm and smiles.”

Rising senior Jacquelyn Sharpe, who was also a physics major and conducted research with Zhang, remembered his work ethic and natural faculty for the field. “He was genuinely interested in making a difference in the science community,” she said. “He had a natural aptitude for physics and the technical aspects of the research we were doing. He was very ambitious as well, and his high-reaching aspirations and ambitions encouraged me to work harder in the lab.”

John Diaz-Silveira, an undergraduate student researcher who worked closely with Zhang, described the news of his death as “unreal and heartbreaking.” “I had the pleasure and honor of working closely alongside Zach in lab this past semester,” he said. “Every time we met for research he was always happy and ready to learn. I always admired his genuine cheerfulness and eagerness, and I soon learned that his eagerness was not only for research, but also for getting to know those he worked with in lab. He was an inspirational team member and a good friend.”

The Office of the Chaplain hosted an informal gathering for those who knew Zhang to share stories and memories on June 20. In the wake of Zhang’s death and the other heartbreaking losses the campus has faced in recent months, university communication emphasized the availability of counseling and resources for those who are struggling.

In Memoriam: Maggie O’Sullivan

The Wake Forest community is grieving the loss of Maggie O’Sullivan, a freshman from Kennett Square, PA, who tragically passed away the evening of Friday, April 20, in her room in Johnson.

President Nathan O. Hatch announced her passing to the community via email early in the morning on Saturday, April 21.

“Maggie’s passing is a loss for the entire Wake Forest community,” Hatch wrote. “May her family and friends find comfort and support as they grieve her loss and remember her life.”

Her death is unrelated to alcohol or to any form of self-harm, according to a student-wide email from the Office of Communications and External Relations. According to her official obituary on the Grieco Family Funeral Homes website, Maggie died due to complications from a flu-like virus.

Following her death, on Saturday afternoon the Counseling Center opened for drop-in visits and the Office of the Chaplain hosted a community gathering in Reynolda. President Hatch encouraged that community members seek help if they need and to support one another.

“Each of us is affected by loss in different ways and there is no right way to grieve,” Hatch wrote. “I encourage you to take care of yourselves and your fellow Deacs during this difficult time.”

On Wednesday, April 25, a memorial service was held in Wait Chapel to honor Maggie’s life. Many students, faculty and administrators attended the service. In attendance were also members of Maggie’s family, including her mother, father, brother and aunt.

Hatch opened the service, speaking on the impact that Maggie had on people and on the Wake Forest community.

“Her passing is a profound loss for all who knew her and all who never had the opportunity to meet her,” he said.

Featuring prayers, songs, Psalm readings and personal orations, the memorial service was powerful and moving. All of the speakers focused on Maggie’s personality and contributions to the community and to those she knew.

Maggie was a tremendous advocate for feminism and women’s rights. During her time at Wake Forest, she had been training to become a PREPARE facilitator. In order to do so, Maggie was taking the required 300-level Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies class with Stephanie Trilling, professor and assistant director of the Safe Office, who also spoke at the service.

A friend of Maggie’s, upon ending her speech at the service, said “Rest in Power” instead of the typical “Rest in Peace,” as a nod to Maggie’s belief in feminism.

Further, Maggie had completed the formal recruitment process at the beginning of the semester and became a new member of the Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) sorority.

“Maggie truly was a ray of sunshine,” said Wake Forest’s ADPi President and junior Elena Cage. “She brought happiness and positivity to everyone she knew. She embodied everything ADPi values, and then some. She inspired our members with her passion for feminism and taught us what it means to be powerful, strong women. Maggie is one of the best sisters our chapter has ever had and will ever have.”

The sisters of ADPi have started a fundraiser on Facebook in Maggie’s memory for the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem, Inc. The sorority regularly partners with Ronald McDonald House for their philanthropy. In asking for donations and support, the description for the fundraiser addresses the community aspect that encompasses a sorority.

“Help show the strength of this sisterhood, and that it is not just four years, but truly for a lifetime,” reads the description.

Those who wish to donate to Ronald McDonald House in Maggie’s memory can visit the fundraiser page  on Facebook titled “In Memory of Maggie O’Sullivan — ADPi Alumnae for RMHC — Winston-Salem.” As of 11:30 p.m. on April 25, $3,295 have been raised between 119 donors, surpassing the $500 goal.

In addition, in lieu of flowers, Maggie’s family is asking people to contribute a donation to Kennett Friends of Music. These funds will go towards creating an annual award for a graduating senior at Kennett High School, where she graduated from.

This accolade will be named the Maggie O’Sullivan Ray of Light Award and will be given to a student who exemplified the same qualities as Maggie: love of life, friendship and ability to support others.

For those who wish to donate, checks can be made payable to Friends of Music and mailed to Kennett High School at 100 E. South Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348. Questions can be directed to Kristi Skross Morgan at kdskross@gmail.com.

Visitation with Maggie’s family and friends will take place from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 29 at the Kuzo & Grieco Funeral Home, located at 250 W. State Street in Kennett Square, PA. Her mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, April 30 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, located at 212 Meredith Street in Kennett Square, PA.

Additionally, her parents will host a celebration of Maggie’s life on Friday, June 15 at 4:00 p.m. in their home in Kennett Square. According to her online obituary, “If Maggie touched your life, you are welcome to join. Your stories are welcomed and encouraged.”

At the memorial service on Wake Forest’s campus, Maggie’s close friend, freshman Jacks Kernohan, spoke on behalf of their friend group, opting to share memories that represented who Maggie was as a person instead of just describing her.

Kernohan discussed how Maggie’s roommate, freshman Corbett Foster, grew from a person who loves their personal space to constantly craving Maggie’s presence in their room in Johnson.

Kernohan also described a specific memory she shared with Maggie, in which the two were walking back to Johnson together. Maggie had been telling Kernohan how she loved holding hands with her friends back home and she immediately grabbed Kernohan’s hand, holding it all the way back to Johnson.

“Maggie wasn’t afraid to put herself out there,” Kernohan said. “She was an endless source of comfort and she made sure you knew how much you meant to her.”

Last to speak was Maggie’s aunt, Jane O’Sullivan, a Wake Forest alumnus of the class of 1989.

Her aunt had been thrilled that her niece was coming to her alma mater. When she first heard the news, O’Sullivan had wished it had been at another university. As she further reflected, recognizing that it would’ve happened at any other university, she was glad it was in a supportive community such as that of Wake Forest.

“I will always have a Maggie-shaped hole in my heart and I know that Wake Forest has an equally large Maggie-shaped hole in its heart,” she said. “We can never fill it, but we must try.”

Dining Hall Initiatives Reduce Food Waste

A variety of initiatives have been implemented on the Wake Forest campus to reduce food waste from the dining halls and give back to the local community.

These plans are twofold but share the goal of reducing the amount of food ending up in landfills. First, partnering with Campus Kitchen gives back to the Winston-Salem community and second, partnering with Gallins Family Farms to compost gives back to the Earth.

