Duke University Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Michael

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Raanah

Because there is such a wide range of activities and groups on campus, it is difficult to say which are the most popular. However the athletic programs and arts organizations on campus are extremely popular. Many students, both male and female, participate in club sports such as soccer and lacrosse which are organized more closely to varsity sports. However if a student wishes to have a less intensive sport involvement, there are also intramural teams that students organize together and play for fun. Although Duke is more widely known for its athletics, (namely the men’s basketball team) the arts organizations at Duke are prominent and strong. There is a wide range of cultural dance groups— outside of the Duke Dance Department— that have a large presence on campus. I am a member / leader of Duke’s premier multicultural dance group called Defining Movement. The group was founded on the pillars of multiculturalism and service, and promotes acceptance, unity, and diversity through art. Furthermore, the theater program at Duke is rather extensive. Students can watch their peers in various theater productions almost all year round. The two most sold-out performances on campus ever year, and my personal favorites, are Awaaz (the South Indian Diwali Dance Festival) and the acapella groups’ spring showcases. The social scene at Duke is very diverse and always fun! A student can decide to rush a Greek sorority/ fraternity, join a Selective Living Group, or remain unaffiliated. All rush processes occur in the spring which lets students first form friendships independent of their affiliations and then make more and new friends in the spring. Although the Greek community is large, it does not dominate all aspects of social life like it does at other universities. Like most college campuses, many social events and popular weekend activities include drinking, but Duke provides students with many fun and sober events every weekend through the Devils After Dark program. Everyone's favorites are the Disney sing-a-longs they put on about once a month.

Raanah

Because there is such a wide range of activities and groups on campus, it is difficult to say which are the most popular. However the athletic programs and arts organizations on campus are extremely popular. Many students, both male and female, participate in club sports such as soccer and lacrosse which are organized more closely to varsity sports. However if a student wishes to have a less intensive sport involvement, there are also intramural teams that students organize together and play for fun. Although Duke is more widely known for its athletics, (namely the men’s basketball team) the arts organizations at Duke are prominent and strong. There is a wide range of cultural dance groups— outside of the Duke Dance Department— that have a large presence on campus. I am a member / leader of Duke’s premier multicultural dance group called Defining Movement. The group was founded on the pillars of multiculturalism and service, and promotes acceptance, unity, and diversity through art. Furthermore, the theater program at Duke is rather extensive. Students can watch their peers in various theater productions almost all year round. The two most sold-out performances on campus ever year, and my personal favorites, are Awaaz (the South Indian Diwali Dance Festival) and the acapella groups’ spring showcases. The social scene at Duke is very diverse and always fun! A student can decide to rush a Greek sorority/ fraternity, join a Selective Living Group, or remain unaffiliated. All rush processes occur in the spring which lets students first form friendships independent of their affiliations and then make more and new friends in the spring. Although the Greek community is large, it does not dominate all aspects of social life like it does at other universities. Like most college campuses, many social events and popular weekend activities include drinking, but Duke provides students with many fun and sober events every weekend through the Devils After Dark program. Everyone's favorites are the Disney sing-a-longs they put on about once a month.

Lillie

Duke students engage in a lot of different activities. Durham is one of the "foodiest" cities in America, so going out to eat is AWESOME. Additionally, the nightlife in Durham is pretty fun. Some students don't like it (it takes a sense of humor to like some of the establishments because they are just so ridiculous, such as Shooters II, which has a mechanical bull and a giant statue of a horse in the middle of the dance floor), but it is easy to find a place to just hang out and chill on campus on a weekend as well. Speakers come, and DUU and other campus organizations put on really fun events, such as concerts, water balloon fights, bouncy castles, etc. There are also a multitude of sports events to go to, and there is no experience quite like being a Cameron Crazie. As far as romance, Duke could be improved - there is certainly a lack of a dating culture at Duke. Students start to settle down sophomore and junior year, but actually going on dates is rare, as are relationships freshman year. Some Duke students go through their entire college experience without having a significant other, whether by choice or no. There is a hookup culture, especially within the Greek scene. Fraternities and sororities are as important as you make them in your life. However, this may change with the new housing model that Duke is implementing. The Duke student body is open to friends and new people, though as the years go on it gets harder to meet new people. Overall, the students enjoy the social scene, and there is never really a lack of things to do.

