"I realized that by basing judgments about people off numbers (the statistics of 'illegals' who don't have documents) we take away the personal histories of this collection of people with different experiences. It's like saying, 'You are just a number. You are not who you think you are. You do not deserve your own personality. You are a number that I can manipulate as I please in an equation. I can reduce you. I can find your lmits. I can eliminiate you.' "Leslie Niiro, Duke Univ. Class of 2016
When I first read the above statement, it brought tears to my eyes. This simple, yet profound realization made it that much more important to facilitate a Fall Break experience that would not just be a moment...it would be a movement. As we began to interact with the women and teens at the Hope CommUnity Center, in Apopka, FL, I can safely say that all of our lives were touched by someone we met or something we heard. One of the greatest rewards that I have found, in education, is knowing that the students got it. The it that I speak of is the point when information turns into realization and practical application. When the group of 10 young women began on their journey to Apopka, FL this fall, I had no idea that three short months later they would have transformed into living words, walking purposes and agents of social change.
"...and once you have shared in someone else's story, you can never forget it....'Get into our shoes and walk with us, struggle with our struggle,' someone told me in Apopka. I have accepted this challenge, and call on each of you to do the same. Scientifically speaking, humans are creatures made for coalition and community. Our brains contain mirror neurons, cells that cause us to mirror and reflect the actions and lives of others around us. I challenge you to be this example for others to reflect, to thus work for social justice and create social change..."Jaclyn Dobies, Duke Univ. Class of 2015
As Reem, Aarti, Arpita, Lexia and Leslie spoke to a captivated group at W@TC (Wednesdays at the Center) at the Franklin Center, I sat and listened with my ears, but heard with my heart. I heard the hours of thought that went into developing every thought. I heard the intention with which each word was spoken. Heard sentiments and truths spoken that were heartfelt and spanned the generations in a clarion call to awareness and productivity. I hope that every educator finds occasion to embrace the joy in learning from their students. A deep and genuine concern regarding immigration issues was at the heart of every comment, every monologue, every note sung, every person spoke their truth and we found ways to support each other, understand each other, encourage each other and inspire each other.
"Thinking about it now, I should have never measured success by how far I could get away from home or from my struggling household and community but instead how much I can give back to my community and how I can use what I have learned to help improve it."Karina Santellano, Duke Univ. Class of 2015
Issues of immigration, here in America, are a crippling reality for many. There are children whose every day consists of worrying about whether or not they will see their parents again, at the end of a long school day. There are parents who have walked many miles, carrying the weight of a dream of a better tomorrow for their families. How many of us will take Jaclyn's challenge to be the example for others to reflect, to work for social justice? Who will believe in a new normal enough to work to create social change? Beyond the numbers there are voices, tears, and fears. Beyond the numbers there are faces, smiles, dreams and ambitions. Beyond the numbers there are people, documented and undocumented, who are beautifully human.
*The below links are the event at the Franklin Center on January 16, 2013.
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.
1. Open any web browser and type in the following address: exchange.oit.duke.edu 2. If this is your permanent workstation, select “This is a private computer”, “This is a public computer” will log the user out after 15 minutes of inactivity. 3. Enter your netID 4. Enter your netID password
5. click your name in the top right of the exchange web application.
In the “Select Mailbox” field, you should enter the shared mailbox name you wish to access:
For University users, the mailbox name will end with firstname.lastname@example.org
For Medical/Hospital users, the mailbox name will end with email@example.com
Once you have entered the mailbox name correctly, click “Open..”
• Your shared mailbox should now be showing in a separate page (either in a new tab or new window). • From here, you will want to create a new bookmark for easier and quicker access.
As always, contact Student Affairs ITS if you require any further assistance or have questions/concerns. Submit a ticket by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org Or call: 684‐5143
There are those who talk and there are those who do. WHO (Women's Housing Option) does. This living group has set themself apart as more than just a place for women to live. Concepts like "safe space", "social advocacy" and "community efficacy" come to mind when looking at the stirring and dynamic new campaign that was launched last week. Body image issues are a reality in many of our lives. The statistics that support this truth are alarming as words are spoken with little or no thought given to the lasting psychological impact that is left in the wake of commentaries on women's bodies. It is encouraging to see that, with the photo expertise of Ashley Tsai, this group of women has created space to invite conversation, expand thought provoking images and develop the tools to initiate positive change. All of our lives are affected when even one life is disrupted by the inability to live comfortably within their own skin. Take a minute to reflect on the words you will speak before they are heard. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can break your spirit. We are all a million shades of beautiful. Each a masterpiece...a different kind of perfection. Let's be aware of the need to be concious of the role we each play in this debilitating culture of criticism. Create a new normal. As WHO Speaks, will you listen?
If you are interested in being a part of the WHO community, please contact the Women's Housing Option, for more information, at email@example.com .
One of last year's seniors (and a former DUWELL intern), Rose O'Connor, was inspired to write this blog in the spring of 2012, her last semester at Duke. As we approach Thanksgiving time, it seems especially appropriate to consider gratitude and how to appreciate the small things in life...