“Inside of the Wake Forest bubble, I think it is very easy to forget that Winston-Salem is ranked 16th nationally for a number of families with children reporting food insecurity, said Morgan Briggs, procurement chair of Campus Kitchen. “Within one mile of our campus there are families who do not know where their next meal is coming from.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Winston-Salem is a food desert, meaning that areas in the city are too far from grocery stores for residents to have adequate access to healthy food. Forsyth County is home to 62,590 people who are food insecure, which includes 25 percent of the county’s children.

The solution to food insecurity is not necessarily producing more food. The agriculture industry is one of the biggest producers of carbon emissions globally, contributing about nine percent of emissions. Excessive emissions are rapidly thinning the Earth’s ozone, contributing to climate change.

Although people are hungry, over one third of all food produced is never eaten. According to the Office of Sustainability, it is estimated that if more people adopt a plant-based diet, compost organic matter and reduce food waste by 50 percent, carbon emissions could be reduced by 70.53 gigatons by 2050.

The sustainable partnerships Wake Forest has cultivated require daily commitments and action over time to be effective.

Wake Forest’s dining halls are an integral part of the Wake Forest experience. The Pit, specifically, with its long tables, offers space for large groups of friends to gather between classes. The variety of buffet-style stations offer the opportunity to try new dishes and gather multiple plates of food. Students often lounge in the booths doing work, surrounded by numerous cups and plates as they attempt to multitask.

“I always incorporate the options from different stations into one meal: I’ll make a salad from the salad bar, add a fried egg from the egg line, and top it with vegetables from the vegan station,” said sophomore Sarah Elia.

The North Campus Dining Hall was built with food waste reduction in mind. A composter in the kitchen grinds all scraps and leftovers and then shoots them out a pipe to be bagged for Gallins. The Pit, however, is not equipped with the same machinery, so one of the most important steps in the process is screening the compost piles for contaminants.

“You wouldn’t believe some of the things we find in the piles,” said Pete Gallins, the owner and operator of the farm. “A huge part of the education process is getting people to understand what is and isn’t compostable.”

This composting program began in 2013. Since then, almost 400 tons of compost have been collected for Gallins in the dining halls. The finished fertilizer bagged and is sold to local farms and gardeners.

The Office of Sustainability is working to educate students more about compost and food waste reduction practices.

“Whatever a student leaves on their plate in the North Dining Hall, as long as it doesn’t have contaminants in it, can be sent out through a process to the compost bin,” said John Wise, associate vice president of hospitality and auxiliary services. “In the Pit, pre-consumer waste is composted in the same way, but where we need help from students is to minimize plate waste, because we don’t have a system in place to handle post-consumer waste yet.”

When students are mindful about how much food goes on a plate, they contribute to the prepared food that is redistributed by Campus Kitchen.

“Food is prepared in batches, but if it doesn’t go out to the line, it gets sourced to Campus Kitchen, and then to community food needs,” Wise said.

Between 2006 and 2016, Campus Kitchen redistributed almost 400,000 pounds of produce and prepared food to the community. About 35 people are fed daily through cooking shifts now, and 20 to 25 more get food through redistribution.

“[Through Campus Kitchen,] I have gained a greater understanding of the challenges faced by a community stricken by hunger,” Briggs said. “I have developed empathy for those who do not know where their next meal is coming from.”

Appreciating the Value of Open Conversation

A privilege that comes with a position on the Editorial Board of the Old Gold & Black is the opportunity to meet with and question President Hatch roughly once a month. President Hatch is a great sport in these engagements, and while we work to keep the meetings lighthearted, inevitably some difficult questions are asked. Though I may not always agree with what the president says, he always seems to respond to our board with a commendable degree of candor and tact. 

In our first meeting of the semester, President Hatch told us that a theme this academic year, especially for the class of 2021, has been “rethinking community.” Our little community has certainly faced what seems to be an unusually high number of challenges this semester — from a campus shooting and a racist video recording at the beginning, to complaints about perceived failures of the bias reporting system that resulted in a student being interviewed on Fox News in the middle, to a blog post-turned-mass email that told students that they were “not safe here” and the unexpected death of a first-year student in her dorm room. Surely, many students have rethought our community these past few months, albeit probably not in a manner which the administration had imagined or hoped for.    

In our most recent meeting with President Hatch, which occurred this past Monday, my colleague, Sports Editor Lizzie Snyder, asked if there is going to be a different theme this coming year, broadly for the campus and specifically for the incoming class of 2022. President Hatch gave a very interesting and timely response to this question. According to him, next year’s theme will be a “call to conversation.” More specifically, he would like to see our campus become more of a “model of conversation in a world that is so deeply polarized.”

When President Hatch made this declaration, I was extremely pleased. The vision he has laid out for our school, one where students’ opinions can be comfortably voiced in a time where it seems there is little public consensus and deep political cleavages, is one that I share.

Generally speaking, I would refer to myself as a free speech absolutist. Though I can think of a few very minor caveats, I am always liable to support the unmitigated dispersion of ideas and open conversation, no matter if those ideas are obviously vile, vulgar or stupid. This love of expression is the reason that I sought the position of Opinion Editor. I cherish the fact that we live in a time and a place where the free exchange of ideas is possible. I think we can attribute much of our nation’s success and continued improvement to the First Amendment, which codifies and protects free speech, an unalienable right. Perhaps the ultimate responsibility of the Opinion Editor at the OGB is to propagate open, diverse conversations. Therefore, it is a position tailored to my guiding principles, and one that I am proud to hold.

President Hatch argued that a key reason he is making free speech central to the coming school year is because we are living in an “age of distrust and polemic.” Certainly, this section has seen its share of crass vitriol this semester that feeds into this narrative, from conservatives writing about oversensitivity and racial bias, liberals writing about the poor journalistic practices of a conservative campus publication and everything in between.

This past semester, even I have penned some articles that, upon reflection, I still fundamentally agree with, but wish were written in a manner less condescending and dismissive of my ideological adversaries. However, despite the occasional virulence of my peers and me, I think that this past semester, the OGB’s opinion section has served as a case study into the value of open dialogue and a blueprint for President Hatch’s vision. As our campus has been shaken by adversity, students have taken pen to paper in order to openly grapple with harsh, difficult realities, and sometimes even with one another. This intellectual back and forth is not only valuable, but in fact necessary if Wake Forest is to consider itself an institution of higher learning committed to free-wheeling conversation and the unfettered dispersion of ideas. 

I applaud our authors, readers and even our nastiest online commenters for engaging with the OGB’s opinion section this past semester. As always, this coming semester I will remain committed to publishing articles on a first come, first serve basis, regardless of my personal opinions, because at the end of the day, my job is not to ideologically tailor the section, but to procure a diverse range of campus opinions. I am extremely proud of the work my colleagues and I have done these past few months, and I am looking forward to working with the rest of the staff to put together a similarly diverse and captivating section in the fall.

Sincerely,

Ethan Bahar

Opinion Editor

School of Business Avoids Promoting Sustainability

Wake Forest prides itself on its Pro Humanitate motto and its commitment to leaving the world better than we found it.

