Stories this week at Wake Forest


African-American poet and activist Nikki Giovanni will speak about her life and work at Wake Forest today (Nov. 18). The free, public event will be held at 7 p.m. in Benson University Center’s Pugh Auditorium. Giovanni is the author of more than a dozen books, including several volumes of poetry and “A Dialogue: James Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni.” Giovanni will be available to answer questions following her talk.


Roasted turkey on the table and pigskins on the TV may abound this Thanksgiving, but there’s a history lesson behind the true origins of this uniquely American holiday. Thanksgiving as we know it today is the merging of three long-ago traditions: a celebration of the harvest; religious observance involving prayer and feasting; and the commemoration of the pilgrims’ landing, known as Forefathers’ Day. J. Edwin Hendricks, a history professor at Wake Forest, can trace how the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving feast developed into a national holiday.


Holidays are a time of joy, good cheer and optimistic hopes for a new year, but many people experience seasonal stress. “Holiday blues can be caused by many factors, including unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization and the inability to be with one’s family,” said Mariann Schubert, director of the counseling center at Wake Forest. Schubert said it’s important to have manageable expectations for the holidays, so you won’t stress yourself trying to make it the best holiday ever. Also, find time for yourself rather than spending every moment providing activities for your family and friends. If money is your source of stress, enjoy free holiday activities, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations. And make time for yourself. Call the News Service to arrange an interview with Schubert about holiday stress.


Having an established exercise and diet program can help ward off weight gain during the holidays. “Having healthy habits and routines in life can help us from backsliding,” said Gary Miller, a Wake Forest assistant professor of health and exercise science who specializes in nutrition. By maintaining your routine, you’re more likely to maintain your weight, he said. And if you indulge in a piece of pie or an extra piece of turkey, don’t just give up and put your routine aside. Miller also suggests eating moderate-sized portions. For other tips from Miller, call the News Service to arrange an interview.


With a little help from university faculty and staff, the News Service has compiled some educational gift ideas.

  • Paul Anderson, an associate professor of physics, suggests stocking stuffers that encourage thinking skills, such as small magnifying glasses, simple calculators, and measuring tapes. Children might also enjoy bug-collecting boxes and magnets.
  • Leah McCoy, an associate education professor, put educational software at the top of her list. McCoy said children in grades K-3 might enjoy interactive storybooks, such as those by Living Books. “The Cat in the Hat” and other stories come alive through sight and sound by clicking on the book’s text and illustrations. The software helps children develop reading skills and an interest in computers. Older children can choose books in other languages, such as Spanish and French.
  • Beverly Hancock, curator of interpretation at the university’s Museum of Anthropology, encourages parents to choose gifts from other cultures, such as Chinese sister dolls, Oaxan woodcarvings, handcrafted Southwestern jewelry and daisy chain necklaces from Mozambique. These gifts and others from Indonesia, China, India, Africa and the American Southwest are available at the museum.


Interested in stories about Wake Forest? Then search the News Service’s on-line story archive for current news releases and tip sheets, as well as stories dating back to 1996. To find the story archive, go to the News Service Web site at and click on the story archive link found on the top of the page. Stories are listed by title and arranged by date.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Campus Life, Community, Events