Have You Heard?

Department - Housing, Dining & Residence Life

Duke Common Experience, Class of 2019

Nominations are now being accepted for the Class of 2019 Duke Common Experience. As a piece of the coming changes to Orientation this summer, we have decided to enhance our Summer Reading program. While we will still have a book the incoming class will read, there will be a variety of programs connected to the book both during the summer and over the course of the fall semester. These will include:

  • ​Virtual content sharing of key themes and ideas over the summer months
  • Connection with Alumni Affairs in reading the selection
  • Speakers and programs during the year connected to the selection
  • One over-arching theme that connects the selection to programs here at Duke during the year

However, the biggest change is the format for hosting the author and discussion about the book and what we seek to do over the summer.

When students come to campus, instead of relying solely on FAC chats, our plan it to co-host a program at DPAC. We are excited about this new programming opportunity and see it as a chance to enhance our current DPAC program, add to the intellectual experience of the summer reading, and allow us to choose different types of books that can then be highlighted and/or performed for the incoming class.

As a reminder, the text selected for The Duke Common Experience is designed to give incoming students a shared intellectual connection with other members of their class. The selection committee who will choose the text is comprised of faculty, staff, and students.
In addition to being readable, enjoyable and engaging, the selection must:

  • Enrich the intellectual life of students
  • Promote a shared/common experience among first-year students
  • Prompt stimulating debate and lively discussion outside of the classroom
  • Foster interaction between and among peers

Suggestions for books can be made online at the fo​llowing website:
https://duke.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_dmsg2fhSFgUAHwV

Nominations will be taken through Friday, November 15th. Please feel free to suggest as many books as you'd like and pass along this message to students, faculty and other staff.

Thank you for your support of Duke's continual development of Orientation Week, the first year experience of our students and our collaboration with campus and community partners.

​Jordan Hale and Simon Partner
Co-Chairs, Duke Summer Reading Committee

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

What I Say, As An RA

October is one of the hardest months of the fall semester, especially for freshmen. Up until midterms, the first few weeks of class are a time for settling in, meeting new people, and trying out new clubs at Duke. After about a month of wavering between friend groups and activities, many freshmen start to wear out and become frustrated with their experience. Around this same time, they are taking their first midterms and writing their first papers, adding to the overall stress of feeling uncomfortable here.

Midterms can leave freshmen shocked and disappointed with themselves. Most of them are accustomed to being straight-A, top of the class students, and they expect to continue this successful academic trend in college. It’s frustrating to work as hard in college as in high school, but receive substantially lower scores. In many math and science classes, the average test grade can be lower than 50%, and even though the freshmen know their classmates all failed the test with them, it’s still hard for them to feel comfortable with the score. It takes time at Duke to realize that being average here is something to be proud of. We’re surrounded by superstars of all types, inside and outside of the classroom, so being perfectly average is actually amazing compared to the world outside the Duke bubble. With time the freshman class will begin to understand that they don’t have to live up to the expectations of high school. Courses in college are designed differently than they are in high school, and it takes a couple semesters for students to build a new academic identity.

Another aspect of college freshmen struggle with during the fall is finding their niche. From O-Week up to about the third week of class, East Campus is an exciting place to be. There are always new people to meet and new events to attend. It’s almost like summer camp. As the school year becomes more intense, people have less free time and the social scene dies down. Freshmen start to feel lonely and can’t seem to find a place where they fit in at Duke. Friend groups from O-Week can dissolve quickly once classes start, and there aren’t any more large orientation events to help the entire class meet new people. After the activity fair is over it can also be difficult for freshmen to find student groups that interest them.

In my experience, it took more than the first few weeks to fully understand where I fit in at Duke. It took me my full freshman year, and my idea of where I belong is still evolving. It’s important for freshmen to keep trying new activities to meet new people, especially when they’re at the point of giving up. It’s frustrating to feel out of place for such a long time, but the only way they’ll find their place at Duke is if they continue exploring.

Balancing work and social life is a third way freshmen have to adjust around this time of year. This combines what I previously said: trying to get good grades while also making friends. School and social life always seem to be at odds with each other. To stay in and study, or go out and have fun? Something that impressed me my freshman year was how many people decided to stay in to do work rather than go out. It often seems like everyone goes out to parties on weekends, but only because we don’t see the people studying in their rooms or the library. It will take time, but eventually freshmen will find friend groups who will help each other make good decisions about balancing life.

If I could give all the freshmen one word of advice this semester (and I do as an RA), it would be “patience.” Balancing the workload and finding true friends takes time for everyone. No one makes a best friend immediately. Relationships need time to grow and strengthen. At this point in the semester it gets tough to keep a positive attitude through feelings of inadequacy and loneliness, but no freshman is alone in this struggle. It’s a class-wide difficulty that happens every year in college across the country. Luckily for the freshmen at Duke, they’re at one of the most diverse colleges in the nation. There’s something for everyone here, and as long as they don’t give up they’ll figure out where they fit in. Before we know it, the class of 2018 will be next year’s sophomores and a new set of freshmen will arrive on campus looking to them for guidance on how to find their way at Duke.

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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.

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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.

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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.

 

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

Duke Dining Bans Styrofoam

Read about it here on Duke Today!

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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: 

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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.

 

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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.

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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.



 

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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.

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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.

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

‘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.

---

The NY Times Magazine: Colum McCann's Radical Empathy

There are 2 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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!

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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.

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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!

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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.

 

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment

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!

There are 0 comments on this post

Add A Comment
Subscribe to RSSHousing, Dining & Residence Life