The Office of Sustainability leads campus environmental initiatives, which naturally support this commitment. Departments across the university — from biology to dance — embrace the integration of sustainable education in the classroom. But, one division on campus, the School of Business, has largely opted out.

“The business school has some funding streams and has made very explicit strategic decisions to align itself with a particular political thought,” said Dedee Johnston, Wake Forest’s chief sustainability officer.

Currently, more than 1,700 businesses have pledged their commitment to meet the Paris Agreement goals, joining the movement “We Are Still In,” while the Trump administration remains on the sidelines. With companies increasingly embracing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies, an expectation is developing that business students graduate with and understand the core tenets of sustainability in business practice. Stanford, Michigan, Berkeley, Duke, NYU and other programs across the country are racing to meet this critical demand, incorporating sustainability and social responsibility as distinguishing factors in their respective business curriculum.

While other business programs prioritize environmental practices as essential to business success, the business school has largely opted out of embracing sustainability in its curriculum, instead partnering with the BB&T Center For Capitalism to guide students in ethical business decision making. James Otteson, the Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics for the business school, is also the Executive Director of the BB&T Center.

Without exposure to the tenets of sustainable business strategy, there is concern that students, as future business leaders, may not be in a position to meet the full objectives of Pro Humanitate.

“The private sector is shifting from an entire focus on short-term earnings, to incorporating a necessary focus on short-term earnings with a long-term view,” Johnston said, stating that, for example, companies which rely on natural resources are beginning to realize that climate change is a long-term problem which requires action today.

“We don’t think long-term,” said Wake Forest Professor of Marketing Michelle Steward, explaining that arming students with business professional skills is the more immediate focus. “We’re thinking breaking news. [The environment] is your grandchildren’s problem.”

After consideration following interviews for this reporting, Steward applied for the Magnolia Curriculum Project, and hopes to incorporate sustainability into her marketing curriculum next fall, implementing long-term objectives in her classroom.

Sustainability is a core lens through which to look at organizations, and thus,  it is a relevant, fundamental discipline across business curriculum. Rather than embrace sustainability as a natural feature to emulate the larger university model, the core curriculum instead emphasizes data analytics. Dan Fogel, an expert in global sustainable business strategy and a former Wake Forest School of Business professor and former Associate Dean of the MA Program, left the business school after spending years unsuccessfully advocating to implement sustainability in curriculum.

“The current administration is worse than the previous one,” Fogel said. “They’re autocratic; they don’t listen to faculty. It’s a tough place. It’s so politically charged. If they really believed in the model of the university, at least a portion of the curriculum should be emphasizing social responsibility and environmental sustainability.”

Johnston has two business degrees herself, and is frustrated with the ambiguity, and lack of traction she’s gained through her own attempts to encourage the adoption of sustainable practices in the business school.

“90 percent of the potential employers the university is working with have sustainability goals,” Johnston said, stating that there is no “market demand influence” behind the lack of sustainability in curriculum.

“We need to arm you with the skill sets to do your job: think critically and synthesize facts,” Steward said. “Sustainability efforts are a separate discipline.”

The challenges in implementing sustainability curriculum extend beyond the faculty and administration of the business school. The traditional model of business that the school embodies, the faculty this model attracts, and the subsequent like-minded community it creates, present further obstacles for change.

“I think it’s a responsibility of the business school to be able to present that information,” Fogel said. “I don’t think students really have a full appreciation [of the importance of sustainability]. Students have to be introduced to it.”

The Magnolia Curriculum Project at Wake Forest is a workshop which explores integrating sustainability into curriculum across disciplines, providing faculty with knowledge and the opportunity to understand the urgency and power of incorporating this education in the classroom. Over 50 Wake Forest professors have participated in this initiative; only one of whom is a professor at the business school.

“The Magnolia Curriculum Project is really biased towards the humanities,” Fogel said. “If a business school faculty member were to [join the project], they wouldn’t feel at home.” 

Fogel attempted to address this concern, working with students to write case studies and create curriculum materials specific to disciplines in the business school, such as finance, accounting and marketing. However, his efforts gained little traction, and were ultimately shut down.

“[The Business School] is the perfect place for [integrating sustainability into curriculum],” Fogel said. “[The Magnolia Project] has this humanities focus that could be included within the business school so easily. They just missed the boat.”

Ann Bliss, a Wake Forest Professor of Legal Environment of Business, came to the university hoping to bring her experience in environmental and social justice advocacy into the classroom. Two years later, Bliss is frustrated by the disconnect between preparing students for the business environment and incorporating sustainable strategies.

“If we don’t try to practice some humility around others, we’ll practice arrogance,” Bliss said. “The country needs this right now. We shouldn’t present ourselves as having all the answers.”

“When resources are becoming scarce you have to put on a radical creativity hat and look at how your business has to adapt,” Johnston said. “If you’re not thinking about employee engagement and creating opportunities for employees to lead the way when it comes to innovation, you might as well close your door today, because you’re going to be out of business tomorrow.”

Blake Wynveen, a junior Business and Enterprise Management major and Environmental Studies minor, is frustrated the business school does not offer sustainable business practice education, requiring him to pursue his interests elsewhere.

Wynveen is the second Business and Enterprise Management Major to create his own concentration in Sustainability and Strategic Development, and one of the few Environmental Studies minors in the business school.

Wynveen fears he and his peers won’t be on the cutting edge of environmental and sustainability issues. Meanwhile, Wynveen encourages the student body to become more committed to environmentalism.

“We as a university are very set in traditions,” Wynveen said. “We’re resistant to change. We still roll our quad with toilet paper.”

Deacon Profile: Sebastian Irby

Senior Sebastian Irby will be the first Wake Forest student to graduate with a degree in Sustainability Studies. Irby did so by constructing a unique curriculum for herself through the Interdisciplinary Major program.   

Before she graduates, the Old Gold & Black sat down with Irby to discuss the specifics of her program, her experience with a sustainability curriculum and the  future possibility of an official environmental major.

How did you get into sustainability?

I’ve always been into environmental stuff. Freshman year I approached the Office of Sustainability and started getting involved in their volunteer opportunities, like the Sustainability Ambassadors program. Going into the second semester of freshman year, they offered me an intern position. Working with them, I really got to know the staff at the office. Because Wake Forest doesn’t have an environmental major program, I decided I was going to start making my own, which was convenient because the internship that I had was doing curriculum inventory. I went through basically every class that’s ever been offered at Wake Forest in the last 10 years to identify which classes have this information. From there, I worked with the people I had been working with in the office on transitioning into making it my own major.

Did you feel like there were a lot of classes that included sustainability in their curriculum?

Yes, because sustainability is really broad. Some of the music and dance classes include sustainability because they do about a week or two on more environmental themes, and so you get a lot of things like that. However, there’s definitely not a ton of classes that focus on sustainability, but that’s definitely changing and improving.

Did you know coming into college that you were going to create your own major?

