The Office of Civic & Community Engagement officially launched in August, 2019. We want to thank the community partners, faculty, staff, and students who have invested in making our first semester a huge success! In September, we enjoyed a record-setting Hit the Bricks, raising $83,247.61 for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund. Students, faculty, and staff prepared and delivered over 2,000 meals through The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest, including 564 Thanksgiving dinners for residents throughout Winston-Salem. Rainy weather did not deter us from hosting the 31st annual Project Pumpkin, which welcomed over 650 children to campus for games, educational booths, and giveaways. In addition, students in our Dash Corps civic leadership program identified five community action projects to develop this year. Join us to celebrate their work and the Civic Scholars capstone presentations at our End of Year Celebration on April 14, 2020.

In August, we welcomed 19 AmeriCorps*VISTA members, full-time national service volunteers committed to alleviating poverty in Winston-Salem. Wake Forest was selected as one of eight universities to host a VISTA Campus Recruiter, and we look forward to sharing more information about AmeriCorps and nonprofit careers in the months to come. We launched a satellite office at 915 Bridge St., where we hold community office hours to better connect with residents and partner organizations. If you are interested in our community engagement work, please attend a Get Connected session this spring.

As we look forward to 2020, the OCCE invites you to join Deacs Decide, a comprehensive election engagement project. Deacs Decide is open to all students, faculty, and staff, and aims to engage both the campus and Winston-Salem community. The ALL IN Democracy Challenge awarded Wake Forest a Silver Award for voter turnout in 2018; help us increase our voter engagement in 2020!

We wish you a relaxing and restful winter break and look forward to connecting with you in the spring semester. Happy Holidays!

OCCE welcomes 117 freshmen for PRE-ORIENTATION

Each fall the Office of Civic & Community Engagement invites first-year students to experience first-hand some of the core ideals of Wake Forest: leadership, tradition, and of course, Pro Humanitate. This year, the OCCE hosted 117 freshmen, with the help of 72 upperclass leaders throughout pre-orientation.

In the days leading up to New Deac Week, freshmen had the chance to participate in one of the three pre-orientation programs offered by the OCCE: B.U.I.L.D. (Building University Inclusion through Leadership and Diversity), Deacon Camp, and S.P.A.R.C. (Students Promoting Action and Responsibility in the Community).


On Thursday, September 26, Hearn Plaza was filled with excitement for the 17th annual Hit the Bricks! Teams of faculty, staff, and students laced up their running shoes to raise not only money, but awareness in the fight against cancer. Together 1,200 participants on 109 teams made their way around the upper quad a total of 23,014 times.

Overall, the event raised $83,247.61 - a Hit The Bricks fundraising record - for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund which supports innovative research at the Wake Forest Comprehensive Cancer Center. Hit The Bricks is one of four campus events that support the fund followed by Wake N’ Shake and Pump Up for Piccolo in Spring 2020.

At the end of the event, participants walked in a remembrance lap for cancer victims and survivors and gathered in front of Wait Chapel to hear from Rev. Auman, University Chaplain, and student speakers to reflect on the day.

The marathon included performances from campus a capella groups, The Spirit of the Old Gold and Black, various dance teams, and guest speakers. Opportunities for bonus laps like the Backwards Lap, High Heel Lap, and the “Anything but Feet” Lap were some of the teams’ favorites.


On September 18, 2019, the Office of Civic & Community Engagement and Campus Kitchen partnered with Harvest Table Culinary Group and Second Harvest Food Bank for Harvest Table's annual Building Community Day.

Members of the OCCE staff were present to engage with community members, distribute school supplies, and hand out healthy snacks. Children could pick three school supplies of their choice from notebooks, binders, folders, pencils, rulers, and even backpacks.

Kids Cooking Coalition facilitated two interactive activities throughout the event. “Go-Slow-Whoa”: a tool to think about the context of healthy foods, and “Rethink Your Drink”: an activity to better understand sugar content in different popular beverages like soda, tea, and juice.

Additionally, student leaders facilitated a food demonstration where they prepared apple pie smoothies and white bean chicken chili for those in attendance. Recipe cards were distributed to community members so that they could be easily recreated at home.

Around 200 community members attended Building Community day at Blum Park in Winston-Salem's Boston-Thurmond neighborhood. Residents had the opportunity to engage with vendors to discuss health and wellness education along with food tastings.


