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Department - Housing, Dining & Residence Life

My Residence Life Family

As a junior I thought I was prepared for the upcoming school year, especially in my role as a second year RA on East Campus. I expected my life to be relatively similar to my sophomore year in Bell Tower, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the changes that have come with a new RA team in Blackwell this year. Not only do I have 34 new freshmen in my hallway, but I also have five new RA’s who have become my residence life family.

Even as an RA, I sometimes feel slightly out of place being an upperclassman on a freshman campus. It’s hard to maintain relationships with the people in my own class because I live far away, and sometimes it’s difficult to be close friends with freshmen because they view RA’s as an authority. But that’s why it’s important to have a few RA friends who are in the same situation. Facing the same challenges brings us closer together, and when the RA team is strong, the overall community of the dorm is stronger, too.

The Blackwell team this year is five sophomores and myself, so I’ve become the “veteran” RA. I’m more confident this year in my ability to build community through planning events, and I’ve helped the new RA’s to learn about the logistics of our role; the paperwork, planning, and meetings can be a little confusing at the beginning of the year. However, I have had a lot to learn from them as well. They bring fresh new ideas to the team, and they have renewed my enthusiasm for building community. It can be frustrating when people don’t come to programs, but having a team of new RA’s who are excited to work hard for the dorm is refreshing and inspiring.

Before the freshmen arrived on campus, the RA’s went through a week of training to learn and practice the skill of solving problems. We discussed the policies and procedures of dealing with various situations ranging from alcohol and drugs to homesick and depressed students. It’s a lot of information to pack into one week, and after training during the day the teams in each dorm completed tasks such as putting up bulletin boards, making door decorations, and checking for damages. Training could be overwhelming and stressful, but the challenges provided a great way to bond with the other RA’s on our teams. We worked in small groups to accomplish tasks and shared individual experiences during training sessions to help each other learn about new ways to solve problems. When we weren’t working we spent time together at the gym, watching movies, and getting to know one another better. I’m appreciative to have such a supportive team to work with this year, and I’m excited to see how we’ll continue working together to create a home for the freshmen of Blackwell.

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New Off-Campus Housing Site

Looking for off-campus housing? Housing, Dining and Residence Life (HDRL) has you covered!

We are proud to announce the launch of a new website to simplify the off-campus housing search for students, parents, faculty and staff, and for area property owners and managers.

The new site offers a user-friendly, searchable database for housing around campus, and in the broader Durham area. It includes photographs and floor plans; descriptions of amenities; maps showing proximity to campus; links to property owner information; a roommate matching feature; and more.

We hope you find this tool useful in your search for off campus housing that meets your needs.

For more information, please visit studentaffairs.duke.edu/hdrl and click on “living off campus” in the left hand menu. Questions? Contact HDRL at housing@studentaffairs.duke.edu.

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Green Dining Awards

Duke Dining locations recognized for sustainability efforts!

It isn't uncommon for Fares Hanna, the owner of Twinnie's and Blue Express eateries on campus, to spend time researching user-friendly, compostable to-go containers or rearranging his kitchens to accommodate reusable china and silverware.

Both locations were just crowned "Most Improved" in the Green Dining Awards, which highlights Duke eateries and their sustainable practices every year, since 2010.

Read more.

 

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Duke Dining Bans Styrofoam

Read about it here on Duke Today!

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You can't spell art without RA

Do you ever pay attention to the walls of your dorm? I know I don’t. Usually I’m in such a rush that the trip out of my room, down the stairs, and into the cold outdoors is just a blur. However, after talking with a senior RA on West campus, I'm starting to pay attention to the wall art around my dorm.

Torie Scott, a second year RA in Kilgo House O, created a small photo gallery titled “One Wild and Precious Life” in an entrance of her dorm. It was her Resident Coordinator’s idea to put up photographs of nature in the otherwise empty lobby, and in the coming weeks they plan to have a grand opening “party” (the RA version of a party) to celebrate her work. After she graduates, the plan is to have another RA next year change the scenery in the gallery with new photographs.

