In August, the Office of Civic & Community Engagement celebrated its first anniversary. Even in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, students, faculty, and staff found innovative ways to collaborate with community partners in Winston-Salem.

The OCCE team launched a High Skill Volunteer Network in partnership with HandsOn Northwest NC; issued eight mini-grants to support youth-led, community-based projects through The Youth Engagement Council; and worked with the Office of the Dean of the College to design and facilitate the inaugural Pro Humanitate Corps. In addition, we adapted long-standing traditions, including Hit the Bricks and TurkeyPalooza, and worked collaboratively with students to Get Out the Vote in the 2020 Election. Please read about these and other highlights below.

Have a wonderful holiday season and relaxing winter break!

IN 2020, DEACS Decided.

Throughout the semester, the Office of Civic & Community Engagement, Deacs Decide Steering Committee, and Deacs Decide Fellows collaborated to register voters, educate students on the voting process, provide non-partisan information about candidates, and work on Get Out the Vote efforts in advance of the 2020 Election on November 3.

Deacs Decide registered or re-registered 387 students to vote in North Carolina prior to the voter registration deadline, held various debate watch events, and assisted students with mail-in ballot questions. For the first time, students, faculty, and staff could walk from campus to the early voting location at Winston-Salem First Assembly. In addition, student organizations led "March to the Polls" during the one-stop early voting period.

Deacs Decide received generous support from the Campus Election Engagement Project, Students Learn Students Vote Coalition, Alliance for Youth Organizing, MTV's +1 The Polls, and the Wake Forest Student Activities Fund.

Get Out The Vote efforts were highlighted by the March to the Polls initiative, which saw a different student organization lead its membership to the polls each day of early voting in North Carolina. After campus moved to 'orange' operating status Marches were canceled, however student organizations continued to share Get Out The Vote information and galvanize their members to make it to the polls.

Hit The Bricks Raises $130,115.00, Breaks Fundraising Record

Hit The Bricks, the annual campus tradition that takes place each fall in honor of Brian Piccolo, broke its fundraising record this year, raising $130,115.00 for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund. The milestone marked the first time the event surpassed $100,000 in annual funds raised since it began in 2003.

Over 1,051 members of the Wake Forest community including students, alumni, faculty, and staff participated, logging 7,933 miles. To meet social distancing requirements the event – usually a day-long relay race – was held over four days starting on Sept. 28 and ending on Oct. 1. This year, Hit The Bricks included both on-campus and virtual activities.

Funds raised from Hit The Bricks support the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Given this year’s total, Hit The Bricks and other student-led initiatives have raised $4,605,657 for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund.

Individuals were able to participate in various activities throughout the event, including a virtual scavenger hunt for commemorative bricks, 'Sprint the Bricks' for bonus points, or by purchasing a luminary in honor of someone who has lost or continues to fight their battle against cancer. To meet social distancing, the Closing Ceremony was closed to the public. Hit The Bricks student leadership was joined by the team that ran the most miles and the team that raised the most money for the final, silent lap around Hearn Plaza and to hear from guest speakers President Nathan O. Hatch (pictured) and The Rev. Timothy L. Auman, University Chaplain.


As a pillar of the Office of Civic & Community Engagement, education equity has remained at the forefront of our work during the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools moved to virtual learning last spring, the OCCE explored ways to make an impact in the lives of local school children by creating new and re-imagined programs, and building on existing partnerships.

  • Virtual Tutoring: This fall, 354 Winston-Salem Forsyth County School students were matched with WFU tutors for a free, one-hour tutoring session each week.
  • Virtual Music Mentoring: In partnership with the Wake Forest Music Department, 23 local K-12 students were matched with WFU students for virtual vocal and/or instrumental lessons for weekly, one-hour mentoring sessions.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Virtual Mentoring: In partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Forsyth and Davie Counties (BBBS) 20 WFU students were matched with BBBS Littles on the waiting list for weekly mentoring sessions to help with homework, play virtual games, or simply have a conversation.
  • Freedom School Book Drive: With Dr. Dani Parker Moore, the OCCE helped to redistribute donated books from the WFU Freedom School to two local remote learning centers. With the donation, Hoops4LYFE and T.U.R.N. each received over 50 bags of books to distribute to the families they serve.
  • Virtual Craft Nights: In conjunction with Project Pumpkin, over 15 different families and 20 children joined WFU students for two nights of seasonal crafts in a virtual setting.

WFU Students Provide stem & art Kits for Elementary Children

In an effort led by Wake Academy - advised by Camry Wilborn, Assistant Director of Community Partnerships - 500 STEM and art kits were provided to two Winston-Salem Elementary schools.

A student organization, Wake Academy develops hands-on activities to make learning fun for local children. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wake Academy partnered with Kimberley Park Elementary School on Saturdays to provide science experiments, arts and crafts, and physical education activities. Now, members tutor local children virtually through the OCCE's virtual tutoring program. In an effort to offer hands-on activities during the pandemic, Wake Academy President Sara Hong ('21) secured funding to provide education kits for local children.

Students at Cook Literacy Model School had gooey fun while channeling their inner chemists by mixing glue, contact solution, baking powder, shaving cream and food coloring to make slime. Meanwhile, students from Kimberley Park used paint brushes and brightly colored tissue paper to create a beautiful, autumn sunset.