I did not. I was hopeful that — because there was a Master’s program and a lot of swelling support for an environmental major — in the time I was here it would develop on its own. But that was not the case. I think it’s on the time horizon for Wake Forest eventually, but I was hoping that it was going to be on my time horizon. It became pretty obvious that it wasn’t going to be, so I actually applied to transfer to a bunch of schools. At the last minute, I decided I was going to stick it out because Dedee Johnston in the Office of Sustainability had told me about this Interdisciplinary program. Having just done all this curriculum work, I knew all the courses really well.

Can you explain what the process was like creating your own major?

With the Interdisciplinary program, you want to attack it as early as you can because you have to submit your proposal at the same time that everyone else is declaring as a sophomore.

The way that the Interdisciplinary program works is you have to find a degree at another institution that you basically map out and work to match as many Wake Forest classes with those classes so that you can map the curriculum out. Then you have to submit a proposal to the Interdisciplinary Curriculum Committee — one professor from all of the divisionals plus one of the deans. You submit a proposal that has a list of all the classes that you want to take, the degree that you’re basing your plan off of, a personal statement and recommendations from professors. It’s very, very time-consuming. It is very hard and very stressful.

What does Sustainability Studies mean to you?

I get this question all the time; I really should have a better answer for it by now. (Laughs). The primary reason that my major is called that is because I based my major off of a program at Arizona State and their program is called Sustainability Studies.

How my degree is a little bit different than someone who’s strictly Environmental Science or strictly Environmental Studies is, I think that something that’s built into sustainability, there’s lots of systems thinking. Not that there isn’t this in Environmental Science or in Environmental Studies, but I think it’s a lot more in-depth. I have a wider variety of things that I’m dipping my toes into and trying to figure out how they’re all connected. It’s very big picture.

It seems like most of the classes for an environmentally-focused major would be science classes. Are there any classes that people would be surprised to find out that you took for your major?

The science part is interesting because we don’t have any actual Earth science classes, but there’s obviously things you can take in biology, physics and chemistry. I personally chose to have a strong science foundation because climate change is one of my priority issues, so to work in that I felt like I needed a strong foundation. I took the first few years of chemistry, biology and physics. I would say that people after me feel differently. I know one girl who just submitted [a proposal] who is trying to avoid science like the plague; she’s much more into the humanities.

I would say there’s at least one solid class in every department that deals with the environment. In anthropology, there’s Culture and Natures. In the humanities department, there’s Humanity and Nature. There’s a religion and ecology class. In every department, there’s one very obvious class like those. Then there’s also, depending on who you take certain classes with, classes that teach American literature and incorporate more environmental things into their curriculum.

I personally worked with three professors who I knew I was going to have and they let me change what my final project and midterm was going to be. They might assign a topic to the rest of the class and I would take that topic and find a way to tie it into the environment and sustainability. That way in the future, if someone’s like, “you made your own degree, so how is this class you took in global human rights and social justice relevant?” and I would be able to answer, “oh, well here is all the research that I did in that class.”

Looking back on four years, what was your favorite class you’ve taken?

That’s a hard one. I’d say Culture and Nature, which is in the Anthropology department with Dr. Thacker. That’s probably one of the best classes I’ve ever taken.

What was that class about?

It talks about how culture has changed over time and then specifically you look at environmental themes. You go back to the beginning of civilization and how people interacted with the environment at that time and you trace that theme up through today. [Thacker is] a really awesome professor. Before I took that class, someone told me that it would be the best class I ever took at Wake Forest. I took it and was like, “Oh, they were so right.”

Do you feel that there’s a definite need or desire on campus for a concrete environmental or sustainability studies program?

Absolutely. Proposals for that major have been submitted to the administration several times.

Why do you think that is?

I don’t necessarily think that they don’t want it, I just think that they have other priorities. We can’t just hire 20 new professors and start three new majors. I understand that it’s been really slow to get the ball rolling. Definitely in the time I’ve been here, they’ve started to offer more classes, which I think is really positive. I definitely think that there will be a major in the next five years, at least I would hope. I see [that need] in how many people I have worked with and in trying to develop these Interdisciplinary degrees.

I also think that a lot of people don’t realize that that’s something that they might want because they don’t have access to it. I have a friend who is a biology major and got exposed to a lot of the coursework I was working on. She was like, “holy shit, why was I ever a biology major, why didn’t I know about this?” It’s because there’s not a lot to know about this — there’s not a developed major program.

Do you see yourself as a trailblazer almost for the future of this?

Yeah, I do, and it sounds really pretentious to say that. (Laughs).

Someone had to start it.

Exactly! Every spring there’s a Champion of Change award that the Office of Sustainability helps put on and last year I got the student leadership award for helping students with this program. A lot of the people I work with really thank me for how much grunt work I put in being the first person. It makes it a lot easier for people now because, even though it’s still really an extensive list [of classes] they have to look through, they don’t have to sort through that list within something else. There are hundreds of classes you have to look through, but now you can CTRL+F or they’re organized by department. I also think that having someone to help you and talk through it is really useful. No one helped me at all. Dedee, like I mentioned, was my mentor and she did a lot of work with me, but I didn’t have any student contact that had gone through the process before. It’s not a handholding thing. It’s very self-starting, self-motivated.

What are you doing after graduation?

That’s a good question — I don’t know yet. My hope is to be in D.C. doing environmental policy. I would like to be working in either climate change or renewable energy, because those are two things that I really care about. Fingers crossed. I have a lot of applications floating around in the void that I’m waiting to hear back on.

Not just in terms of curriculum, but what are your hopes for a sustainable future for Wake Forest?

(Whispers). Gosh, there’s so many things.

It’s interesting because in working for the sustainability office, you really learn how institutionalized things are. The school has always said, “we’re a slow moving democratic process,” and that is really the most true thing in the whole world. It is so hard to get things changed. It’s not necessarily for a lack of will, although I do think that the enviroment is just not a priority on people’s minds here, but it is just a lot of work. My vision moving forward is for the people who are passionate about this to be louder with their voices. When you don’t necessarily hear a push for these things, you don’t see them happen. At the same time, I would like the school to take initiative on these things on their own without that having to happen, because it’s a two-way street.

Incoming Student Government President Shares Goals

My name is Danny Reeves, a junior political science and international affairs and communications double major from Hershey, PA. This Tuesday, I had the privilege of being sworn in as President of your Student Government. Both Wake Forest and Student Government, have greatly impacted my life as a Wake Forest student. I believe when you love something you must invest in its growth. Our campus is an ever growing and changing community that is experiencing development unlike any other period in our history. This is why now, more than ever, we must push ourselves and our institution to be better.

