First-year students are assigned to houses randomly—putting everyone on the same footing and encouraging students to meet people from diverse backgrounds. Students do state preferences for things like single rooms, single-sex or coed halls, and other choices. There are also several defined living-learning communities to choose from, including a wellness residence, in which all students commit to keeping the living space free of alcohol, tobacco and other substances; a performing arts residence, in which students tend to share an interest in music, drama, dance or other artistic endeavor; and Focus, in which students studying in seminars with a common intellectual theme live together.
Residence halls are grouped into neighborhoods. There is a faculty-in-residence in most halls, as well as residence coordinators and residential assistants who make sure you find your way around and feel comfortable, safe and engaged in the community.
We believe in blurring the lines between curricular and co‐curricular experiences in our residences. That's why academic deans and advisors work with students in one of the four residential neighborhoods on East Campus and each hall has its own resource librarian. We host events such as the ‘Chautauqua’ lecture series in which some of our most prominent professors come to the residence halls to chat about their latest research with students over a catered dinner.
The East Campus experience for first-year students is designed to introduce and engage students to life at Duke, to give each student a solid foundation for a successful university experience. There is much to do, much to explore, and assistance is readily available to help navigate the complexities of an always new, often challenging, always exciting time of life.