Cassidy

The closest friends I have made in college, I made my freshman year. While I constantly meet new people, the people I spend the most time with are the friends I made as a freshman. I participated in a pre-orientaiton backpacking trip, Project WILD, the summer before I went to Duke. This gave me the opportunity to form relationships with my classmates before I even set foot on campus. I loved the program because it helped to dispel the anxiety I experienced about leaving home and being the only student from my high school going to my university. My first semester at Duke, I also participated in a Freshman FOCUS program. This grouped a set of classes together with the theme of cognitive science, geopolitics and collective memory. The students in my FOCUS classes lived in the same residence hall and once a week, we had a seminar over dinner with out professors. We grew close over the classwork, the study groups we formed and the dinners we had together, made easier by the fact that we all lived together. Duke is the perfect size where you can walk through campus and you will without a doubt run into someone you know. But you will rarely run into the same person twice. I have participated in a range of activities during my time at Duke from photographing for the student newspaper, The Chronicle, to traveling to Medellin, Colombia through DukeEngage. The friends I have made are just as eclectic as the activities I have tried. There are two events, however, in which the entire student body participates: Duke Basketball and LDOC (the Last Day of Classes celebration). Duke Basketball is pretty self explanatory: we tent, we paint ourselves, we yell and we win. LDOC is a day of celebration culminating in a free concert on the main quad where artists like Ludacris and Ben Folds perform for the student body. Both are universally attended and essential to the Duke social experience.

.

There are many, many student groups on campus. Just about anything that you can think of. The most popular are intramural sports (really casual and easy to get involved in), student government, and various others. I'm in a group called Duke Engineers for International Development (DEID), which is essentially Engineers without Borders without the official charter from their organization. Last year, I was involved with the El Salvador project. During the year, we worked on bridge designs and fundraising for our project. Then, over the summer, a group of ten of us (from all engineering disciplines) traveled to El Salvador and stayed for eight weeks. We worked with an NGO from the US called Bridges to Prosperity, and built two suspended footbridges in neighboring communities. Then we rehabilitated a vehicular bridge. We also go to interact a lot with the communities, which included playing soccer with schoolchildren. It was definitely the best experience of my life, and before Duke, I never thought it was possible that I could get involved in something like this. It was my first time out of the country. I'm still involved with DEID this year too. I'm fundraising chair for the El Salvador project, but I'm also involved with the Bolivia project. I'll travel to Bolivia the first three weeks of Summer 2012 to build another footbridge with 7 other Duke students (we're working with Bridges to Prosperity on this project too). These types of projects might sound boring to non-engineers, but rest-assured that there are plenty of other projects for non-engineers too! Every week, we get emails of all of the different events going on during the week and on the weekend. There are a variety of events--musical, theater, entertainment. My favorite is the weekly movies they show. Duke will show movies that haven't yet been released on DVD but are out of normal theaters, and students get in for free. Aside form these events, Duke students are also huge athletic fans. Even though our football team isn't great, students still enjoy the games. Basketball season is huge too (as I'm sure most people know!) Cameron Crazies are the best fans in the world (I am slightly biased.) I met most of my close friends last year in my dorm. I'm also friends with people I've met from classes though. It's really easy to meet new people at Duke, which I love. As for dating, the scene at Duke isn't huge, but it's definitely apparent. Last year, as a freshman, I didn't notice it too much. Freshman live on a separate campus than upperclassmen, so it was rare to see couples then. It must have been because people were still getting to know each other because this year I have seen a lot more couples. Some students are too busy to date I think, but there are definitely people who make the time for relationships. On a Tuesday at 2 AM, I'm up studying. Students work hard during the week so they can enjoy a little time off on a Friday or Saturday night (and Thursdays for many students too). People, whether or not they are in a frat/sorority, like to go out and have a good time. I will usually go out to dinner with some friends and catch a movie on the weekend. I'm not a big partier, but I still have a social life. You don't have to party to make friends, but if you do party, you will definitely have a good time here. I don't go off campus too often even though I have my car. There is always a lot to do on campus, so I never feel like I need to leave! One of Duke's big annual events is LDOC--Last Day of Classes. We get a few very popular musical artists to come perform. Past performances were from Ludacris, Mike Posner, and Kanye West. Students enjoy a day of fun before having to study for finals. There are many other exciting events throughout the year though too!