As a lucky second year resident of Hotel Bell on East, I realize the importance of the appearance of the inside of a dorm. It truly makes a difference to the experience on campus. I’ve become slightly spoiled living in one of the best looking residence halls I’ve seen so far at Duke. The halls are painted orange and yellow with wooden panels across the lower half, and the rooms are all freshly painted and carpeted. There is some art around the dorm, too, but it is not student produced (as far as I know). It seems like it’s there to take up space on the wall rather than to inspire students. It would be great if we had more displays of student creativity around our living spaces. Art produced by fellow Duke students would give dorms a personal and inviting atmosphere, something they currently lack.

While her residents haven’t said very much about the gallery yet, news about her project will spread after the opening party. However, the purpose of the gallery isn’t to create a powerful bonding experience among residents; rather, it reminds Duke students of the world outside stressful academics and activities at school. The green photos of leaves, dragonflies, and flowers represent the small beautiful sights in life that we frequently overlook in our rush through each day at Duke. The precious world outside the classroom is a refreshing theme to encounter here. Her gallery also serves to show the creativity of a Duke student who cares about her dorm. I asked Torie what she wanted me to take away from our conversation, and she told me that she just loved being an RA; it’s one of the best commitments she’s made at Duke. She enjoys being a resource for her residents and creating a healthy, friendly community in her hall. While the gallery may not help people to make friends, it shows them that someone cares about the dorm. Someone wants it to be a welcoming, colorful place to live.

Torie will be graduating this spring. Torie’s title “One Wild and Precious Life” sums up the experience at Duke perfectly. Our precious four years here are passing more quickly than we ever imagined they could.

Audience: 

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Collaborative Efforts Help to Feed Those in Need

On any given day, Urban Ministries of Durham may provide about 600 meals between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thanks to a partnership between Duke Dining and Urban Ministries of Durham, some of those meals are easier to plan, prepare and provide to people in need. Last week, Duke handed over between 50 to 75 pounds of food to the local shelter that will use it to feed local residents. Read full article here.

 

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It's All About Perspective

By the end of freshman year most students have come to love East Campus.  Frankly, I still miss East in a lot of ways.  I miss knowing that almost everyone on the quad was a member of my class.  I wish that I could still count on the fact that it was more likely than not that I would run into someone I knew when getting breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I will always think that Brodeie is way better than Wilson, and I will feel a stronger affiliation to Southgate than any other place I’ve lived on campus.  For me, East Campus means community.  There is an overwhelming sense that the people you are living with get you.  Everyone comes into freshman year vulnerable, and looking for a sense of belonging.  The East Campus community was deliberately designed to foster that very sense of belonging, and was directly tied to where you live. As a freshman, I had so much pride in my dorm, and was quick to claim that it was far superior to any other.  I loved that I was really close with the people in my hall, and that the norm was to keep your door open instead of closed.  All of these things in some small way, helped me to find a sense of place at Duke.

But, what happens when you leave? Objectively, West Campus is a different world.  Suddenly, you can’t be sure whether the person in line with you at The Loop is a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior.  You don’t know whether the people in your common room actually live in your dorm, or are just passing through.  Many times you won’t know everyone in your hall, and the doors seem to be closed more often than they are open.  West Campus is an adjustment, and a lot of times I felt like a small fish in a big pond.  It’s hard when all of your friends don’t live in the same place that you do, and it can feel lonely at times.  I always thought it was interesting that something so small, like a shift in campuses, can have such an impact on the sense of community that students feel.  It makes sense.  It’s hard when your friends don’t live right down the hall, and making plans changes from knocking on someone’s door to scheduling time to meet up.

I guess what I’m getting at, is that sophomore slump is real, and its okay to feel lonely.  I know tons of students who have said that sophomore year was a rude awakening.  I think that these feelings of disenchantment are tied to two things, a lack of community (attributed to leaving East Campus), and increased academic expectations.  Sophomore year comes with a whole new set of challenges.  Leaving the insecurities of freshman year behind, students are confronted with harder classes, greater extracurricular involvement, and a new environment.  I think that all of these things together make it harder for students to feel the sense of community that they had as a freshman.  But, sophomore year has its advantages too, and West Campus has its own sense of community though different.