Turkeypalooza feeds 200 for this year's holiday season

Each November, Campus Kitchen celebrates Turkeypalooza by preparing scratch-made turkey dinners for community partners in celebration of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Brad Shugoll, Associate Director of Service & Leadership, worked with 50 student volunteers to prepare 200 Thanksgiving meals. Students followed health and safety guidelines to prepare and deliver meals in the community.

This year, prepared meals were delivered to Azalea Terrace, N.C. Faith Health, Latino Community Services and Aster Park and consisted of turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans and pumpkin cookies.

In partnership with the School of Business Graduate Service Coalition, Campus Kitchen also coordinated a non-perishable food drive. Food Lion supplied a matching donation of the food items, including canned vegetables, canned fruit, rice and pasta. Together, students prepared 100 grocery bags for donation over the winter break.

Wake Forest students and Campus Kitchen volunteers help cook, pack, and deliver over 200 Thanksgiving meals for community partners during the annual Turkeypalooza festivities.

A Community conversation on covid-19

Members of the 'Community Conversation on COVID-19: Food & Health' webinar prior to the start of the event on September 10, 2020. Top row (left to right): Camry Wilborn - WFU Office of Civic & Community Engagement, Brad Shugoll - WFU Office of Civic & Community Engagement, Megan Regan - Wake Forest Economics Department, and Rev. Angela Brown - Faith Health NC. Bottom row (left to right): Eric Aft - Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC, Rachel Zimmer DNP - Wake Forest School of Medicine, Hannah Getachew - Wake Forest Student, and Cecille Paquette- Wake Forest Student.

In partnership with the Race Inequality and Policy Initiative, Action 4 Equity, and Forsyth Futures, the OCCE hosted A Community Conversation on COVID-19.

Free and open to the public, three different panels featuring various community leaders discussed the impact of COVID-19 in Winston-Salem. Panels focused on food and health, educational equity, and nonprofit funding. Members of the OCCE’s Summer Undergraduate Research Collaborative also presented their research findings.

dash corps returns for year six, welcomes new cohort

In its sixth year, Dash Corps welcomed 16 Wake Forest student participants and five student leaders. This year's cohort also marked the first time the program was open to participants of all years, having previously been limited to first- and second-year students. A year-long, project-based learning program, Dash Corps places students on project teams with peer leaders. Each team is paired with a nonprofit that has identified a community need. This year, the projects are:

  • Community Design Studio: Students will develop and refine design education programs for both middle and high school students. Students will focus on making the programs more accessible, and create outreach plans to yield more diverse participants.
  • HandsOn NWNC: Students will help to identify additional corporate connections by creating short testimonial videos of past partners who have worked alongside or benefited from HandsOn NWNC programs.
  • Forsyth County Young Leaders Program: Students will assist with marketing strategies to advertise a new mobile app for youth volunteer service opportunities in Winston-Salem. Students will also create a social media campaign to increase youth volunteerism in the area.

Americorps*vista program celebrates five years of service in winston-salem

Annie Fullwood, a current member of the Winston-Salem Community Action Coalition, pictured at the 2020 MLK Jr. Read-In Event, representing her placement organization, the Piedmont Environmental Alliance.

For the past five years, members of the Winston-Salem Community Action Coalition (WSCAC) have been serving the Winston-Salem community. Hosted by the Wake Forest Office of Civic & Community Engagement (OCCE), the WSCAC is part of the AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program, a federal program that helps eradicate poverty through education, economic empowerment, food security and more.

Since it began, the WSCAC has hosted 83 VISTAs as either full-time corps members (36) or short-term Summer Associates (47). Together, those 83 WSCAC members have engaged 5,808 volunteers, facilitated 13,444 community service hours, and secured $862,555.80 in cash resources for Winston-Salem community organizations.

In 2015, the project started with four full-time members; today, nineteen members serve at organizations throughout Winston-Salem. At this point, 38 different community organizations have hosted VISTA members. While full-time members support the majority of the project, Summer Associates assist both the Wake Forest Freedom School and summer food access programs at Wake Forest, along with virtual projects in capacity-building roles.


This October, in collaboration with HandsOn Northwest North Carolina, the OCCE launched the High Skill Volunteer Network for members of the Wake Forest community. Rooted in the concept of recruiting skill-based volunteers, the network leverages the specialized skills and talents of individuals at Wake Forest to help strengthen the infrastructure and operational effectiveness of local nonprofits that are seeking assistance.

The program matches volunteers with community partners who have identified a need for a high-skill volunteer. Examples include developing a business plan, building a website, or training staff in a specific content area. Some projects are short-term, while others require a long-term commitment. To learn more, please reach out to Shelley Sizemore, Director of Community Partnerships.

Behind the Face Mask: Stories of COVID-19

In partnership with the ZSR Library and MUSE Winston-Salem, the Office of Civic & Community Engagement created the podcast, Behind The Face Mask: Stories of COVID-19.

A team of 15 Wake Forest students participated in the OCCE's virtual summer program and interviewed local community members about the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted healthcare, small businesses, and racial inequality in Winston-Salem. The project continued through the fall semester, with new episodes available on Spotify in January.


Wake Forest's motto, Pro Humanitate, calls members of the WFU community to use their knowledge, talents, and compassion for the public good. It can mean donating time and resources to our communities, building coalitions for social change, or developing a lifelong commitment to pursuing one's best self.

This semester, the Office of Civic & Community Engagement has highlighted work by WFU students in both the classroom and the community. Learn more about these student groups:


WFU Photo