tom

They are the Scottie Pippen to the West Campus Courts' Michael Jordan, but hey, Scottie was a hell of a player too. Few people utilize these courts, but they stay lit to the wee hours of the night, and can sometimes be found housing some less-than legal activities by freshmen.

tom

The Intramural Sports building has seen more vicious battles on the court than the more famous Cameron Indoor Stadium. While unassuming, the memories that fill this stadium make it special to many.

Blake

Definitely pledge. If you don't you miss out on pretty much everything. Lots of shagging, not many couples.

Brett

The athletic events on campus are the glue to life at Duke. Its what brings us all together, transcedning the various categories of people we are affiliated with. When it comes to athletics, we all are Dukies! or even better Cameron Crazies! We have several traditions relating to athletics like K-Ville, which I meantioned prior. In addition we have the tradition of climbing the chapel before you graduate and burning benches when we beat UNC in basketball (the best tradition of them all). If I am up at 2am on Tuesday its because I procrastinated with my friends in the common room all day long!

steffi

Hard....social life/ activities are very hard. Hookup culture is very prominent. after 5pm people's matuaty levels steadily decline. The kid who is curing cancer in the day light is the same guy drunk and making an ass out of himself at the bars at night. the social scene is very competitive, just as competitive as the academic scene.

Luke

Basketball games are obviously the biggest sporting event that everyone goes to, but football and soccer games are fun too. Many people leave their doors while they are around. If you like a good party, you can be sure you'll find one easily on a Friday or Saturday night, but if that's not your thing, you can usually find somebody with a car to go to a movie or get a meal at Cookout.

Kelly

Its really easy to get involved and athletic events, especially basketball and lacrosse, are popular. A lot of people say Duke is a hook-up school, but I know a lot of people in relationships. Greek life is sort of big, but it wont ruin your social life if your not greek.

Devin

Whole lot of drinking. People generally go to house/frat parties and drink or drink before hand and go to a strip of clubs nearby to dance and possibly hook up (you will learn all about Shooters, dont worry). I suppose there are people who dont drink, I'm not sure what they do, there are mediocre concerts at the coffeehouse I would sometimes go to. Ummm, yea. Basketball games I guess.

David

Basketball obviously is big, but dwindling due to the relatively poor play recently. Football games are not attended very well, but the early morning tail-gates are the place to be fall saturdays. There is a consistent party scene Fridays and Saturdays, of course, with some going out Wednesdays and Thursdays as well. But to be sure, the population of kids who are out on Fridays and Saturdays is optimistically 25% of the school, and the Wednesday and Thursdays with even slimmer pickings. Fraternities are surprisingly influential in the party life, with, I would say, a majority of all parties I attended being a frat function of some kind. However, once you've been out a couple weekends in a row, you end up going to the same 2 grungy clubs at least one of your 3 weekend days. So naturally it can become a bit monotonous.

Carson

People are involved in many things. There are a ton of sports fans which is fun. Also, greek life is a great social option, but there are plenty of people who don't go greek too. Students also really get into big speakers coming to campus and I foudn myself broadening my horizons due to my classmates interests in things I never knew anything about! I met my closest friends in the most random ways, like waiting in line for food or just in my dorm or my partner in math! There is ALWAYS something to do socially and also ALWAYS someone to stay in with you and just watch a movie on a tired Friday night!

Bria

Lets see.... I think the social life at Duke is really fun. One thing I would change is the way that the sororities and fraternities mix, because it doesn't really change that much so when you go out it is often with the same people. The freshman dorms on the main quad are great because they are small and people leave their doors open pretty much until they go to sleep. My floor was great because of about 30 people, I was good friends with about 20 of them, including my RAs. Everyone at Duke says that the dating scene is pretty much non-existent and that it is predominately a hookup culture, which is true, and quite frustrating. Don't get me wrong, I joined in on the um....practices, but I would rather go on dates and get to know guys than make out with them on the dance floor. On a typical weekend, I pregame in my dorm (which for freshman is "illegal" cause the campus is dry-depends on your RAs....mine were awesome and drank with us on the last day of school) and then go to a club. Usually shooters if dancing is in the cards or devines if not. Normally I go out with girls in my sorority about once a week and the dance team about once a week and the people in my dorm the other night. I would recommend getting a fake ID if you go out because after I got one, I was much less afraid of getting caught drinking underage.