I had a serious bout of sophomore slump.  I felt alone a lot of the time, and it bothered me that all of my closest friends were spread out all over campus.  My classes were hard, and I had to completely rethink the way that I studied and prepared.  I spent a lot of time wishing that I could go back to freshman year, to my small Southgate bubble, to the comforts of introductory classes, and the reliability of Market Place brunches.  But, sophomore year was also a time of growth.  I learned to look at some of my stressors as opportunities.  Even though it frustrated me that I didn’t feel the same sense of community on West Campus, it forced me to be proactive about seeking it out.  My sophomore slump helped me to make a concerted effort to seek friends out.  Closed doors in my hall, allowed me to make conversation with people in the common room.  Hard classes helped me to build a broader network, and to meet with professors on a regular basis.  Don’t let the slump get you down!  It may no be freshman year, but sophomore year can be just as amazing.  It’s all about perspective.

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Finding your way...

My first post goes out to the freshman.  Welcome to Duke!  I hope the start of your Duke experience has been as much of a whirlwind for you as it was for me!  I remember these first couple weeks at Duke being exciting, challenging, ridiculous, silly, daunting, and many times, a bit lonely.  Some people have a seamless transition into Duke, but those people are few, and far between.  I want to encourage those freshman still struggling to find your place here.  It doesn’t happen over night, nor should it!  If you haven’t found your crew, don’t worry, chances are neither have most people.  You are not alone. Trust me, it is so important to seek out people you connect with, which can be very different from those you gravitate toward initially.  Remember, everyone is in the same position that you are, most people didn’t arrive at Duke with an established group of friends, so take time in your first weeks to get to know people who are in your classes, in your hall and even on the bus!  Freshman year is AWKWARD, but it’s awkward for everyone.  It’s all about perspective.

  • “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”:  My favorite advisor in the Career Center, shameless shout-out to Anita Stockmans, ends all of her emails this way.  It’s true!  Stick to who your values, let them guide you most of the time you won’t go wrong.  
  • Challenge your comfort zone, step outside of it: It’s very easy to settle into a routine.  But some of my most important lessons came from going off the beaten path.  Do things that make you uncomfortable.  Try taking classes in subjects where you might not be as strong. Don’t worry Pass/Fail is a thing here.  Find a way to connect with people that you wouldn’t normally interact with.
  • Talk to professors:  Take advantage of the amazing professors at Duke.  Go to office hours!  Talk after class! Organize a Flunch! Most professors at Duke are leaders in their field, and they want to talk to you about their work, life, or just about anything!  Networking is a big part of life, and getting to know your professors outside of the classroom will only make you a stronger student.  The relationships you create may even lead to a great job recommendation in the future.  
  • It is always more awkward to ignore someone, than it is to say hello: It is never a good idea to pretend you’ve never met the person in line behind you at the Market Place.  I promise that they remember meeting you, even if it was at Shooters, and I swear it won’t kill you to say “hey, what’s up?” The awkward eye-contact-glance-away is a chronic Duke problem!  It won’t help you make friends, it definitely makes everyone uncomfortable, and only ensures that every time you see that person on the quad for the next 4 years, you will have to pretend that you never took Writing 20 together, lived 3 dorms down from them, or that you didn’t bond over a harrowing rendition of We Can’t Stop while standing on the bar at Shooters…
  • Make time for personal time:  I often describe the Duke experience as analogous to running on a treadmill with no stop/pause button that being said, take time for yourself.  Carve out a bit of space in your day where you do things that center you.  Call your mom, go for a run, take a walk off campus, bake something!  Whatever it is, you can always make time for the things that matter most to you.  I wish I had done this more freshman year.  Stress comes with the territory, it’s manageable. Find a routine that helps you perform to the best of your ability.
  • Ignore FOMO:  I did many things freshman year because I had a chronic case of FOMO (fear of missing out).  Prioritize!  Plan ahead. Whatever you are missing, is not going to make, or break, your Duke social experience.  It is exhausting to consistently calibrate your life experiences to those of your pears.  Actually, it is completely irrational!  Do you! Everyone else is doing them.
  • Small talk MATTERS:  “Hi, I’m Alex.”  Those three simple words changed the dynamic of my freshman experience.  I made some of my best friends at Duke in South Gate, standing in line for ice cream on the first night of school.  “Hi, I’m Alex,” that’s all it took for me to feel more comfortable as I scooped Oreos onto my slightly melted pile of chocolate ice cream.  “Hi, I’m Alex,” prompted me to say “Hi, I’m Dani.”  “Hi, I’m Alex,” led to “Dani this is Ali, she lives in our hall.”  The conversation that laid the foundation for some of my longest lasting friendships at Duke started with an introduction, and a sloppy bowl of ice cream.  I was lucky.  A lot of people don’t have an Alex, but the point is that it doesn’t take much to be one.
  • Don’t get comfortable:  You may think that you have it all figured out, but there is always room for growth!   
  • Find a mentor:  Find someone at Duke who will be your principle stakeholder.  Develop relationships with people you admire, and who can, and will make you a better person.  Seek out faculty, professors, and even students who have skills that you admire.  Find someone who will be invested in your future.
  • Have F-U-N:  Duke is an amazing, crazy, unpredictable, fantastic, and beautiful ride.  Don’t forget to make memories that count.



