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Shaking up Cancer with Graham Gilliam

Graham Gilliam

Hometown: Owensboro, Kentucky

Major: Economics

Her Campus (HC): When did you start to become involved with Wake N’ Shake?

Graham Gilliam (GG): When I was a freshman, I was a six-hour marathon dancer. When I first showed up, I realized that I made a mistake of not signing up for the full 12 hours. I just thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Immediately after, I started to get involved with planning the next year’s event. One of my fraternity brothers was on the exec board during the first year I participated, and he encouraged me to apply for exec the following year. I’ve stuck with it every year since.

HC: What’s your favorite memory from Wake N’ Shake?

GG: Ever since freshman year, my favorite memory of Wake N’ Shake has been that moment when everybody is holding up a glow stick to represent someone in their lives who has been impacted by cancer. Seeing literally 1,200 people with their hands up really struck me at the core. That’s something I’ve looked forward to every year since, just to share that memory with everybody each year who attends Wake N’ Shake.

HC: What was your goal in planning for Wake N’ Shake this year?

GG: It’s going to be a little different than in the past. With all the new construction on campus, we don’t have the same gym as we have had in years prior. We’ll be in the Sutton Center with more limited space. The exec board has been working really hard to make sure everything is going to run smoothly, just like it has in the past. We want to raise as much money or even more as we did last year, that’s definitely a goal. Even if we don’t meet that, it’s always a goal to just get more people on campus involved with Wake N’ Shake. We were at 1,200 participants last year, and we are hoping to get that number up this time around.

HC: What’s something you love about Wake?

GG: I really like the community feel at Wake. When I visited my brother who went here before me, it always felt like a very welcoming place with friendly people. All his friends who I met just made me feel right at home. The “Wake Bubble” can be good and bad, but I like that with such a close-knit group of people in one place it really feels like home.


HC: What other activities are you involved in at Wake?

GG: I am a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, and I am a practice player for Women’s Basketball team. I also play the bells in Wait Chapel, and I am involved with some other stuff off campus as well.

HC: Do you have any advice for freshmen or people who want to seek leadership opportunities on campus?

GG: Get involved at the Involvement fair. Go around and talk to 10-15 organizations, get a good feel of their mission and goals, and how they run their organizations. I think the Student Engagement fair is the first place to start if you want to get more involved. Once you get through your freshmen and sophomore years, look to broaden your organizations, and start to get involved in Winston-Salem. 


photos courtesy of Graham Gilliam 

Wake Forest '20 "The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." -Oprah Winfrey
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