Stories this week at WFU

By Jacob McConnico
August 2, 2006

DECKER'S 2003 PARTY SWITCH HAD MAJOR CONSEQUENCES FOR N.C. POLITICS — Money has been traded for many different sorts of political favors in state capitols through the years, with votes, contracts, and even pardons given out in exchange for financial contributions, says John Dinan, associate professor of political science at Wake Forest University. But, former N.C. Rep. Michael Decker's admission in a federal plea agreement Tuesday that he took $50,000 to switch to the Democratic Party in 2003 may well mark the first time that an illicit financial contribution has resulted in a change in party control of a state legislative chamber, Dinan said. House Republicans emerged from the 2002 state legislative elections with a 61-59 advantage. But, when Decker joined the Democrats in early 2003 and profited financially for the decision, this made for an even party split and allowed Democrat Jim Black to keep power as a co-speaker, and Democrats went on to regain full control of the chamber in the 2004 elections. Dinan, author of "The American State Constitutional Tradition," is available to provide further comment and perspective on this story.

Contact: Jake McConnico, or 336-758-5237.

SECOND SUMMER SCHOOL SESSION TO END, FRESHMEN MOVE IN AUG. 17 — Wake Forest University's second summer session ends Aug. 9. The approximately 1,126 new students in the university's freshman class will move into residence halls beginning at 8 a.m. Aug. 17. Freshman move-in and orientation at Wake Forest is a unique event that offers something for the entire family. During orientation, a process that spans six days, new students will receive their laptop computers and color printers; attend a variety of receptions; hear from university President Nathan O. Hatch; meet with resident advisors; enjoy a picnic on Hearn Plaza; learn about Wake Forest traditions; see a theatre department performance; sample food from Winston-Salem restaurants; have dinner with their academic and student advisers; register for classes; and share a late night snack with classmates. Parents of incoming students also have the opportunity to participate in informational sessions that focus on handling the transition to parenting a college student. For a full Wake Forest orientation schedule, visit the orientation web site at:

Contact: Wake Forest News Service at 336-758-5237.

PARENTS CAN EASE NEW SCHOOL TRANSITION FOR CHILDREN — Moving to a new school can be difficult for children, but parents can help ease the transition, according to Donna Henderson, professor of counseling at Wake Forest and co-author of "The Handbook of School Counseling." "The transition from one school to the next is a point at which children have more opportunities for trouble," said Henderson, whose family moved more than a dozen times before she graduated from high school. First, demystify it, she said. "Let the child know what to expect," she said. "Don't tell them horror stories about your own experiences."

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or 336-758-5237.

INCOMING STUDENTS FOCUS ON PLAY 'AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE' — Arthur Miller's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's late 19th Century play "An Enemy of the People" will get close scrutiny this fall by incoming Wake Forest University students. Students have been asked to read and reflect on the play and its central question — how does an ethical individual defy a corrupted majority? — as part of the university's annual summer reading program. A Sunday afternoon theater performance called "Wake World" during orientation will raise a number of themes found in the play, and students will have an opportunity to discuss the play during dinner with faculty advisors and advising groups that night. The Wake Forest theatre department will be featuring "An Enemy of the People" in its fall schedule. A list of questions to consider, and a copy of the play have been sent to incoming students. Wake Forest's summer reading program seeks to provide a common text for incoming students in an effort to address the social and intellectual changes taking place in their lives.

Contact: Jake McConnico, or 336-758-5237.

KEEP YOUR COOL WHEN EXERCISING IN THE HEAT — Summer is here and that means more people will take their workouts outside. Jim Ross, program director of Wake Forest University's Healthy Exercise & Lifestyle ProgramS (HELPS), said even the most fit gym rat should be wary of the dangers of heat stroke and take steps to prevent it. "You can die from heat stroke," Ross said. "A non-fatal case of heat stroke makes you susceptible to it again because you ruin your hypothalamus, the part of your brain that regulates body temperature." Ross said anyone who wants to take their workouts outside should follow these four basic steps:

  • Let your body adjust to exercising in the heat by working out at a lower intensity for the first one or two weeks.

  • Stay hydrated. To find out how much water you should drink, Ross said weigh yourself before and after working out. For every pound you lose, drink one pint of water. Ross said that water — not sports drinks — is what most people should drink.

  • Work out during the coolest time of the day, which is just before the sun rises in the morning, not after 5 or 6 p.m.

  • Wear as little clothing as possible so that sweat can evaporate, which is how your body cools itself. Also, wear light-colored clothing that reflects the sun's rays, and wear moisture-wicking clothing designed to remove perspiration from the skin. "This type of clothing will help the person feel drier than cotton clothing would, as cotton absorbs perspiration and makes the clothing feel heavy," Ross said.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.