KJ

There are parties every weekend. It's pretty sweet. Frats and sororities throw section parties on campus or host one at a local club. But there's other things to do on campus besides drinking. There are movies hosted by Freewater, a lot of cool local restaurants, and you can always play sports out on the quad.

Christine

Extracurriculars dominate most peoples lives, honestly... Most people spend more time with their extracurriculars than their actual studies. But it is really what Duke does- they breed leaders, and you don't become a leader in a classroom, you become a leader in clubs and activities. Basketball events=heaven. Because Durham isn't exactly hopping, almost everyone stays on campus all the time. You can find a party, a movie showing in the Union, or just a random group of friends hanging out in the dorm on any Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. You will find people you feel comfortable with, it just make take a year to do it.

Jeff

Everyone seems to leave their doors open for others. Seems very relaxed as far as living. A weird phenomenon has occured at Duke. Though no proven correlation, this social scene made up by intelligent people seems to really lack attractive people. The result is that people who were not really considered that "hot" in high school, have a new sense of being desired -along with a new sense of feeling better than everyone else. Very pitiful socially. Anyone who wants to hang out with normal people to party take a bus over to UNC Chapel Hill. Either join a frat or come with your friends. Otherwise YOU WILL FEEL OSTRISIZED.

Matt

Campus is always abuzz with some upcoming event, whether it's the performance of Maceo Parker and Booker T, Third Eye Blind, The Roots, or an address from Tucker Max. There are lots of parties every weekend, mostly hosted by Frats, but mostly pretty open.

Charli

The Greek life is pretty big on campus. I normally wouldn't have joined a fraternity or sorority, but I managed to find one with unique interests. I think since I was able to find at least one group to feel comfortable around and relate to at Duke, there's got to be people there for everyone. The fun thing is that all through high school I was awake alone in my room at 3 am. Now, when I'm up at 3, I just walk down the hall and greet the half that's still awake like me.

Drew

Freshman year and upper-class years are entirely different social schemas. Freshman year, students go to large Fraternity parties, hang out with friends in the common room, go to the dining halls together, etc. Sophomore and Junior year, large fraternity parties are less attended, and most partying occurs with close friends in their respective rooms. People always attend the athletic events, except football. However everyone tailgates before the show then goes to nap before going out at night. The guest speakers are often well attended, depending on how well published he or she is. The theater organization, Hoof 'n Horn, sells out a lot of their shows; the Rocky Horror Show was phenomenally done. Everyone perceives an overriding hook-up culture at Duke, but I have found a majority are in a relationship at some point in the year. But hook-ups do happen often. I have met my closest friends through every medium, a fraternity, debate, dorm rooms, parties, etc. You can find friends everywhere. At 2 am on a Tuesday, I could be hanging out with friends watching a movie, at a party, or studying for a test. Fraternities have a large part in the social scene, but do not control it. Other student groups throw great parties as well, and students party with friends in their rooms often. Last weekend I was at Duke, I went to a friends apartment to party with my fraternity one night, and went to a debate party the night before. On Saturday nights people are always just chillin with friends, usually the Duke University Union is playing a movie in the campus movie theater, Chapel Hill is close, Durham has some nice arts events as well. Off campus is limited, as we can do almost everything at Duke. We party off campus, go to nicer dinners, etc. but only luxury type things are done off campus. The basic needs are fulfilled on campus.