 

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So Casey, why did you come to Duke?

I must have been asked at least a hundred times so far, “So Casey, why did you come to Duke?”  And my answer is always the same. I tell the story of being on the wait-list and receiving a surprising phone call from the admissions office. I wish I could finish the story by telling people I jumped with glee at the exciting news, but the truth is I had already decided to go to Drexel.  Although I wasn’t overly anxious to live in Philadelphia, I wanted the process of choosing a college to be over. I was also upset that Duke hadn’t accepted me sooner than mid-May. But no matter how sour I was over my college decision, I just couldn’t say no to Duke University.

When I look back on that moment of indecision, I can’t believe myself.  My freshman year at Duke was both an enriching and challenging experience, and I learned that even after eighteen years of life, I discovered several new facts about myself:

1. Apparently, going to sleep at midnight isn’t late; I’m definitely a morning person.
2. I’m also a tea person.  I’ve never seen so many people drink coffee in my life!
3. I am not a competitive athlete; it took four years of running on the high school track and cross country teams and an extra month of Duke Women’s Rowing to figure this one out.
4. I’m pretty good at math, but not Duke math (aka rocket science).
5. I do get homesick, no matter how annoying my little brothers may have been.

I hope to learn much more this year, both in class and about myself.  I’m an RA in Bell Tower on East campus and I participate in Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ).  Both of these keep me pretty busy in addition to the classes I’m taking.  I haven’t declared yet, but I want to double major in Computer Science and Visual & Media Studies.  I love seeing how different these two areas of study are; I write computer code and do problem sets for some classes and read articles and write essays for others.  

Over the summer I worked at my first real internship for a computer company.  I was hoping to get a head start in my Java class this semester and gain experience in the work field, but I ended up learning more about just having a job in general rather than specific skills or facts.  I learned what it’s like to wake up at 6:30 in the morning, to sit in a cubicle and go to meetings, and to come home in the afternoon exhausted (kind of like high school actually).  The purpose of my internship was to figure out what I wanted to do after college.  How silly of me!  Even second semester seniors aren’t able to decide!  After my internship, I’ve only begun to wonder even more where I’ll be when I graduate.  Having a job didn’t answer as many questions as it created, but it gave me somewhere to start.  I’m looking forward to my next three years here at Duke, and hopefully somewhere in that time I’ll be able to finally answer the question of what I want to be when I grow up.

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Welcome to the Grand Re-Opening!

The gothic and the modern. The old and the new. In an ongoing effort to provide an ever-improving experience in all aspects of life at Duke, new construction and renovations were undertaken just last year to make room for even larger projects on the horizon. These early projects are now complete and ready to be unveiled to the community.

Most prominent on the changing Duke skyline is the new Events Pavilion, which provides a picturesque experience with beautiful wooded views through the floor to ceiling windows. The new building initially will provide a temporary home for dining until the completion of the West Union Renovation Project. Dining options will include seven new venues to include southwestern, bistro style, comfort foods, pizza and pasta, a deli, soup and salad and grab and go options.

"When we began the Events Pavilion projects, we had big needs and high hopes for the structure," said Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta. "I think all who come to visit the Pavilion will be very impressed with the building itself, and will be thrilled with the food we're serving there."

The Events Pavilion is connected to the original plaza area by a beautiful extension including new seating areas with shaded landscaping, locations for food carts, and graded access from the plaza to Towerview and all points west.

Finally, the Bryan Center renovations provide a much more engaging, student-focused experience.  "It was our intention that the Bryan Center become a much more inviting hub for student activity," said University Center Activities and Events (UCAE) Executive Director Chris Roby. "The renovations accomplish that goal, and much more."