On October 30, over 800 children from Winston-Salem schools and agencies came to Wake Forest University for the 31st annual Project Pumpkin. This year nearly 350 faculty, staff, and students came together in the Sutton Center to create an engaging environment for children in the community to trick-or-treat to the "Planet Pumpkin" theme. Over 95 student groups and University departments created educational activities and games while keeping in the spirit with Halloween costumes and candy.

Earlier in the month, student volunteers with Project Pumpkin held nine outreach events throughout Forsyth County, that engaged over 500 children. At each event, participating schools and agencies participated in theme-related games and activities. These events expanded the total reach of the event to over 1,000 local children. Additionally, student leaders and volunteers raised over $5,000.00 through the t-shirt sales and other fundraising events to support the Freedom School at Wake Forest University.

This year’s theme “Planet Pumpkin” truly made the event an “out of this world” experience while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Despite the rain, Planet Pumpkin was an “astronomical” success thanks to both the student volunteers and leaders who made this event possible.


Each November Campus Kitchen celebrates TurkeyPalooza by preparing scratch-made turkey dinners for its community partners in celebration of the Thanksgiving Holiday. In its 15th year, TurkeyPalooza celebrated it’s biggest accomplishment to date, delivering over 500 meals throughout Winston-Salem. With the help of 88 Campus Kitchen volunteers and over 24 hours of cooking shifts, Wake Forest students made 364 meals that were delivered to various community partners throughout the Triad.

This year, Harvest Table Culinary Group, the University’s on-campus food service provider, prepared an additional 200 meals for both Samaritan Ministries and the Aster Park Community, that were delivered in partnership with Campus Kitchen volunteers.

This year’s menu for TurkeyPalooza featured roasted local turkeys, green beans and mashed sweet potatoes from Campus Garden, mixed-vegetable stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, and pumpkin cookies. Recipients of the meals created by Harvest Table received a different menu that featured turkey, salad, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, and pie.

Americorps vista members make impact throughout winston-salem

This Fall, the Office of Civic & Community Engagement (OCCE) welcomed 19 AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members to the Winston Salem Community Action Coalition. Members are placed in full-time, capacity-building roles with partnering community organizations throughout Winston-Salem in the areas of educational equity, economic empowerment, and health and food justice. United by their passion to make a difference, VISTA members have vowed to complete a year of national service and create meaningful change in Winston-Salem and beyond

Since August, VISTA members helped Winston-Salem community partners raise $3,905 worth of in-kind donations and $131,254 in cash donations. In total VISTAs engaged 408 community members in their event programming. Additionally, they helped to recruit 117 community volunteers, who went on to volunteer for a total of 620 hours. Additionally, VISTAs contributed 185 hours to grant writing, obtaining a total of 11 grants.

[From left to right, top to bottom] Members of the Winston-Salem Community Action Coalition took part in the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance by volunteering at the WFU Campus Garden; Amelia Bass (Kids Cooking Coalition), Jasmine Hodges (Office of Civic & Community Engagement), and Maggie Powell (Senior Services) attend the AmeriCorps VISTA In-Service Training conference in Baltimore, Md.; Iesha Carter tables for LEAD Girls of NC in Bailey Park for the Moonlight Madness 5k Run; ABC of NC visits the Reynolda Campus for its monthly activity day to learn more about WFU University Police.


This fall, the Office of Civic & Community Engagement welcomed its fifth Dash Corps cohort of 15 first- and second-year students and 6 mentors. Dash Corps, a year-long project-based learning program, places students on project teams with upper-class mentors. Each team is paired with a nonprofit that has identified a community need. This year's projects are:

  • ABC OF NC | Website Vision & Redesign: Students will work with staff and clients to rethink the website around audience needs, making it more accessible, and train staff on how to maintain the design.
  • Down Syndrome Association of Greater Winston-Salem | Teen Community Building: Students will work to develop a plan for both teen and young adult engagement and community-building, and develop pathways for Wake Forest students to support those efforts.
  • Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods | Neighborhood Asset Maps: Through canvassing and resident interviews, students will develop asset maps for neighborhoods supported by NBN, with a long-term goal of creating a dynamic community asset map.
  • Samaritan Ministries | Tracking System: Students will develop a tracking system for in-kind donations, by conducting an audit of current systems, identifying needs, and building a system for Samaritan Ministries.
  • WS Mixxer | Community Garden Strategic Plan: Students will develop both a strategic and a marketing plan for a multi-use community garden at the organization’s headquarters on Martin Luther King Drive near downtown Winston-Salem. While the garden will produce food, the primary goal is to create a “test site” for urban agriculture where makers experiment with growing plants for sale.

nerd reaches over 1,000 community members this fall

The Network of Educational Resources and Development (NERD) is a training and leadership program for Wake Forest students interested in mentoring, tutoring, and educational advocacy. This semester, the network brought together 19 organizations that serve Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS). Wake Forest Students attended a school board meeting, district-wide parent meeting and supported efforts on campus serving K-12 students.