My final semester as an undergrad has been my favorite. There are a number of reasons why I love spring semester, but I m attribute my current happiness to a course that I recommend everyone take: “Visual Adventures” with Antonio Bogaert.This class is not limited to learning how to use a camera. Instead our professor encourages us to be “artists of life.” We are challenged to reexamine our perspectives and make a stronger connection to the visual fabric of our daily surroundings. Homework in this class is stress reducing instead of stress inducing. One of our assignments is to practice writing simple thoughts of gratitude in a journal everyday, and that practice is what I want to share with all of you.
Duke students have crazy schedules but I think every single one of us can take just 10 minutes to begin or end our day with writing a few thoughts down in a journal. Just take TEN MINUTES. That’s all! Start by writing out what you are grateful for. Don’t worry about all those fancy words and grammar you’ve been trained to adhere to. You don’t even need to use complete sentences. This is a chance for you to start appreciating the little things, because that makes the big things so much more manageable and even more enjoyable. Try this journal challenge and I promise your days will noticeably improve.
Below is one of the photographs I took for class. This small purple flower outside my house probably would have gone unnoticed had I not been willing to appreciate the beauty surrounding me. For truly fulfilling happiness this semester: write in a journal, pay more attention to your surroundings, and be an artist of your life.
Here I am in Wuhan…after some back and forth about schedules, we decided to fly here for meetings with Wuhan student services and international relation folks. But, I digress….
Yesterday’s highlights included our visit to Peking University, China’s finest institution, where we toured briefly and then took place in closing speeches, final breakout sessions and our final banquet (which I mostly missed to get ready for this next episode in my journey). In my evaluation of the China Bridge program I noted how well were were cared for, what most events were enjoyable and worthwhile, but that in the future more in depth conversation with higher ed counterparts would have strengthened the program. I really enjoyed meeting the people…both US and Chinese and imagine that I’ll maintain contact with several.
Btw, saw the Cube (swimming venue) and Birds Nest (Opening and closing events facility) from the bus on our way to the banquet.
I’m joined in Kunshan by the intrepid Ming, our ‘man in China” and two colleagues from JonesLangLasalle, our administrative support partners for the development of the DKU campus. We caught up on the construction process over lunch (pasta!) and were then given a tour of parts of Wuhan University by staff of their International Office. Wuhan is an assembly of four previously independent schools and the business school is the largest school of the entire university. We checked out several academic buildings and saw several dorms. Chinese building standards are certainly ‘different’ from ours…4 undergrads to a room in all dorms and all balconies, windows, etc. serve as clothes hangers.
We met four students from their Student Union and got a briefing on student self governance and their clubs and organizations. All well intended but somewhat rudimentary by US standards. But, these students were just terrific!
Dinner was just the four ‘Dukies’ at a nearby Chinese restaurant, so nothing special to report. Tomorrow, we’ll visit the health center and dining facilities and speak with seveal people doing Student Affairs sorts of things. I’ll also be meeting with the Wuhan Youth League (junior Communist Party) so am very much looking forward to that.
College is one giant crossroads. Every decision we make has far-reaching consequences, developing our interests, habits and personalities. Not every choice is easy, so we seek counsel. We talk to seniors about worthwhile courses and professors. We speak to the Career Center and professionals about our intended career path. But why are we asking in the first place?
Fear of failure. We as Duke students like to do well and hate it when we don’t. We take every precaution to guarantee we achieve. We solicit advice from others to confirm our decisions, as if third party validation were a guarantor of success.
Whether it’s a trivial or pivotal life moment, ask for guidance but recognize it as such. Your friends and family have had experiences that can offer you valuable insight into your own situation. I would never have chosen to be a history major without a serious conversation with my oldest brother about the purpose of a college education. He helped me realize that I should study something I found engaging rather than sensible. My brother never explicitly told me what to do, though I asked him to pick for me. Letting him choose would have been easier than figuring out what I wanted. He had gone through college and already had an answer. I, however, was the one who had to go to the registrar’s office to hand in the forms. The decision was mine to make.
We try desperately to limit our failure by doing what is sensible. Many of us even try to emulate individuals who have ‘succeeded.’ Their journey becomes an implicit form of advice for our own lives. We scrutinize their experiences as if they hide the formula to ‘success.’ Duke students like to follow the footsteps of those who came before them out of fear of standing on shaky ground. In doing so, we defer our choices to the judgment of others.
The other day the Chronicle published a poignant article about students’ post-graduation plans. It said the majority of Dukies go into law, medicine, finance or consulting, but it neglected to speculate why. I argue their popularity is connected to their conventionalism. We know those careers tend to provide large salaries and stability – at least in the sense that you learn ‘marketable skills’ to start a career with respect to finance and consulting. They’re safe, providing a semi-clear picture of the road ahead. Our future.
Listen to what others have to say. In fact, seek out their counsel, but view it as a self-help book, not as an answer. Others can provide you with a perspective, allowing you to make a more informed decision. They show you parts of a path that lies before you. But in the end, do whatever compels you, not what you think you should do. Even if it means blindly following a path whose direction is uncertain. Open yourself up to the possibility of failing.
The past two months of my semester at Duke have been a political whirlwind. Arriving in 2009, I knew to an extent what going to school in a swing state would entail. I expected more ads, heftier campaigning, and a greater drive to cast my vote come November 6, 2012. I didn’t, however, anticipate the opportunities that were coming my way.