Rolling the Quad: the Symbol of Wake Forest Pride, Spirit and Unity
Wake Forest University’s dedicated and enthusiastic students pride themselves on tradition. Since the university’s move from Wake Forest, North Carolina to Winston-Salem in 1956, students have been creating traditions to make the new campus location their own. One of the most important and distinctive traditions includes “rolling the quad.” It began in 1961 when students found a way to celebrate amazing athletic victories: “TP-ing” Hearn Plaza.
After a few years of throwing toilet paper into the trees of Hearn Plaza, also referred to as the upper quad, the trend quickly became a tradition. Alumni would return to campus for Homecoming and Parents Weekend, with hopes of winning a football or basketball game, the most popular reason to roll the quad. One of the biggest “quad rollings” was in 2006 when Wake Forest beat Georgia Tech for the ACC football championship. Hundreds of students, faculty and alumni dashed from BB&T Field to Hearn Plaza to celebrate their victory. I remember my first time rolling the quad when Wake Forest beat the UNC Tarheels the fall of my freshman year. It was an absolutely overwhelming feeling, a feeling that only Demon Deacons can truly understand.
Though athletic victories have been the most popular reason to roll the quad, the act has expanded to cultural, political and academic events as well. For example, students rolled the quad after the 2000 Presidential Debate between George W. Bush and Al Gore that took place in Wake Forest’s very own Wait Chapel. Members of both political parties joined together in this monumental event in the school’s history to express their school pride. In addition, students rolled the quad after our math club won the Mathematical Contest in Modeling, a competitive international math contest, in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Wake Forest is a very eco-friendly university; however, sustainability often comes into question. Concerns about throwing streamers and toilet paper into trees are often discussed among prospective families and those outside the community. Our defense includes the fact that the toilet paper on campus is biodegradable, but this defense is not needed when one considers the main reasons for rolling the quad. It is more than “trashing” Hearn Plaza. It symbolizes everything that embodies Wake Forest University: pride, spirit and unity. The excitement of winning sports games, hosting a presidential debate, or representing Wake Forest on national and international levels ignites our passion for our school and helps us remember why we are Demon Deacons. Rolling the quad demonstrates our uniqueness and allows us to come together as a student body to express our school spirit. Some of Wake Forest’s more intense fans dorm storm while screaming “Roll the quad! Go Deacs!” Rolling the quad is the best tradition that represents Wake Forest University, and it will continue for many generations to come!
Special thanks to Emily Kalis, Wake Forest University Class of 2016, and Spring Semester UQ VIP intern for this post.