November Student Affairs Newsletter: Culture, Identity and Religion


Dear Faculty, staff and friends,

This month Student Affairs will be doing some focused outreach and promotion around culture, identity and religion. The diversity of our student body is quite amazing and delightful. As I type this, I'm watching an impromptu step show on the Chapel Quad by several of our Black students. In the past couple of weeks, I spent time with the Muslim Student Association leadership, with students from Blue Devils United and with staff from Jewish Life at Duke. Just a quick scan of the websites of our identity centers will give you a sense of the richness and wonders of our incredibly diverse and active student communities. I encourage you to read the enclosed blog entries from Dr. Zoila Airall (see below) and our student bloggers highlighting some of our efforts in support and celebration of our diversity. I also encourage you to check out the websites for the many religious communities supported by Religious Life, under the direction of the Duke Chapel.

If your travels take you into Central Campus, please stop by the new International House on Alexander Street (the very red house at the top of the street). I-House's relocation--featured in a recent Chronicle article--signifies our  commitment to our growing international student population. The new house doubles the space available and will be the home of numerous support services and programs. In the coming months, as we plan for the closing and renovations of West Union, we'll also celebrate the opening of the new Center for LGBT LIfe and the new Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture.

And I will be exemplifying personally our commitment to culture, identity and religion during my upcoming trip to China. I leave next week and will spend two weeks in Beijing, Wuhan and Shanghai with various side trips to the provinces. Half my trip will be with a College Board program called China Bridge and the rest of the time I'll be meeting colleagues at Wuhan University and visiting Kunshan and the surroundings working on plans for campus support services at Duke Kunshan University (DKU). This will be my second visit to China and I'll be very curious to see what has changed since 2000 when I was last there. I'll be blogging from China and you can follow along if interested.

祝好! (roughly translated as: “wish everything is good”)



Cultural Conversations, with Tracie Canada and Dr. Zoila Airall

Senior Tracie Canada and AVP of Student Affairs Dr. Zoila Airall will hold regular conversations throughout the year on various issue pertaining to the issues and concepts surrounding culture, both on and off campus. You are invited to follow and join in.

Canada: My experiences and opinions may or may not differ from yours, but that could be part of my appeal. As Dukies, we are all bound to come from different backgrounds and choose different paths for ourselves, but I hope you take the time to hear me out in order to understand how Duke has shaped and will continue to shape the person I have become.

Airall: This past Spring, I had the great pleasure of teaching, listening to and learning from one of my students, Tracie Canada.   Tracie and I share a number of intellectual interests and enjoy sharing, debating, negotiating, all topics related to culture. I echo Tracie’s sentiment that my experiences and opinions may or may not differ from yours but hope that you may find that appealing.

Join their conversations.


6,500 "Type A"s Living Together: What Could Go Wrong?

by Alex Shapanka

Duke is not just over zealous sports fans. It is not just a bunch of intellectually driven individuals. Nor is it just a party. Duke, its culture, is all of these things and more. It cannot be generalized. Duke culture is not something that needs to be reimaged but understood by all members of the Duke community. Read more.


More Headlines

Do Something!

Do Something! training helps trainees reduce barriers that keep individuals from intervening with problem or concerning behaviors. Read more.

Greek Recruitment Registration Begins

  • Panhell registration now open.
  • IFC registration begins Nov. 8.

Read more.

Chronicle Career Series w/Bill Wright-Swadel

Step Back From The Buffet: The overcommitted student is similar to a hungry teen that tries to pile everything on their plate at once.

The Big Four: Duke students talk about it informally all the time, but at the Career Center it has a special name.

Business as Usual: The practice of entrepreneurship and the practice of innovation have become entangled in American culture and at Duke.

Leadership Nominations Are Open

The Duke University Leadership and Service Awards is a celebration of individuals and organizations whose influence and achievements have made a significant impact on University life and beyond. Read more.

International House Has Moved

The International House has moved from its Campus Drive location to expand its space and staff and accommodate the growing number of international students on campus. Read more.