Matt

The greek scene is obviously huge. Lots of parties, lots of clubs, always something going on. I devote all my time to my extracurriculars. I love singing, so I joined an a cappella group. That's a lot of fun, and we are always socializing together. Athletic events are obviously huge, but so much fun. People don't really date here though. It's definitely more of a hook up culture. I met my best friends through my dorm (dorms get really close) and then through Campus Crusade and my a cappella. The stereotype is that if you're at Duke, you have to drink. I haven't had alcohol all year and I've had the time of my life. There are a ton of broadway shows, top level music and dance performances, international speakers, not to mention free movies every thursday, friday and saturday, free dvd rentals from the library, bowling alleys and laser tag close by, student performances galore and, of course, the sports games.

Brad

The closest school nearby is North Carolina Central University, but most students at my school don't interact with students there because it is a Historically Black College. I interact with the guys there because the guys at my school are "wack" and a lot of guys from NCCU come to the "black" parties on Duke’s campus. There is some interaction with students from UNC but not that much interaction because there is a little animosity between the students at both schools. Athletics are a BIG BIG part of campus - that is the only thing that brings students of all types together. Students try to play a role in administrative decisions but the administrators only pretend like they are listening to us (in reality they do what they want to do.) People here party starting on Thursday until Saturday. The white kids on campus mainly get drunk and then hook-up with random people. The black kids usually party at one of the venues on campus that is rented out by a frat or sorority, and there are cops present throughout the entire party (10pm-2am). On a typical friday night when there is a party the white kids get drunk by 10pm. The black kids pre-party before going to the actual party and nobody goes to the party until midnight because that is when the party gets crunk. My school is dependent on Greek life to have fun. There is no dating scene at Duke. Kids just "hook-up" with each other for the weekend. I don't know everyone on campus and I don't want to know everyone on campus. I have met most of my friends from my dorm freshman year.

KJ

Athletics are definitely the most popular events on campus; however, almost all events are free and heavily attended. There is some bitter rivalry between our neighboring schools of UNC and NC State, thus there is not much interaction. However, a Robertson Bus runs daily between UNC and Duke, which promotes more cross-town bonding. My friends and I often hang out on Franklin St. in Chapel Hill! As for daily activities, there is always stuff going on. The best place to find out about events for the week is on the Bryan Center walkway, which will soon be remodeled into a bigger plaza with food vendors (!). You walk down the BC walkway and get wrapped up in this jumble of stimulating eye-candy. The LGBT center is giving out free T-shirts, the cast of West-side Story is dancing to boom-box music, the Duke Conservation Union is harassing you to sign their petition, and the Sabrusora Dance group is yelling at you to come to their show on Wednesday night! After all these distractions... you are usually late for class. Alcohol is big. If you don't want to drink and party, get creative! I often don't drink on the weekends, and its ok too. You can go to a party sober and no one makes fun of you, you can go to a play, you can frolic in Duke Gardens; however, the most popular thing to do is to get drunk at a frat party and then go clubbing on Ninth Street. Frats are big, and sororities are too; however, sororities don't live together, so they don't have an overwhelming presence. You can always meet new people, but there is more hooking-up than actual dating. overall - the saying "work hard, play hard" is definately true at Duke. Anyone can easily get drunk any night of the week, but that is true at most colleges. What is different at Duke is the intensity of the partying. People study all day and party all night; drinking, clubbing, hooking up, etc..

Will

A lot of stuff to do at Duke, but you have to take the initiative to do it. Most students complain there's nothing to do, but there are tons of shows, lectures, movies, recitals, etc. etc. to attend. And Durham offers tons of awesome activities to enjoy, like bars, restaurants, local bands, art exhibits, etc. Durham is a real happening place, but Dukies don't see it because they isolate themselves in the Gothic Wonderland (AKA Duke). Greek Life dominates the social scene, though its power is declining. And there's a lot of resistance to it because students just don't know what they're going to do without frat parties. It's not too difficult to imagine other forms of social organization. As frats lose power, other outlets will be created organically. Humans are social by nature, and something will pop up.

Nate

Only freshmen in freshmen dorms leave their doors open. Maybe, in fraternity sections, some brothers may leave their doors unlocked or open, but thats not necessarily typical.

Travis

Fraternities are good, A select group of people go out all the time.