It is my utmost pleasure to serve in this role and I look forward to pushing myself to better our community.  So first, on behalf of the entire Executive board, Secretary Maia Kennedy, Treasurer Sydney Packard, Speaker of the House Will Hargrove, and Chief of Staff Daniel Oberti — I would like to thank you very much for electing us. Secondly, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight and outline some of our goals for the upcoming year. Unfortunately, most students on our campus likely don’t know who is in Student Government, or what we do. The question of “what does Student Government even do?” flows from student mouths more than complaints about parking. The fact that most students don’t know what our organization does exposes our faults. Currently, we are benchmarking other schools to make sure our individual committees are best supporting the university community. The opportunities to engage with our community in the realms of sustainability, diversity and safety are discussed on campus but require more direct attention within our governing body. Similarly, outreach and transparency will continue to be a primary focus of Student Government moving forward.

In addition to these general goals, I personally hope to focus on the areas of mental health and wellness with attention to alcohol abuse. We look forward to structurally reforming this organization to become a more involved and transparent part of our community. This week, Student Government implemented a demographic survey to evaluate the types of voices represented within our organization. In addition to re-evaluating the structure and conversation of the organization, we hope to evaluate and recognize the identities in the room.

For the past three years, I have been fortunate to learn from amazing leaders and administrators on this campus. I can only hope that over the next year we can come together as a community and continue to push the boundaries and show what it means to be a true Demon Deacon. As previously stated, we plan to connect, grow and foster positive relationships throughout campus. We hope to start this initiative with a general meeting next Thursday in Benson 410 from 5:00 p.m.-6:00p.m. where we will engage in conversation with diverse campus leaders on coordinating future SG events and will continue these conversations throughout the academic year. 

Effective change takes time and input from many voices on campus and I hope to be a small piece of this continually evolving process. Next year, I look forward to working with students throughout campus. If you would be interested in speaking, feel free to contact us at reevdp15@wfu.edu, or through our Facebook and Instagram @wake_sg and Twitter @wakesg. Thank you very much and Go Deacs.

Sincerely,

Danny Reeves

Student Government President

2018-2019

Suspect Arrested in Shooting of Najee Ali Baker

Jakier Shanique Austin, a suspect in the Jan. 20 murder of Winston-Salem State University student Najee Ali Baker, has been arrested in Charlotte, NC. Austin was arrested on April 11, 2018, more than two months after the shooting on Wake Forest’s campus. Austin was on the run for over two months after shooting Baker in January.

Since the shooting in January, the investigation has remained open with the Winston-Salem Police Department in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies. Austin was arrested with the assistance of the Charlotte Office of the U.S. Marshal’s Service and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

“As a Wake Forest student I am proud to see our police department, federal law enforcement, and local law enforcement working together to serve our community and student body of Winston-Salem State University and Wake Forest University,” said Wake Forest Student Government President Spencer Schiller. “I hope that those mourning Mr. Baker’s death can rest a little bit easier tonight in knowing that the Winston-Salem community has every intention to carry out the law and continue our remembrance and reflection on the tragic death of a fellow student.”

In a statement released to all students on April 12, Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch said: “I would like to express my solemn gratitude for the diligent work of the Winston-Salem Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies for bringing this part of the case to closure. Their tireless efforts, in cooperation with the Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University Police Departments, will help our campus communities continue to heal. Our deepest condolences remain with Mr. Baker’s family and friends.”

Austin has been charged with murder, possession of a gun on educational property and carrying a concealed weapon. Austin is being held in Mecklenburg County Jail with no bond allowed while waiting for transfer to Forsyth County.

Currently, the investigation is still open and more details have not yet been released by the Winston-Salem police department.

At this time, the Barn, where the shooting took place, is still closed to events and will remain so for the remainder of the semester.

Tactics of Sixth Circle Prevent Productive Dialogue

Alleged group “Heretics of the Sixth Circle” sent an email with the subject line “you are not safe here” to a seemingly random group of students on Sunday night. The nature of the email stirred conversations about campus safety, while also bringing into conversation concerns with campus culture through a list of demands, making references to Dante’s Inferno, representing the “Sixth Circle” as the group of self-proclaimed outsiders on campus.

While many opinions are circulating as to the methods, goals and general actions of the group, the editorial board of the Old Gold & Black believes that the synthetic scare tactics and anonymity used by the group invalidates their general message of concern for the campus climate. While, admittedly, these scare tactics brought the blog to a large audience, it directs the conversation to surround the blog itself and not its content.

Further, dividing the campus into targeted stereotypes based on extracurricular involvements does nothing to promote productive dialogue surrounding the issues brought up by the blog’s demands.

Although frustration with ongoing problems at Wake Forest should be freely expressed, concrete efforts by the university to implement change should be fairly and accurately represented. Students were involved this past fall in discussions about changes to the Code of Conduct, and the university recently raised the minimum wage for all Aramark workers to $11.10 an hour. Accurate information and facts are essential for effective advocacy, and the fact that they were not aware of ongoing campaigns to solve some of the very issues they identified further discredits their message.

We would like to call on the members of the Sixth Circle to reveal their identities or singular identity. We believe that by doing so they will be able to critically engage with the campus community and fully advocate for positive change. They may not be giving enough credit to students and administrators who would otherwise be willing to listen to their concerns and work with them to instill positive changes, as we are all part of the Wake Forest community and want the best for our own community.

Additionally, it is not unique for students to feel removed from various aspects of the campus community, as it takes some time to find the group of people with whom you really fit, and so it is misguided for the author(s) of the blog to think they are alone in this sentiment of being outsiders.

Although the Heretics of the Sixth Circle accused many groups of not being open to constructive dialogue, they were closed to constructive dialogue themselves by demonizing others. Making deep institutional changes such as the ones that the Heretics of the Sixth Circle proposed would require dedicated work, constructive conversations and compromise with a variety of groups across campus. These conversations are much less likely to happen if directly vilifying language is used.

University Officials Continue to Fail Faculty

In my 36 years at Wake Forest, three items have regularly been on the faculty’s agenda for things the administration could do to improve its lot: bringing salaries up to the level of the universities to which we compare ourselves; developing a regular sabbatical program so that all tenured faculty can have regular leaves; and providing a day-care center for the many people who work on campus.

In the past, it had always been hoped that one of Wake Forest’s capital campaigns would raise funds for one or more of these causes. Even without such an effort, the administration promised the faculty more than a decade ago that it would raise faculty salaries to the level of our peers. This has never happened.

It is telling, I think, that President Hatch’s capital campaign never included any of these items on its agenda. As a matter of fact, the administration has been so indifferent to faculty concerns that few professors even bother to bring up a sabbatical program or a day-care center anymore.

That leaves compensation, but again, there is no indication that there is any effort to raise faculty salaries. As I noted in an earlier editorial, the administration regularly informs us that it has raised $232 million for “faculty support and programming,” but this figure surely is little more than flimflam. From the beginning, President Hatch has touted the great wonders of having raised money for 10 Presidential Chairs, but this does little or nothing for the remaining hundreds of faculty. Somehow it is thought that the presence of these new, major professors will boost all of our spirits, but I’m certain most of us would prefer the pay raises we were promised long ago.

