Last Thursday, a cozy group gathered for a light brunch with philanthropist and Duke alumna Penny Pilgram George (WC â65), hosted by the Center for Leadership Development and Social Action.
Dear Duke Families,
As I look out my office window, I have the privilege of seeing our students walking (and rushing) by between classes, meals, meetings and study venues. So many things are apparent on the rare occasion that I get to just pause and admire the passersby. I notice that many seem either immune to the winter chill or in denial about the need to wear warmer clothes! I notice that rarely is anyone walking alone. Students travel in pairs, groups and masses! I notice that some kind of technological device is apparently welded to their ears or their palms (hopefully talking or texting with you). But, I also notice how remarkably different they are, reflecting the substantial and wonderful diversity within the Duke student body.
Social life? Sleep? Good Grades? It seems we can only ever get two of these at a time here at Duke. Even after countless time management lectures, and many hours spent on schedules, I struggle to find balance. The careful plans I make always seems to fly out the window within a matter of hours. An exciting social event will come up, assignments will take longer than I expected, or an unexpected wave of exhaustion will wash over me as I grow tired from trying to keep up. Life can certainly be chaotic here, especially at the end of the semester. The stresses of Duke have a great influence over the choices we make on an everyday basis. Should we eat dinner with friends or get an extra hour of studying? Is it worth an all-nighter to study math? Pressure comes from parents, other students, teachers, and even people we don’t even know.
by Alex Shapanka
Leadership is not just another line on your resume. It’s not something that you can just address during interviews to give your candidacy more credence. It is in fact quite rare to come across great leadership. Yet for some reason, we think this campus is teaming with leaders. Probably because we hand out titles like they’re bin candy on sale.
Having a title next to our name doesn’t mean diddly. DSG president, Vice President of Education for DPS or DUU Major Attractions chair are all just signifiers of responsibility. Inconsequential words. It is the quality of our performance that matters.
by Deborah Hackney, Associate Director, Leadership Development and Social Action
Leadership can occur and even thrive without a title or position.
That's what students told us after a recent leadership program we hosted. For many, this was an epiphany that eradicated previously held notions. Rather than being in the front initiating and creating plans, students boldly reported that they understood how they could also make a difference through influence and steady participation with others toward a collective vision.
Leading without the requirement of formal position or title is a main tenet of our leadership framework. We posit that as citizens of Duke, Durham and the world, our abilities to make positive change can happen within or outside of a role.
by 2012 LeaderShape Institute graduates Sonam Aidasani, T'14, Lindsey Huth, T'15 & Ciera Price, T'14
by Dorielle Obanor
First semester of my junior year at Duke, I was presented with an unparalleled opportunity to apply to “Duke Immerse: Black Freedom Struggles.” I had never studied abroad at Duke largely because I was weary of being away from campus for an extended period of time. However, Duke Immerse presented an opportunity for me to travel to South Africa during spring break for FREE and study throughout the semester both the Civil Rights Movement and Anti-Apartheid struggle, two areas of interest. I ended up being one of the twelve students selected to participate in this immersive opportunity and the experience I gained from being a participant truly surpassed my initial expectations.
By Alex Shapanka
I’ve felt lost and overwhelmed countless times in college. Never because of academics. And rarely to the point of mental unraveling. You know those moments of frustration from the Orwellian Duke system, the backward social norms on campus, or just life in general. Pretty sticky stuff to navigate.
It gets exhausting constantly trudging through the muck. There were moments when I wanted to stop and just give up. Yet I’m still going, thanks in large part because of two individuals, Jordan Hale and Janicanne Shane. Both have had a profound impact on my Duke career and development as a person.
I met them early on in my freshman year. It was probably around late September 2009. Though my acquaintance with both came through my involvement in Duke University Union, they each impacted me in unique capacities.
Your character is a life-long project.
Make it an authentic one.
The Duke Authenticity Project asks you, the first-year student, to dig deep, discover, and explore your values and how they contribute to how you practice leadership. You will join in small and large group discussions, participate in educational workshops, and experience guided reflection with Duke faculty and staff. You will learn how values manifest in your daily life, and how your personal commitment to authenticity is core to your ability to lead, and lead well.
Learn to trust your truth. Sign up for the Duke Authenticity Project.
My name is Jason and I am a rising junior who is a Neuroscience major and Chemistry minor, but have always had a passion for wellness and healthy living, especially in the Duke community. This fall, I will once again be a part of the True Blue cast, though I am currently in Beirut, Lebanon with DukeEngage accomplishing some great strides in tobacco regulation and smoking cessation in the Middle East. The city here is absolutely beautiful and the food is delicious! I encourage all of you to apply to DukeEngage in the future; it’s a very enlightening, challenging, and eye-opening experience.