So what’s it like living on East Campus? Do you feel safe? What’s the best dorm to live in? Do you like that freshman have their own campus?…These are just a few of the questions I’ve been asked by some prospective students and their parents during Blue Devil Days about East Campus and the first-year experience. So the here’s the short answers: AWESOME. YES. YES. Keep reading for more for details on why exactly I answered this way.
So what’s it like living on East Campus?
All freshman live on East Campus, so it allows for a great place to foster community and camaraderie in your class. You build a lot of close friendships with your hall mates and people living in your dorm. Personally, I’ve loved having the opportunity to meet so many people from my class with such diverse and interesting backgrounds. I also love the fact you are almost guaranteed to see someone you know walking around East and it’s always nice to wave hi or stop and chat with a friend. After a long night studying in Perkins library or a meeting that ran late on west, it’s nice to come back to a familiar place with familiar faces. Not only is East Campus a residential campus, but it also has its own gym, library, dining hall, music building, coffeehouse, and a place called the Oasis in Bell Tower dorm that students often go to relax in massage chairs. I just spent some time in the Oasis myself the other night with a friend as we chatted about life, love, and the pursuit of an above average grade on a final we have coming up. There are also a lot of fun events exclusively for freshman hosted by the East Campus House Councils (each dorm has one!) like semi-formal dances, trips to Southpoint Mall, glow-in-the-dark raves, movie nights, or free food offered in the common rooms. One of the best things about East Campus that really makes it a unique living experience compared to other residential options offered at Duke is that it has a great location in the city of Durham. You can walk right off campus and there is a Whole Foods to stock up on groceries and a ton of eateries and shops where you will find many students on the weekends.
Do you feel safe?
Absolutely. I think Duke does a great job to make sure all students are safe. If there is ever an incident, there is an alert system that sends emails and texts to all students, so we are always in the loop. I find myself walking around campus by myself a lot, whether during the day or at night, and I’ve always felt comfortable. Everything is in close proximity on East, so it usually won’t take long to get to your destination anyway. With that being said, there are ways to take precautions. If I’m studying late at night with friends, I usually have one of my friends walk me back to my dorm. There are also “help poles” with blue lights that are scattered around campus with a button you can push if you feel threatened in any way that would put you into direct contact with Duke’s own police force.
What’s the best dorm to live in?
Definitely Gilbert-Addoms, or GA as we call it. Okay, okay I could be a little biased. East Campus actually has 14 residence dorms, and Gilbert-Addoms just happens to be where I call home. Each dorm has it’s own unique perks, so you really can’t go wrong. As an incoming freshman, you will be randomly assigned to a specific dorm (or if you are in a FOCUS program, you will be assigned to the dorm your particular FOCUS group will reside in) so you really won’t have much control over where you will be living. However, if you talked to a freshman living on East right now, they would more than likely sell you on their own dorm. What really makes each dorm superior is the people that live in them.
Do you like that freshman have their own campus?
It may seem strange that the freshman live on a different campus from upper classmen, but it’s actually the best. Whenever you first get to Duke, you may know a handful of people, one person, or no one at all, and it really helps to be surrounded by people that are in the exact same boat as you. As an incoming freshman, I didn’t know a soul in my class, so it was nice to know that when I was walking around Lilly Library for the first time trying to find a study spot or heading to brunch in the Marketplace on a Sunday afternoon, there were other freshmen doing the exact same thing. Being surrounded by people who were transitioning into college too was refreshing. It was and still is really nice to come back to a place that truly feels like home. Living on East allows you to get to know your fellow classmates and put more than just names to faces that you will be seeing for the next four years of your life. You finally have the opportunity to approach and introduce yourself to that person you only know from Facebook, but you’re not sure if they know you from Facebook, but they actually do know you from Facebook- trust me, there is more of that that goes on than you may think!
As always, please feel free to comment or email me with additional questions you may have about the first-year experience and student life at Duke. I really enjoyed speaking to the p-frosh that visited during Blue Devil Days- if you attended and would like to see pictures visit the Duke Admissions Facebook page and you can also check out what your fellow p-frosh, current Duke students (myself included!), and even Dean Guttentag were saying about Blue Devil Days under #BDD2012 on Twitter. For more specifics about what it’s like to live on East Campus in particular, check out the recording of the live video chat I did with sophomore, Grace Dulik, and another fellow blogger, Ashley Alman.
The views and opinions of the bloggers on this page are their own; they do not necessarily represent the views of the Undergraduate Admissions Office or of Duke University.