Inasmuch as the administration seems unwilling to demonstrate how much of its $232 million has been devoted to faculty salaries and benefits, one can only assume that it only includes funds for oneoff opportunities like a few Family Fellows and grants for research and travel, the equivalent of the one-time bonuses some corporations gave to their employees after the big tax cut rather than increasing wages, a strategy that keeps salaries and benefits depressed over time.

Once more: most of the faculty would be grateful for a clear reckoning of the sums from the capital campaign that have tangibly increased the welfare of the professors on campus, especially salaries and benefits. Short of such evidence, we can only conclude that there has never been any real interest in improving the lot of the faculty in spite of the fact that the #12 ranking in “Best Undergraduate Teaching” in the US News & World Report analysis of US colleges and universities is a major reason why Wake Forest does so well in that survey. That Wake Forest would fail properly to compensate the faculty and staff who do the most to make the university “thrive” in the midst of its otherwise grandiose plans is nothing short of a scandal.

Jim Hans

English Department

Comments Should Promote Productive Dialogue

As it becomes increasingly common for readers to get their news online rather than in print, readers have the ability to provide direct commentary and feedback in the form of online comments, a trend which we’ve seen manifest in our own website’s comment section in recent weeks. However, with this ability comes a certain responsibility.

Per Old Gold & Black policy, our readers should know that we do not censor our comments section online. Just as we practice freedom of speech in our reporting, so should our readers practice it online. The only instance wherein we consider removing a comment from our website is if it incites violence, if it is internet spam, or if it is targeted online bullying directed at an individual. These decisions are made by members of our Editorial Board.

However, the Editorial Board of the Old Gold & Black asks that our online readers treat the ablity to comment online with a certain level of maturity and responsibilty.

For instance, we hope that readers use the comments section to provide productive feedback, such as when an error is noted in an article or when they feel a part of the related dialogue went unreported. This type of comment allows us to improve our reporting as student journalists.

In other scenarios, readers might wish to comment in order to engage in discussion with other readers on a given topic. We hope that our reporting on controversial issues sparks dialogue between different campus communities, a dialogue which may exist within or beyond our comments section, but which nonetheless engages critical thought on different issues and topics.

While we do not censor our comments section, we discourage those comments that do not contribute productively to any dialogue, and which only serve to inflame audiences and promote uneducated opinions. One should not comment on an article based only on buzzwords in a headline without having read the complete piece, as this is not constructive.

As with many online platforms, readers have the ability to use impersonal names and fake email accounts when commenting. However, we hope that readers consider why they may not want their words tied to their name, and thus reconsider whether it is worth posting something if it must come from behind an intraceable pseudonym.

As our website continues to gain traction in keeping with the widespread shift to online media outlets, we hope that our website’s comments section offers readers a productive platform through which to engage with our content. We welcome feedback, and are encouraged when readers voice their thoughts on our website.

We encourage our audience to continue to give commentary on our website, and hope that the conversations that take place in this sphere remain productive and civil.

Best Buddies Friendship Walk Celebrates All Participants

More than 50 Wake Forest students and members of the community joined each other in the Magnolia Room Sunday, March 25 for the fourth annual Best Buddies Friendship Walk, an event hosted by the Best Buddies chapter of Wake Forest University that celebrates inclusion of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD).

This year’s event featured games and arts and crafts as well as a “color walk” around Hearn Plaza where participants of all abilities were showered by paint powder. Special guests included Reason to Bake — a purpose-based, gluten-free cookies company based out of Transylvania County, NC — who delivered a keynote address and donated cookies for the event. Other special guests included members of the newly-created Best Buddies chapter of nearby High Point University and students from Carter High School in Winston-Salem, NC.

The event’s theme was “Dream in Color,” which inspired the addition of the “color walk” as well as the arts and crafts and games. At one booth, participants of all abilities could journal about their dreams.

Junior Kelly Reynolds, co-director of the Friendship Walk, worked with the organization to pick this year’s theme after hearing the story of Elise Sampson, founder of Reason to Bake, and her daughter Carolyn Sampson. Carolyn lives with an intellectual disability, which often makes finding employment difficult.

“Carolyn has always wanted to be a baker, but was unfortunately unable to find any work because of her disability,” Reynolds said. “She didn’t let this stop her, since she then started her own bakery with her mom and Reason to Bake has now become an international hit.”

Reason to Bake not only hires but also trains people with intellectual disabilities to pursue meaningful work. At the bakery, people of all abilities work together to make all-natural and artisanal cookies from scratch, which they then ship all over the country.

“We chose to ask Reason to Bake to be our keynote speaker because we heard about Carolyn’s story and thought that it would connect and inspire our participants to never give up and to chase their dreams. They are able to do whatever they put their minds to, just like Carolyn did,” Reynolds said. “Because of Carolyn’s story of turning her dream of being a baker into a success, we wanted to have the theme of our event be about dreams. We believe that dreams aren’t black in white, so we decided to have it be ‘Dream in Color.’”

Participants of all abilities found great inspiration in hearing Carolyn share her story in her keynote address. Senior Emma Bowden, vice president of the Best Buddies chapter of Wake Forest, reminded herself of the importance of following her dreams after hearing the address.

“It was inspiring to hear such an incredible story, especially being a senior with plans to follow my dreams of going to Physician Assistant school after graduation,” Bowden said. “Carolyn was a tangible reminder that no matter the dream, working hard and creating opportunities for yourself can lead to success.”

For some, the inspiring speech served as a fitting culmination to four years of service to the organization, years which saw Best Buddies grow from a small student organization into a fully-recognized chapter.

“Best Buddies has offered me the perfect opportunity to escape the bubble of Wake Forest and make an impact in the Winston-Salem community,” Bowden said. “Being a friend to students at Carter High School has been so rewarding, humbling and just plain fun. The buddies constantly reminded me to take life less seriously and to be thankful for the little things, reminders which I so needed throughout my journey at Wake Forest.”

Deacon Profile: Spencer Schiller

Since the beginning of this school year, senior Spencer Schiller has led Wake Forest’s Student Government as president.

In his administration, Schiller has initiated several changes to the Wake Forest community. Some of these initiatives include the Deacon Disaster Relief Fund and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Now that a new executive board has been elected, Schiller reflects on his time as Student Government president. 

What are the greatest lessons you learned as president?

As Student Government president, I have learned that adaptability and asking for help are both essential to being a successful leader.

In leadership positions within the university system, this is especially true and crucial in efficiently navigating bureaucratic systems. Asking for help from administrators, those with more experience than you and fellow members of Student Government can make all the difference in following through with initiatives and legislation.

I have also learned that not taking yourself too seriously is always valuable in improving relationships with fellow students.

What do you hope that your legacy will be?

I hope my legacy will include the continuation of Mental Health Week. If I can come back to Wake Forest in 30 years and if the school is still focused on the betterment of students’ mental health, I would be proud to have played a role in its creation.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

This year, my greatest accomplishment and proudest moment in office has either been successfully pulling off the Deacon Disaster Relief Fund to benefit hurricane relief or amending the Student Government Constitution to include a new committee focused on diversity and inclusion for all Wake Forest students.

