Living our values
Dear members of the Wake Forest Community,
Wake Forest University enjoys a long history of strong residential life. The vibrancy of our campus community is among the many reasons students, faculty, staff and alumni cherish this place. Over the last decade, reflecting national trends, much of social life has moved to off-campus locations. This has weakened community on campus, created tension with our neighbors and, with increasing frequency, endangered the welfare of our students. We are committed to refreshing and renewing the rich traditions of campus life.
Last spring, I charged two committees of faculty, staff and students to engage in broad dialogue and rigorous consideration of ways to improve the vibrancy and safety of our campus community. Together with senior administrators of the University, I have reviewed their reports and consulted additionally with trustees, alumni and parents. Under the leadership of Provost Jill Tiefenthaler, we have created a plan of action.
Our plan of action is comprehensive in nature but also deals directly with our commitment to Greek life as an important facilitator of social life at Wake Forest. While there are specific recommendations relevant to our Greek community, our plan’s guiding principles encompass all our students. These principles are (1) the preservation of the health and safety of our students; (2) an engaged and inclusive community; (3) the primacy of the academic endeavor and (4) our longstanding commitment to help our students live lives of meaning and worth.
Our report is elaborate and detailed, so let me highlight three projects that are already underway. We have hired a Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator to strengthen alcohol education programs and increase the safety of our students. We are in the planning stages for construction of “the Barn,” a flexible new facility for group events on campus, and we will defray reasonable additional costs for groups hosting events on campus. Greek student leaders have voluntarily adopted a higher GPA requirement for first-year students as an alternative to sophomore rush. Additionally, the Provost’s Office will oversee the appointment of faculty advisors who are committed to balancing rigorous academic standards and a rich social experience for student organizations. Finally, the report makes a recommendation that Wake Forest move toward a 3-year residency requirement. We are actively reviewing the possibilities for additional housing and, in the meantime, heightening the standards for off-campus living.
I believe that our plan will be effective in supporting responsible social activity on campus, creating a dynamic atmosphere that encourages student development in a safe environment and providing a path forward for residential life in our collegiate university. Please read the report and find answers to common questions. Provost Jill Tiefenthaler and I welcome your feedback.
I have great confidence in the commitment and energy of Wake Forest students. I am grateful to all who have contributed their thoughts and energy to this important process.