Woof Forest brings joy to dogs and students alike

The organization holds events at which students can play with and care for dogs from local shelters


Courtesy of Woof Forest

Students at last year’s Puppies on the Quad event came out to help raise funds for the Yadkin County Animal Shelter and relieve stress.

Anita Dongieux, Staff Writer

Wake Forest’s campus is filled with student-run organizations that cater to students who are looking to get involved in philanthropic work, make an impact on their community, and have a space outside of academics to meet new people; Woof Forest is certainly not an exception. 

Calling all dog lovers, Woof Forest is a chartered student organization that helps bridge the connection between Wake Forest and the great Winston-Salem area by working with various animal shelters in the area and advocating for animal welfare. 

Most recently, Woof Forest put on their Barktoberfest event — which takes place annually around the Halloween season — in which a local shelter brought a few of their dogs to campus. This group event, in addition to being a place for animal lovers to gather and play with pups, features a Halloween costume contest where any Wake-affiliated dog owner can bring their dogs decked out in costume. 

Sophomore and secretary of Woof Forest, Lilli Ward, describes Barktoberfest as one of her favorite events put on by Woof Forest, but not nearly all that the organization contributes to campus life. Puppies on the Quad, she reflects, is one of Woof Forest’s most popular events. 

Once or twice a semester, dogs from either the Yadkin County Humane Society or Forsyth Humane Society come to campus and interact with Wake Forest students. The students pay money to pet and play with the animals while all the proceeds go towards that specific charity. Ward further discusses that sometimes this event will pair with other organizations on campus, one example being Greek Life chapters, to help promote the event. 

Junior and President of Woof Forest, Savannah Longo, similarly awaits Puppies on The Quad as she shares its strategic planning.

 “We plan to have another Puppies On The Quad event before the end of the semester, around finals week to help alleviate some of the stress of finals,” Longo said. 

One thing that Woof Forest prides itself on is being a club that helps to connect students with fulfilling activities but does not overwhelm them with too many time commitments or strenuous activities, providing an outlet for Wake Forest students who want to get involved but do not want to add too much to their plate. 

Ward recalls how she originally got involved with Woof Forest. After hearing from word of mouth what the club was about, she was immediately drawn into its mission and agenda. 

“I am a dog lover at heart,” Ward said. “Having dogs at home that I always miss while I’m at school, being a part of Woof Forest is able to provide me that same comfort that I get from spending time with my dogs at home.” 

Ward illustrates the club as giving that “home away from home” feel, which is something that she believes a lot of Wake Forest students could benefit from; plus, she adds that getting to help out the Winston-Salem animal community is an added bonus. 

Woof Forest tends to attract those who are passionate about animals; as many members, inducing Sophomore Deirde Tighe, embody: “I really enjoy being in Woof Forest because it is a place where dog lovers can come together and help raise money for really important causes,” Tighe said.

 In terms of upcoming events to anticipate, Hearts for Hounds, a Valentine’s Day-themed event, will soon be in the works: another rendition of Puppies on the Quad that gathers various members of the Wake Forest and Winston-Salem community together to spread some extra love for animals in need.

These events can be positive experiences for the dogs and students alike; last year, Woof Forest partnered with the Student Government for Mental Health Week to put on Hearts for Hounds. Through Woof Forest’s desire to bring happiness to not only these animals but also Wake Forest students, this partnership helped to further implement stress relief through philanthropic work.