In my four years in Senate, my greatest accomplishment is definitely creating Wake Forest’s first ever Mental Health Week, which has become an annual tradition since my sophomore year.

Do you have any regrets from your year in office?

The only regret I have during my administration’s term is not being able to provide football players on full scholarship with on-campus parking passes. It has been an incredibly frustrating process and hopefully the school will continue to work with next year’s executive branch to improve financial assistance for students benefitting from scholarships.

How has being president changed you personally?

Being president definitely pushed my limits from a time-management, leadership and legislative perspective, and has forced me to become better at prioritizing. I have also learned that reflection is one of the most powerful tools to use when planning events or getting to the root of issues.

Personally, I have gained amazing friendships and will always hold Wake Forest close to my heart because of the opportunities it has given me to serve.

What do you hope the next president and administration can achieve?

I hope the next president and administration can break down the Wake Forest bubble more than we have seen in the past. This year, Student Government has focused on engaging not just our students, but also the Winston-Salem community by benefitting Cooke Elementary School. I hope the trend continues. Winston-Salem is such a vibrant, up-and-coming city and I would love to see Student Government play a role in its further development.

Islam Awareness Week Celebrates the Muslim Community

The Muslim Students Association at Wake Forest, founded in 2008, is hosting its fifth-annual Islam Awareness Week. The week was started by the current Muslim Life Director, Naijla Faizi, who was the MSA President at the time, in an effort to help educate the Wake Forest community about Islam.

Most people assume that the Muslim community is mostly Arab or South Asian, but in actuality the Muslim American community is the most ethnically diverse faith community in America. Part of Islam Awareness Week is to highlight this diversity within the Muslim community.

One of the events that shows this element of the Muslim community was the Gallery Walk in Benson, which had posters of notable Muslim people. Each event throughout the week is intended to provide a different educational opportunity for students to engage with aspects of Islam and lived Muslim experiences.

The purpose of the event on March 19, Demystifying Islamic Head-Coverings, was to create an environment of empathy for Muslims who wear head coverings. MSA invited non-Muslims to wear hijabs and kufis, which are worn by Muslim women and men, respectively. These participants were invited to return and reflect on their experiences. Junior Alec Jessar commented on his experience.

“I felt that I could learn a lot from this event and wanted to take full advantage,” Jessar said. “I felt proud wearing it, even though it was not my religion, to be a part of that for a day,”

Another student commented that although she was physically more covered, wearing the hijab actually made her feel more open. By the end of the day she even developed a sense of attachment with the headscarf.

The event on March 20, Shorty’s Trivia, provided a fun and competitive way for Wake Forest students to both learn about and test their knowledge of Islam.

Students from various academic disciplines were able to apply their coursework related to Islam across four trivia themes: “General Questions about Islam,” “History,” “Prophet Muhammad” and the “Qur’an.” The March 21 event, in honor of Women’s History Month, was an effort to show complex representations of Muslim women.

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, who founded MuslimGirl.com, spoke about her activism as a Muslim feminist who uses media to create spaces for the experiences and perspectives of other Muslim women who have often lacked a platform. Amani said that using the label “Muslim feminist” is in fact redundant, as Islam inherently supports women’s rights and equity. However, Amani argued that such labels are still valuable because they allow Muslims to communicate their values and religious interpretations in the language of our current generation.

It is a common belief that it is inappropriate or insensitive to ask Muslims questions about their faith. This is why on March 22, the Wake Forest MSA is hosting #AskAMuslim to engage questions people have about Islam and being Muslim. To close the week, there will be two events on March 23.

The first is an opportunity for the Wake Forest community to show solidarity with Muslims on campus and to observe Muslims pray, which will be located in the Green Room of Reynolda Hall at 2 p.m. The second event is to create a welcoming and supportive space for the refugees that have moved to, and now reside in and around, Winston-Salem, which will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Wingate.

It is also an opportunity for Wake Forest students to learn about refugees personally, instead of solely hearing about them on the news.

Alumnus Richard Burr Donates his Congressional Papers to WFU

On Monday, March 12, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (‘78) announced that he will be donating a collection of memorabilia associated with his career to the Special Collections room of Z. Smith Reynolds Library.

A former Demon Deacon himself, Burr is currently serving his third term as U.S. Senator for North Carolina, before which he served in the House of Representatives for 10 years. Throughout his 24 years as a public servant, Burr has gathered an extensive collection of documents, manuscripts and other primary source material, which he hopes Wake Forest students will be able to learn from in the future.

“I hope that once I retire and all my papers are collected here, this will present an opportunity for all students and others who are interested in public policy and government service to learn more about the issues faced during my tenure,” Burr said.

The donation will be the 6th congressional collection housed in the library, following those of Donna Edwards, Charles Orville Whitley and Horace Robinson Kornegay, among others. Burr is one of seven Wake  Forest alumni to have been a U.S. Senator and one of 11 to have been in Congress.

“Senator Burr has offered, and Wake Forest has accepted, a collection that includes photographs, sound and video recordings, manuscripts, letters, speeches, notes and handwritten documents of these more than two remarkable decades in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate,” Provost Rogan Kersh said at the event.

The collection is currently housed in storage at the Smithsonian, and the timeline is indefinite as to when it will be available at ZSR Library.

In front of the audience, President Nathan Hatch and Burr signed the official agreement between the university and the Senator with specially-crafted pens made of the wood from old shelves of the ZSR Library.

“From these documents, students will read about situations that demanded leadership, collaboration, patience and wisdom,” Hatch said. “They will learn from circumstances they have not yet seen or anticipated. They will see first hand the kind of work that engages high level law making in our land.”

The ceremony was attended by many notable figures, including Congressman Mark Walker, Hatch, Kersh and Board of Trustees Chair Donna Boswell, as well as the chancellors of both Winston-Salem State University and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

“This gift is a mark of leadership by one of our own community, for our community,” Edwards said. “Contributions such as this expose our students to a part of our democracy they might not otherwise get to see.”

The ceremony also included an announcement that the university will establish a Richard Burr Center in partnership with the library. The center will make a strong effort to bring nationally-recognized speakers to campus in the future. Specifics have yet to be disclosed.

“It is our shared hope that we can focus our energies on building a better understanding of the legislative process, how it works and how our young people can use that for our own leadership capacity,” Hatch said. “I look forward to using our collective efforts to establish a world class resource for our students that also honors our distinguished alumnus and public servants.”

Burr, a Winston-Salem native, went to Richard J. Reynolds High School and graduated from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in Communications. He lettered for the Demon Deacon’s football team his freshman and sophomore years, and was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He currently chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee and has stated that he does not plan to run for a fourth term in the Senate.

“My responsibility to my home of Wake Forest University is not to influence the direction a student goes, but to provide a clear pathway from which to learn how to make their mark on life,” Burr said. “We’re not in the business of influencing, we’re in the business of inspiring … The donations of my paper will only be the beginning of my partnership with Wake Forest in this regard.”

