Forestry 101: A college's quirky take on orientation

Wake Forest University (WFU) is shaking off "stuffy orientation brochures for something more whimsical," writes Suhauna Hussain for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Acting as both a campus guide and keepsake, Forestry 101 is a 138-page hardcover book handed out to all incoming freshman with tongue in cheek tips like "keep a secret stash of double-roll toilet paper," writes Hussain.

Although the guide includes the usual details a new student should know, Forestry 101 takes an intentionally irreverent approach to the "usually very dry and scientific" orientation process, says Hayes Henderson, assistant vice president of creative communications.

But Forestry 101 is not just about "boosting school spirt," notes Hussain. The guide also makes sure students don't feel they're being "thrown to the wolves" as they adjust to college life, says Christy Buchannan, senior associate dean for academic advising.

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Striking a balance between "entertaining and informational content is key," says Henderson. For Henderson, the guidebook's goal is to share the "essence of what Wake Forest is." Which means that tip about double-roll toilet paper is more than just life advice "for those unexpected bathroom needs," writes Hussain. The tip is actually part of a larger illustration titled "How to Toss Like a Boss" that details how new students can celebrate those big athletic wins, she notes.

While the cost of printing and mailing a hardcover book may not seem worthwhile in today's digital age, a recent survey found that 95% of WFU students think the college should continue to publish it, reports Hussain. Perhaps more importantly, parents love it as well, she notes (Hussain, Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/27).


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