What a great semester it has been so far! The Polished Pebbles mentorship program at Duke University kicked off this year with a wonderful group of women of color spanning all four years at Duke and from a variety of backgrounds, all coming together with one purpose in mind—success at Duke and beyond. In collaboration with the Duke Women’s Center, we were welcomed to this year’s cohort with a networking event featuring food from all of our cultural backgrounds.
Diversity and Inclusion are values critical to Duke University. We are a community of students, faculty and staff of different demographic backgrounds, including race, ethnicity, income level, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. As educators we understand the importance of preparing our students to become members of a global citizenry whose workforce becomes more interconnected and interdependent with each new generation. In Student Affairs, one of our four strategic goals is to provide education in cultural competency so that students gain a consciousness, information and knowledge about world-views and perspectives different from their own. The opportunity to develop what many refer to as cultural fluency enables students to communicate, interact and engage effectively with people different from themselves.
The WomC Emerging Impact Award: The Duke Men's Project
The mobilization of men on a weekly basis in the Women's Center to men's voices and privilege to combat gender violence and the reduction and elimination of the role patriarchy plays in the collegiate environment.
The WomC Campus Impact Award: Nur Cardakli - FEMMES
Through Femmes, Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering and Science, local elementary and middle school girls are nurtured and encouraged in the STEM fields while learning the skills to fight against institutional patriarchy that forces them to chose between being smart and being desirable.
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.
We had just wrapped up at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, drained from taking in all the incredible history exhibited in the museum’s three buildings. The consensus was to take the tram to a spot for lunch, then hop on it again to find a baklava shop we’d heard is amazing. The tram is one of several fantastic methods of public transportation used by what feels like everyone (at the same time) in the city of Istanbul. A seat on the bus, metro, or tram is a highly coveted spot that is not easily attained. In fact, sometimes just getting on any of these vehicles is a nearly impossible feat because they are so crowded. “Maximum Capacity” doesn’t seem to be a concept as firmly held here as it is in the U.S.
Maya Angelou entered my life at a time when I very much needed to see someone who looked like me, both in body and in spirit, doing and being something unconventional. I remember reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and hanging onto every word. I was in my first semester of college, at Pace University in New York, and dealing with a particularly trying and debilitating trauma that had recently occurred in my life. A dear friend had recommended this text to me. I didn’t know then that it would serve to reconnect me to pieces of myself that had been silenced/I had silenced.
It is a special cohort of students that is able to claim itself as Literature majors at Duke University, and I consider myself extremely lucky to call myself one of that small group of ten that graduated from the department just two years ago. However, I must warn you - though I am proud to call it mine now, it wasn't always so.
Each day this week, a member of the Duke community will share their memories of Dr. Angelou.
Collaboration & Change for a Common Good
A Reflection on Collaboration in Campus Life
India Pierce and Sean Novak
One way that we can work effectively to create change for a common good is to work collaboratively across communities. With this in mind, India Pierce from the Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity (CSGD) came together with Sean Novak from the Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) to create a program that explored the intersections of race and sexual orientation. As part of the CMA’s En/Countering Racism series (E/C), they created a program for students to gather and explore intersectionality. This was done in order to deepen participants’ understanding of themselves and others as a means to building stronger coalitions for social justice.