Residents of the Bryan Center include student organization space for DSG, DUU, BSA and media groups; the attractively redesigned University Bookstore; several dining venues including Au Bon Pain, the relocated and redesigned Loop in the former 'Dillo space, Red Mango frozen yogurt and smoothies, and McDonalds; and several Student Affairs centers and offices including the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, the UCAE, Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Center for Leadership Development and Social Action, and the Office of the Vice President.

On August 26, from 10-6, Duke will showcase the new Events Pavilion, the revitalized Plaza, and the renovated Bryan Center to the campus community with open houses, great prize giveaways, free food, fun art activities, live performances, and much more. All are invited to attend.

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Safety on Central

Several recent incidents on Central Campus have raised concerns among students and parents about security. While Duke, including Central Campus, has a very low crime rate, we want to assure you that every incident gets our full attention. Student safety and well-being is our highest priority.

Central Campus has become a vibrant community and a popular gathering place for many at Duke. We introduced the house system this year, which afforded sororities the opportunity to live together for the first time in Central Campus apartments. Sophomores and other living groups were also added to the mix, together bringing a new level of student enthusiasm to Central.

In anticipation of increased activity on Central Campus, Residence Life and Duke University Police enacted enhanced security plans during the academic year, including:

• Increased presence of campus police and security auto and foot patrols assigned to Central Campus
• Staffing at Anderson and Alexander bus stops for students who want a walking escort
• Outdoor lighting improvements
• Continued monitoring of “blue light” security phones

Discussions for further improvements continue. In the coming days, DUPD and Residence Life staff will be visiting a number of apartments to offer crime prevention tips and on-the-spot safety improvements where possible, such as locking bars on sliding doors. Residence Life and DUPD staff met just recently with DSG and Fix My Campus student representatives to walk around central and discuss concerns and possible solutions. A variety of security improvements are being explored to make campus as safe as possible, and further safety enhancements will be shared as they are approved and implemented.

Safety is a shared responsibility. Students can do their part by taking simple steps like locking their doors, keeping to lighted paths at night, walking in groups when possible, and reporting suspicious activity to police. The university will do its part by ensuring that police officers are deployed to areas of concern throughout the day, and that information is shared with students on a timely basis.

We welcome your questions or suggestions. We are here to help, and to keep campus safe.

Sincerely,

Larry Moneta
Vice President for Student Affairs

Chief John Dailey
Duke University Police Department

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‘LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN’ SELECTED AS CLASS OF 2017 SUMMER READING

Shortly after the World Trade Center complex was completed, acrobat Philippe Petit tight-roped across the gap between the two buildings, a quarter mile above the New York City streets.

In the novel “Let the Great World Spin,” this year’s summer reading selection for Duke University’s Class of 2017, author Colum McCann imagines how this single, daring event turned from ordinary to extraordinary the lives of many people watching on the street below.

“The summer reading book should be relatable to the Duke experience, and I think ‘Let the Great World Spin’ is the perfect choice with this consideration in mind,” said Valentine Esposito, a junior and member of the Duke Summer Reading committee. “The book stitches together the experiences of a diverse group of people living in New York by depicting a single event they all witnessed or interacted with.

“At Duke, you will meet many people that are different from yourself in every sense,” Esposito added. “In my opinion, the beauty of the Duke experience is coming to appreciate these differences while recognizing the events and moments that stitch everyone's Duke experience together.”

Duke’s Summer Reading Program is designed to give incoming students a shared intellectual experience with other members of their class. During orientation welcome week activities, students will discuss the book in small groups and the committee will attempt to arrange an author visit for a larger campus discussion.

The selection committee is comprised of faculty, staff and students.

“Every year we compile a list of books recommended by faculty, students and staff, and discuss the merits of each selection. After a few rounds of readings and conversations, our committee reduces the list to five or six books,” said Clay Adams, director of New Student Programs and co-chair of the selection committee. “We then reach out to the Duke community for their feedback.”

In addition to “Let the Great World Spin,” this year’s finalists included:

  • “Behind the Beautiful Forevers,” by Katherine Boo
  • “Little Princes,” by Conor Grennan
  • “Crashing Through,” by Robert Kurson, and
  • “Purge,” by Sofi Oksanen

“I think the incoming freshmen will have the opportunity to engage in discussion surrounding the substantive themes in this book, and will be reminded that risk-taking, selflessness, and the courage to step outside of a comfort zone are important things to remember in the first semester on Duke's campus,” said Trinity student and committee member Madison Moyle. Currently, the committee is working to arrange a visit by the author to discuss his book. “I hope to meet McCann if he comes to speak in the fall, and I am confident that the incoming freshmen will enjoy their summer reading.”

