by Michael Habashi, Chair, Duke Honor Council, Trinity ‘13


I like to think that the Honor Council is like the marketing club of the Duke Community Standard. (If you don’t know it by now, go memorize it…AFTER you’re done reading the rest of this blog, of course.)

It’s a hard job to market three lines that are rather ambiguous and hard to measure. For example, what exactly does it mean to “conduct myself honorably in all my endeavors”? And how do we tell people “not to cheat” or to “stop academic dishonesty” without sounding like a band of pathetic douches? When your organization is simply charged with “promoting” the Community Standard, it makes you feel dazed and confused.

That’s why we’re working on expanding our mission.

I propose that when you create a supportive, open, and respectful community, you are able to get its members to adopt the established standards. So, this year, what we’ve tried to do is to develop a greater sense of community beyond just the confines of Cameron and K-ville…through DukeEncourage.

It’s a two-pronged initiative – #DukeEncourage and DukeEncourage – to elevate the sense of community on campus. #DukeEncourage is focused on spreading positive messages through post-it notes/Twitter (@DukeEncourage) and through the now transformed wall on the Plaza. (Keep spreading the love on the wall!)

DukeEncourage is a series of candid campus conversations that seeks to make us more aware and empowered through peer reflection and dialogue. Awesome discussions are led by leaders from the Honor Council and our co-sponsors: DSG, DUU, CRR, dPS, and the FAC Board. (Freshmen – come join us every Monday in the Marketplace at 6:30 pm!)

If there is greater love for Duke and for the greater community that extends beyond the organizations and affiliations that unfortunately divide us – fraternities, sororities, SLGs, independent houses, minority groups, sports teams, etc. – we will come to respect and appreciate each individual here, despite their differences. And if we all love one another and have genuine mutual respect for one another, we will hold each other accountable for our actions.

Imagine how much that would transform our campus. Imagine how much prouder you’d be to call Duke your home. Imagine.