Editorial Board Endorses Candidates for Student Government

The editorial board of the Old Gold & Black met with each of the candidates running for executive positions for Student Government for the 2018-2019 academic year. Each candidate gave a three-minute pitch for the student body to watch before having a Q&A session with our board. The Editorial Board has decided to make the following endorsements based on their platforms and interviews:

In the race for Student Government president, all four of the candidates presented thoughtful platforms on their plans to improve student government and the campus as a whole. The candidates running for president are: David Ajamy, Matthew David, William Morgan and Danny Reeves. Most platforms emphasized topics of diversity and inclusion, unity on campus, safety and encouraging student leadership. With this in mind, our endorsement is split among the candidates that went above and beyond.

After hearing David Ajamy’s platform, we were intrigued by his attempt to bring humor and lightheartedness into the race. Video-chatting in from his semester in Washington, D.C., Ajamy shared his desire to use his previous experiences to change how Student Government is perceived on campus. Ajamy also noted the need to introduce something different to the race as a non-Greek, white male. In addition to his platform, we appreciated Ajamy’s refreshing, comedic take to the race, introducing himself at the beginning of the interview as “Welcome to Moes” or “Dumpster Trash.”

Sophomore Matthew David brought many unique, thoughtful ideas to his interview. David’s platform was inspired by his tenure serving as co-chair of the Academic Committee and a member of the Alcohol Policy Committee in Student Government. Among other ideas, David mentioned creating an inaugural president’s committee, in which the presidents of all organizations on campus would come together for collaboration and mentoring. David also explained his position on Greek life, emphasizing that productive Greek life on campus is beneficial for all students, and that he can more effectively represent the Greek community as a non-Greek student. We believe David is an influential member of Student Government and has a promising future in the organization.

Running for president for the second time, William Morgan’s platform echoes last year’s but has been updated with more specifics and new ideas. His  platform is based on the acronym RATIO: Representation, Accountability, Trust, Inspiration and Openness. Morgan is an experienced member of Student Government, having served on various committees and showing tangible successes.

We appreciated Morgan’s professional approach to the position, as he came prepared and knew his platform extraordinarily well.

The Editorial Board similarly found Danny Reeve’s ambition and accomplishments to be admirable as a candidate for president. Reeves is a tenured member of Student Government, as he served as secretary his sophomore year. This experience taught him what it takes to achieve tangible success. During his time as secretary, Reeves enacted justifiable change in the way the organization is run, such as changing meetings from every other week to weekly and implementing an orientation event for senators. We understand and respect Reeve’s capability as a candidate for president, as he has proven his capacity to lead.

Ultimately, our vote fell to extremely close margins. In a staff vote of all four presidential candidates, we were unable to determine a majority endorsement. Danny Reeves initially won a plurality of the votes, and after a runoff vote seeking a majority, Reeves and Morgan split the votes equally among the staff.

As both of the races for speaker of the house and treasurer are uncontested this year, we have decided to endorse junior Will Hargrove and junior Sydney Packard, respectively, for the positions. Hargrove has been a part of Student Government since his freshman year, serving on the Public Relations Committee, as the co-chair for Campus Life and currently as a member of the Cabinet. Packard is currently serving as Student Government treasurer, and hopes to continue the work she has done this year into the next term, as she has many goals currently in the works.

In the race for secretary, we unanimously chose to endorse junior Thomas Kellogg. We were impressed with Kellogg’s drive for execution and ambition for the implementation of ideas for both the Senate and for Student Government as a whole. We believe that Kellogg has a strong understanding of the structure of Student Government and has achievable ideas on how to improve communication and action within the organization.

Sophomore Maia Kennedy is also running for secretary, and her platform includes pillars such as diversity and inclusion. Other main points in her platform were working on campus safety and creating open spaces for dogs on campus. We recognize that Kennedy is a strong member of Student Government, and hope she will continue her success within the organization.

We are grateful for the opportunity we had to meet with each of the candidates, and recognize that they have all been strong members of the campus community in their various capacities. Those who are to be elected will continue to serve the student body in a positive aspect.

Wake Forest Should Hold on to Rolling the Quad Tradition

Some things about a college experience, no matter what school you attend, are going to be the same: studying late into the night, throwing a frisbee out on the quad and eating cheap take out. What sets schools apart from each other is an institution’s traditions. Wake Forest has the most unique and lovable traditions (which we gladly admit is a biased opinion).

Communications professors Randall Rogan and John Llewellyn submitted a Letter to the Editor pointing out the disparities between the tradition of rolling the quad and the university’s moral values, as well as offering new alternatives. While they raised some worthwhile points, the Editorial Staff of the Old Gold & Black believes that rolling the quad should remain a beloved — and untouched — Wake Forest tradition.

In citing environmental and humane concerns, professors Rogan and Llewellyn clearly failed to do research, something they surely make their students do. The Office of Sustainability addresses environmental concerns behind the tradition on their website’s FAQ page.

As for the humane concern, the professors believe that it is “elitist” to have the landscaping staff remove the toilet paper from the trees. If professors Rogan and Llewellyn have ever enjoyed a beautiful walk on the quad in the days following a major sports win, they would notice a majority of the toilet paper already on the ground. The toilet paper almost immediately disintegrates; landscaping staff only blow the toilet paper on the ground as they do leaves.

Rolling the quad is, of course, a wasteful practice. There are plenty of people who need toilet paper but can’t afford it. Toilet paper is commonly listed as one of the top requested items at shelters. The Editorial Staff proposes that the university, for every time a sports team wins and the quad is rolled, donates an amount of toilet paper comparable to what’s on the quad to local shelters and charities.    

Rogan and Llewellyn also posit that this falsely purported removal of the toilet paper can cause unintended damage to a tree, making it vulnerable to disease.

The Office of Sustainability noted that the White Ash trees on the quad have fallen ill and have been replaced in recent year. However, the Landscaping Services staff and University Arborist have confirmed that this was not due to the rolling of the quad.

According to the Office of Sustainability, the toilet paper that students use has a high recycled content and is quickly biodegradable.

Furthermore, the alternative proposed by professors Rogan and Llewellyn, rolling the quad in large bubble balls, is ridiculous and impractical. The university would have to find a way to provide sufficient bubble balls, house and care for the balls and regulate their use. 

Traditions are meant to remain the same. For students, collegiate traditions can make these four years truly memorable. Demon Deacons will always remember the first time they rolled the quad during freshman orientation. It makes us feel connected to the history, to the future and to the community of Wake Forest. Rolling the quad promotes our institution’s most espoused value: bringing students together.

Wake Forest Named in Top 25 Peace Corps Schools

Wake Forest has been ranked 16 out of 25 in the Top 25 Peace Corps Producing Colleges and Universities in the small colleges and universities category. Wake Forest has placed in the top 25 for four years. Currently, there are 11 Wake Forest alumni serving in the Peace Corps, in addition to 226 alumni who have in the past. Continue reading “Wake Forest Named in Top 25 Peace Corps Schools”