A special printing of the book for first-year Duke students is underway. The book will be mailed to members of the Duke Class of 2017 in July.

Past summer reading selections include “A State of Wonder,” by Ann Patchett; “Eating Animals,” by Jonathan Safran Foer; “Everything Matters,” by Ron Currie, Jr.; “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” by Junot Diaz; “What is the What,” by David Eggers; and “The Best of Enemies,” by Osha Gray Davidson.

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The NY Times Magazine: Colum McCann's Radical Empathy

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Bracket Battle: Best College Eats Tournament

Duke Dining made it to the Food Network Cooking Channel's "Best College Eats Bracket Battle!" Check out the article, fill out your bracket and vote for Duke Dining's Greek Devil Gyro from the Greek Devil Food Cart! Vote for Greek Devil Food Cart HERE!

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Make Plans

by Alex Shapanka

Countless words aptly describe our student body – outgoing, intelligent, achieving. Yet none seem so appropriate as ‘busy.’ Everyone is busy. Yes, even the freshmen are crunched for time, despite what upperclassmen may claim. Duke is an active campus. So much so that we often get caught up in our own lives, forgetting to connect with others (networking does not count).

I’m afraid our campus is too lazy or perhaps sometimes self-interested to develop proper relationships. Think about the times when you receive a text or phone call from someone who just wants to grab dinner or lunch. Does it feel like a reprieve from the mania of our lives or is it just another obligation waiting to be crossed off the calendar?

I often hear the phrase there’s nothing going on tonight. That is, Shooters is empty and no parties seem to be popping. You can make something happen. Call a few people and watch a movie or just talk and enjoy the company.

I was speaking to a friend recently reflecting on experiences during our four years. We went back and forth sharing stories and laughs. And at some point during our indulgent serving of nostalgia, he told me he wanted me to know that I was there for his favorite college memory. Most would assume he was referring to some party or night on the town, not as a reflection of my personality but because when we think college we think Animal House. No. His favorite night in college was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving freshman year. Nearly everyone had already gone home, leaving only a dozen or so boys in Giles. We set up Xbox live in four different rooms and started playing Halo.

Looking back on our time at Duke, we’re not going to remember that week when we had two tests, nine meetings, and an interview. I can’t even remember those weeks from junior year, and I had PLENTY. We will remember the relationships we build from spending quality time with our friends.

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine after playing racquetball. He said I’m glad we did this. We need to hang out more often. The conversation evolved into a commentary on the social system. He, being in an SLG, told me that it must be hard for me find things to do. Meaning that I always have to contact people to hang out, since I’m independent. He admitted that he takes it for granted that 60% of his friends are always there, just waiting to do something as a group.

It’s sad that so few people actively make time for their friends. I’m not talking about the “oh I haven’t seen you in forever let’s grab coffee Thursday and not talk for another month.” That’s not making time. Ask yourself if you know what’s going on in another person’s life right now – what’s on their plate and, more importantly, how they’re feeling.

Seniors, you understand what I’m saying more than most. We’re starting to ask ourselves whom we want to keep in our lives after May 12th and live accordingly. If there is someone who you love and want to keep in your life, tell him or her. Better yet show them. Commit the time, not as an obligation but freely with zeal.

Juniors, Sophomores and Freshmen, don’t wait ‘til your last semester to figure that out.

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The Healing Powers of Chicken Soup

Here we are in the midst of cold and flu season doing our best to stay healthy and avoid feeling under the weather, but despite doing all the things we have learned to do to stay well those pesky bugs sneak their way in anyway. For decades chicken soup has been known to take the edge off when said pesky bugs attack, but what is it about chicken soup that makes us feel better? We know that we feel better after having a bowl of chicken soup, but what exactly gives this type of soup its “special powers?”