NERD's impact in the community:

  • Over 700 parents/families in the WS/FCS system have been reached by NERD's efforts.
  • 312 WS/FCS students have been affected through programming events with NERD.
  • 304 Wake Forest students have been trained to work in the WS/FCS system.

2019-21 mellon ace fellows announced

A new class of Academic and Community Engaged (ACE) Faculty Fellows was announced this semester, with a focus on the engaged humanities for the 2019-2021 academic years. The engaged humanities cohort is possible through generous grant funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Humanities Engaged: Generating Learning, Remaking Community, supports community partnerships for engaged teaching and research in the humanities at Wake Forest.

The OCCE is proud to introduce this select group of Wake Forest faculty: Meredith Farmer (Assistant Teaching Professor, Core Literature), Francisco Gellegos (Assistant Professor, Philosophy), Seth Hayden (Assistant Professor of Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Program Coordinator), Raisur Rahman (Assistant Professor, History), John Senior (Director of the Art of Ministry, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and Religious Leadership, Director of the Collaborative for Religious Leadership), and Ivan Weiss (Assistant Professor of the Practice, Journalism


Over the past year, the Office of Civic & Community Engagement has welcomed two new staff members: Deb Marke and Camry Wilborn.

Marke (WFU ‘16) serves as Assistant Director of Advocacy and Social Justice Education where she directs the Social Justice Incubator, Branches Social Justice Retreat, the College Advocacy Summit, and coordinates both the Deacs Decide election engagement project and Wake Alternative Break. Marke returns to Wake Forest after serving as the Program Coordinator for Leadership and Activism in the Women's Center at the University of Cincinnati, where she was named Outstanding New Professional.

In her role as Assistant Director of Community Partnerships, Wilborn (WFU ‘16) works to identify, develop and maintain strategic partnerships with community organizations, and anchors the satellite community office space for the OCCE. Wilborn returns to the University after serving as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Wake Forest Baptist Health, and receiving her Masters in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

investing in community partnerships

As the hub of community-based activity at Wake Forest, the OCCE aims to leverage resources, build capacity, and incubate community initiatives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and beyond. The OCCE’s Community Partnerships team, anchored by Shelley Sizemore and Camry Wilborn, helps achieve that purpose by working with community partners to build capacity, develop collaborations and measure impact. The goal: to both maintain long-term, historical community relationships and build new partnerships with organizations and emerging projects in the Winston-Salem Community.

Over the past six months the OCCE has worked to identify ways to both highlight the existing community partnerships and establish processes that allow new and existing community organizations to partner with Wake Forest.

  • Community Partner Directory: Explore community partners through an interactive map or by focus area.
  • Ways to Partner: Community partners can collaborate with Wake Forest via program support, service-learning, or research.
  • Community Office Space: To address the pertinent need to be physically present in the community, the OCCE opened a satellite office space located at 915 Bridge Street, with open office hours each Tuesday from 3:00-6:30 PM.
  • Community Resources: Community partners can partner with Wake Forest to support programming, build capacity, facilitate community-based learning and research, and so much more.
  • Interest Form: Community partners can easily connect with the OCCE via the “Engage With Us Form” to partner with the University or seek resources that will be beneficial to their organization.

coming this spring from the occe

January 25: Martin Luther King Read-In Day

February 7: Kids' Cooking Coalition Competition

February 12: Get Connected Series, Economic Development (hosted by Goodwill)

March 7-15: Wake Alternative Break, Civil Rights Tour

March 21: Wake N' Shake 2020

April 8: D.E.S.K.

April 14: OCCE End of Year Celebration

April 15: Get Connected Series, Education (hosted by Kimberly Park Elementary School)

April 23: Parent Power, Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools

*Dates are subject to change

Connect with the Office of Civic & Community Engagement through service, philanthropy, social justice education, democratic engagement, and community-based learning.

Have questions? Want to get involved? Come visit us in Benson 506!


WFU Photo