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November 28, 2007

BACKPACKS BECOME ART, PROMOTE DEMOCRACY – Ten backpacks, designed by Wake Forest art student Jessica Vogel to represent hot button political and social issues, will be a moving performance art work today through Nov. 30 on campus.  Vogel has titled the project, “Student Backpacks:  A Public Art Piece on Democracy.”   Ten students will wear the backpacks for three days.  The students will wear the backpacks to classes, to meals— basically everywhere they go.  Vogel hopes they will get students talking about such topics as stem-cell research, capital punishment, immigration, the war in Iraq and health care.  Each backpack has been decorated to spark conversation about a different issue. For example, one suggests the shape of a pregnant woman to focus on the pro-life issue, while another features bottles, cans and newspapers to get people talking about environmental issues.   “The main purpose is not whether it depicts a ‘left’ or ‘right’ position, but the issue itself,” Vogel said.  “If you’re passionate about the issue, you should be able to talk about it.  I’m very curious about how students [respond] to these issues.  A lot of times, people view students as apathetic and not caring about issues.  I wanted this to show that students do care about issues and are passionate about issues.”   She chose the backpack because it is “an iconic symbol for students and a fun thing to work with.”  Vogel’s project is for a public art class taught by David Finn, associate professor of art.  “It’s a good idea for public art to connect to the community, so it is not just the artist’s personal statement out there,” said Finn.  A half-dozen other public art projects, including large-scale paintings of local landmarks and a metal arch featuring religious symbols, will be installed on campus within the next week.  Some will remain in place through the spring semester.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or 336-758-5237

CNN/YOUTUBE REPUBLICAN DEBATE TONIGHT— Allan Louden, associate professor of communication and an expert on political debate, and Ross Smith, Wake Forest’s director of debate, are available to comment on tonight’s CNN/YouTube debate among Republican presidential candidates.  “The argument is that you are bringing voters and candidates together with this debate,” Louden said.  “I don’t think that’s happening.”  Smith is also skeptical about how much real debate there will be about issues voters want addressed.  “The format interrupts the narrative of the battle heating up between Romney and Giuliani,” Smith said.  “Voters mostly have questions about issues, but moderators in recent debates have focused more on the battle of the moment.”  Ross K. Smith can be reached directly at (336) 251-2076 (cell).  Allan Louden can be reached at 336-406-8451 (cell).

SPEAKING OF POLITICS – When conducting research for their book “Speaking of Politics,” two Wake Forest professors found what appears to be a trend with this generation of college students:  substituting service for political action.   Professor of Political Science Katy Harriger and Professor Emeritus of Communication Jill McMillan found that, in general, students don't feel empowered to make a difference on the political stage,  but think that they can make a difference in another individual's life through service projects.  “They feel that they can't change federal policy to help end world hunger, but they can help feed the family down the street,” Harriger said.  “Speaking of Politics” was a four-year study on the role deliberative dialogue has on preparing college students for democratic citizenship.  Harriger and McMillan found that participation in the study helped students realize their own power to influence issues and the democratic process, but that they continue to be active in community service as well.

Contact:  Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.

GOVERNORS SPEAK – The 2008 presidential campaign began with seven sitting or former governors vying for the presidency.  Of those, three remain in the running: Republican former governors Mitt Romney (Mass.) and Mike Huckabee (Ark.) and current Democratic governor Bill Richardson (N.M.).  Jack D. Fleer, professor emeritus of political science, says that overall, governors rate fairly well when they win the presidency.  In historical rankings of presidential performance, four of the ‘consensus’ top ten presidents include four former governors:  Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Since 1789, governors have held the presidency nearly half the time; governors have won seven of the last eight presidential elections.   Fleer is watching the 2008 elections closely to see how Romney, Huckabee and Richardson fare in their race to the White House.  His new book, “Governors Speak,” takes a close look at the evolving role of governors and examines both those who succeed and those who do less well in that office.

Contact:  Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.

FREE HOLIDAY CONCERTS OFFERED FOR THE COMMUNITY – Wake Forest will host two free concerts to celebrate the holidays. The Sixth Annual Carols of the Bells benefit concert, featuring the Wake Forest Student Handbell Ensemble, will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 28 in Davis Chapel. Donations will be accepted for Brenner Children’s Hospital.  At 8 p.m. Dec. 6, the Holiday Choral Concert will be held in Brendle Recital Hall. The concert features Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio.”

Contact: Pam Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

UNIVERSITY 'LIGHTS THE QUAD' FOR THE HOLIDAYS — Students will decorate Hearn Plaza (Quad) in front of Reynolda Hall with a live evergreen tree, greenery and lights beginning at 7 p.m. Dec. 4.  The interfaith celebration will feature music, singing, speakers and refreshments.   Wake Forest Provost Jill Tiefenthaler will light the tree.  The event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or 336-758-5237

MORE THAN 2,000 TO ATTEND LARGEST LOVEFEAST IN NORTH AMERICA –Wake Forest will host its annual Christmas Lovefeast and Candlelight Service at 8 p.m. Dec. 2 in Wait Chapel. The event is the largest single Lovefeast in North America.   More than 50 dieners (servers), made up of Wake Forest faculty, staff and students, serve Moravian buns and coffee following the service.  Hearn Plaza, which is decorated with lights and a tree for the holiday season, is encircled with luminaries for the event. In 1965, a Wake Forest student brought the Moravian lovefeast to Wake Forest and it has become a university tradition.  Two hundred people attended that first event, and today, the Chapel nearly fills to capacity.

Contact:  Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.


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