There are various recipes for chicken soup, but most contain certain essential ingredients such as onions and carrots that create an impactful combination. Based on research done by Dr. Stephen Rennard, MD, a researcher at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory agent for your nasal cells, giving your nose the relief it needs. Particularly, the onions in the soup contain protein, calcium, and especially sulfur, which decreases swelling and aids in reducing nasal congestion. Another significant ingredient in chicken soup is carrots. Carrots enable our bodies to produce vitamin A, which strengthens our white blood cells and in turn allows us to better fight off infection. Bonus: carrots also assist with retinal function to produce better vision!

Hot soups in general help keep nasal passages moist, thin out mucus, prevent dehydation, and sooth a sore throat, so what is it about the chicken? Chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine that is released when the soup is made. This amino acid thins mucus in the lungs, aiding in the healing process. Chicken also plays its role as a great source of protein for your muscles. This is particularly helpful when your body feels weakened and drained during illness. And the more ingredients in your soup, the better, according to Rennard and his research team who have found that chicken soup with a variety of veggies can help ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, including congestion, stuffy nose, cough, and sore throat.

So if you have some time in between classes today consider treating your body to a warm, healthy serving of chicken soup at the Great Hall, The Loop, or Au Bon Pain!

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Reviving Your Roommate Relationship

This blog was written by Laura Neubauer ('13).

Last August, over 1700 freshmen moved into Duke’s East Campus. The vast majority of them were suddenly living with a total stranger (or 2) for the first time in their lives. If you were one of those lucky freshmen, you probably rolled your eyes when your RA had you fill out that pesky “Roommate Agreement” during orientation. Your roommate seemed great, right? Right…for the first few weeks. But somewhere along the line, they started doing something that really annoys you—maybe they refuse to take out the trash, or leave their dirty laundry wherever it lands, or “sexile” you every single weekend. Now that you’ve lived with this stranger for an entire semester, there are probably things you wish you had discussed with them before. Great news—it’s not too late! The new semester is a great time to start over with your roommate. Here are some tips for improving your roommate relationship:

  • Talk to your roommate as soon as a problem arises. Even if you set ground rules at the beginning of the semester, something may happen during the semester that you didn’t anticipate. It’s easy to let something slide a few times, but talking to your roommate about their obnoxious habit is far easier before it becomes just that—a habit. Don’t let things spiral out of control! Your roommate is more likely to be cooperative if you deal with the problem early on.
  • Be willing to compromise. If your roommate has a habit that annoys you, you probably have one that annoys them as well. Be open to change if your roommate has a problem with your behavior—they are equally entitled to a comfortable living space!
  • Resist the urge to talk to other people about your roommate’s annoying habits. Addressing the problem with your roommate directly will make both of you happier in the long run. If you only talk about it with other people, your roommate’s habit will continue to annoy you and you run the risk of your roommate finding out you’ve been talking about them behind their back.
  • If the situation doesn’t improve, talk to your RA about intervening or moving to a different room. Seriously, it’s what they are there for, and it can be very helpful to use an outside resource, especially if your living situation is seriously impacting other areas of your life, as well.

 

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Election Dinner Results

An Election Dinner was held at the Marketplace and Great Hall on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6. A few of President Obama's and Governor Romney's favorites were served with an opportunity for students to vote for the menu items they liked best. Among Obama's favorite foods were chili, arugula salad with mushrooms and goat cheese and pumpkin chess pie with Romney's favorites to include meatloaf, spicy red pepper hummus and peanut butter cups. After the votes were tallied Romney's food favorites prevailed with the favorite menu item being peanut butter cups! Many thanks to all who participated!

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“Locavorism” at Duke

In honor of National Food Day and the beginning of the Green Devil Smackdown Competition, here's a blog written in April 2012 by Julianne Chiraz ('13), who was inspired by her experiences in a Duke Food Studies course in the spring of 2012.


This school year, my perspective of food and eating in general has changed dramatically.  It all started over the summer, when I had the privilege to read the first-year summer reading book, Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer.  At first, I was skeptical of the intentions of this selected summer reading (is Duke trying to convert everyone to veganism to save money and purchase less meat?!).  However, I soon realized that the current food crisis extends far beyond the spectrum of eating meat vs. not eating meat; it’s the harmful food production practices that have a substantial impact on the economy, the environment, and our own health.  It’s not just the problem of vegetarians/vegans/health-nuts/etc.  It’s EVERYONE’S problem because EVERYONE eats.
   