Jake

I think the freshmen year experience is the best in the country. I met some of my best friends that are still my best friends in my dorm freshmen year. i think there is a lot to be involved in. i wish there was more diversity in the social life, where there were different things to do besides rotating through the usual 6 or 7 bars based on what night a week it was.

jordan

you can have fun every night of the week if you want to. but if not, there are always people studying

danny

What social scene?

Kelly

Go greek or die

Bud

The social scene is dominated by greek life and drinking. Traditions such as tailgate and LDOC center heavily around the mass consumption of alcohol by the student body.

Dan

I'm in DTD. Social life is dominated by greeks. It gets repetitive really fast. Maybe I would know more non-drinking social activities if I weren't greek, I don't know though.

Parker

I am in DTD frat. also club soccer. dorms are good but everyone is so seperated with selective living groups that you never mix with independents after freshman year, or frats besides the ones who have friends in. if your awake at 3 am on a tuesday you may be doing blow. tailgate is fantastic and one of the only events that brings the student body together. there are plenty of things to do that dont involve drinking unfortunately i havent done any of them. students should take advantage of all the events that go on on campus but bars are more fun and an easier way to get laid....isnt that what college is about? compared to bigger state schools (like unc) the social scene is whack. biggest problem is there are no good off campus house parties, so students are forced into small apts and a few shitty bars and clubs. but getting wasted and going out with friends is a great time, there are a lot of complaints about the social scene but it is what you make it. i have fun.

Eric

Duke has an active social scene, and students generally are interested in getting to know each other. The dating scene is somewhat weak, there is more of a hookup culture, but there are a lot of long-term relationships too. If you are willing to sift through students who are mostly interested in hookups, you will be able to find someone who is right for you, and interested in dating.

Parker

Like the social life a lot.

Gene

You can do whatever you want, and you can hang out with whomever you want.

Harper

It is ok, but could definitely be better. The non-Greek social life is weak, which is probably hurt by the open party policy (which forces independents and other SLG's to compete with fraternity and sorority parties) but on the other hand there is almost always something going on. If you don't want to drink, it would be difficult to find a mainstream social group at Duke that is into that, but individuals who aren't into drinking can definitely fit in with the main groups on campus.

John

I think people should stop complaining about the social scene at Duke. Does it suck we don't have frat houses? Sure. Do I see the same group of people out every single weekend? Sure. Are girls stereotyped as needing to attain effortless perfection? Yeah. Does Duke social scene suffer from all the run of the mill issues with life presented to young adults? Yup. The fact that Duke has a dysfunctional social scene is indicative of our society in general. That doesn't preclude people from being happy. If people stop worrying about being socially accepted and just hang out with people they enjoy, they won't have so much to bitch about and people will probably think you're cool anyway.

Chris

One of the most popular groups is of course the basketball team. They are talked about very often and almost everyone knows their names. One organization I'm a part of is Club Ultimate. We have awesome activities that add to our practices and conditionings we have during the week such as team parties and mixers with the girls Ultimate team. The people in my dorm are very open and we almost always have doors open, ready for small talk or really deep discussions.

Tate

Greek life is the most important and popular type of organization on campus, and it is also the most active. Greeks contribute to campus in many different ways, including through philanthropy, social life, community service, educational programming, and leadership opportunities.

Nick

frats control social scene

Nico

If you wanna party you go to a frat or sorority hosted event. Clubs off campus are huge.

Joe

Durham can be fun once you're 21 and can go to the bars. The Durham Bulls provide some cool off campus entertainment. The best thing about Duke is that, unlike larger public schools like UNC, there are many events that bring the entire student body together. These include parties in the library, events on the quad, engineering picnics, tailgates, etc.

Peter

party shooters, library, shooters, satis sucks, devine's

Mike

Greek life is dominant but not exclusive as at other large schools. You can find a club you're into, a musical scene to explore, Durham life, anything.

Eddie

For the most part I don't feel that race is that big of an issue here except when it comes to the social groups unless your a floater like me and go aout talking to anyone. At times i felt that some girls take a look at me and as soon as they see that I am black they put in the back of their mind any type of personal relationship they could have with them. On the same note I guess you can say for every girl that looks upon you for the way you look their is another one who wants to get to know you even more. I believe some lines are set by money but a majority are not. I wish there were mroe scenes to party at.

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