Having read Foer’s work, I was inspired to enroll in Duke’s Inaugural University Course, entitled “Food Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Why, What, and How We Eat.”  The goal of this course was to bring students and faculty together from multiple academic backgrounds to provide a multifaceted approach to food.  The course consisted of a lecture from a new speaker every week, a response providing an alternative view, and a discussion over dinner with a smaller discussion group.  The input of the lecturers as well as my fellow classmates provided me with opportunities and insight into food culture that I would never be able to get from reading a book or watching a documentary.

A recurring theme from Eating Animals, the University Course, and world news in general is the idea of “locavorism”.  Eating “local” is a nutrition trend that’s sweeping the nation, and Duke and Durham are no exceptions.  Local food movements are often categorized by farm-fresh products, and the food’s quality is often measured by the distance the food travels to reach one’s plate.  How fitting then, that Duke has its own 1-acre farm, located approximately 6 miles away from campus! 

The Duke Campus Farm is fairly new, having had its first harvest in April 2011.  However, I find that its visibility is already prevalent on campus, whether it’s through social media, cooking classes, or even just their clearly labeled produce in Duke’s eateries.  While the farm is open to anyone for Community Workdays on Sundays and Thursdays, I managed to find the opportunity to attend a Workday through a group that was organized in my Food Studies discussion group.  When we arrived, we were put straight to work harvesting products we see in the Great Hall and Marketplace everyday – I was put to the task of harvesting spinach, as seen in the pictures here!  It was such an awe-inspiring task, as I’ve never in my entire life felt that connected to the food I eat; I attend the Great Hall 3+ times/week, and usually find myself at the salad bar, so I was so excited to have the chance to eat food that I actually picked out of the ground with my bare hands…you can’t get more local than that!

Yes, my challenge to you is to eventually take action in promoting local eating, but first, simply think about to what you eat and how it may affect your health, your life, and the future of the world we live in.  We are fortunate enough to live in an area that is lush with farm-fresh products, but we can’t forget that North Carolina is also a home to some of the largest hog producing counties in the nation.  Duke is the place to make changes in your own eating practices and influence those of the people around you!
 

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4 Years on East: An RA's Perspective

Submitted by Dorielle Obanor

As a 3rd year Resident Assistant, this year has been my fourth year living on East Campus. I have never experienced life living amidst the “gothic wonderland” on West nor the luxury of having my own kitchen and bathroom on Central. Often times when I tell people where I live, and have lived for the past 4 years, I’m met with sympathy, as many of my friends can’t even conceive my living arrangement.  While I can certainly understand and even attest to some drawbacks of being so far from the “mainland” living on East Campus certainly has had its benefits. East Campus’ close proximity to 9th street is unparallel, allowing for a quick walk to Whole Foods for groceries, Cosmic for dinner, and even shootahs for some fun! The Loop around East also called the “Wall” gives fit Dukies (unlike myself) the opportunity to enjoy a scenic run around Durham.

One of the most debatable advantages of East Campus though, would certainly be the Marketplace. As a freshman, I grew tired of the pizza, pasta, and burgers that I was limited to, through my picky eating habits. However, as I get older I realize how quintessential the Marketplace truly is to East Campus. As much as students complain about the continual cycle of food served, the opportunity to sit down and grab a meal with friends is certainly unique to East. Freshmen year, my friends and I would spend long hours in the Marketplace, talking about life, school, and everything under the sun while leisurely refilling our plates of pizza or getting more ice cream and dessert to eat. Marketplace facilitates a communal aspect of eating, that facilities on West and Central are unable to truly promote because of the “grab and go” lifestyle of upperclassmen. Furthermore, where else can you eat as much as you can possibly want for a set price on West and/or Central?

The advantages of living on East are not just limited to the examples above. Students on east can escape the craziness and noise of West Campus section parties and pretty much guaranteed a parking space for those with cars ☺.  Students on East are all in close proximity to the Academic Resource Center (ARC), an office devoted to student’s academic success at Duke offering peer tutoring, study skills, and services for those students with learning disabilities. For those students stressed out about class, East is home to one of my favorite places to relax and de-stress, the Oasis, which literally has the best automatic massage chairs ever!!!

So I may have got a little carried defending East Campus. But case in point, East Campus is amazing! Sure it may be far, but honestly the pros outweigh the cons!

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