For Bryce Cracknell, creating access and opportunities for students has been the focus of his Duke career. Now he’s running for Young Trustee to further pursue this goal.

A senior public policy major with a minor in environmental science and policy, Cracknell is a Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Scholar as well as the president of the Black Men's Union. He also serves as a member of the Trinity Board of Visitors and a resident assistant.

“How do we create better and more inclusive spaces and communities here at Duke?” he said. “I feel like I have a lot more to give.”

Cracknell noted that he first got involved with activism work on campus after a noose was hung on the Bryan Center plaza in 2015, and he realized that “this place wasn’t built for people like me.” He helped create “Demands of Black Voices,” a list of desired administrative actions and changes in policy, and also worked with the administration to designate the main quadrangle as Abele Quad.

In addition, Cracknell has worked to improve financial aid for RAs and advocated for better policies regarding sexual assault and gender relations as the Black Men’s Union president. 

“It’s really important to myself and many of the students here that we think about how we progress,” he said. “Duke now is not the same Duke that we came into.”

Cracknell also co-founded the group Students with Interracial Legacies, served as co-chair for the Black Student Alliance Invitational in 2016 and was an adviser to Valerie Ashby, dean of the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, as part of the Trinity Student Diversity Advisory Committee.

He highlighted his work on environmental justice as the most fulfilling part of his Duke career. He has also served as the student leader to the environmental justice partnership with the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise and Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute. 

Cracknell also participated in the “De-Constructing/Re-Constructing the Refugee Experience DukeImmerse” program with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, as well as DukeEngage in Thailand. 

He said he decided to run for Young Trustee because of the diverse perspectives he brings to the table and his desire to create better communities at Duke, noting that his experiences as an RA have prepared him well for this. 

“My perspective is both unique and inclusive in terms of how I work with people and being able to collaborate well with students across different interests,” he said. 

Cracknell added that one of the biggest issues that Duke currently faces is sexual assault and that he hopes to work to improve the resources and reporting process around this.

He also wants to help reaffirm Duke’s commitment to having a place for students of all backgrounds.

Senior Sade Abiodun, who is friends with Cracknell and has worked with him as an RA, noted that he approaches issues by considering multiple perspectives and is a great listener. 

“He’s just very passionate and very intentional in everything that he does and puts all of himself into it,” she said. 

Cracknell is also great at balancing multiple commitments, she said—including tenting while running a Young Trustee campaign. 

Erika Weinthal, Lee Hill Snowdon professor of environmental policy, has known Cracknell since his first semester at Duke and worked with him on the partnership with the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise. She noted that his natural leadership ability and integrity make him stand out. 

“I’ve been impressed over the years with his deep commitment to the work, he’s never wavered,” she said. “I can’t think of anyone else who embodies Duke like he does. The breadth of it is really impressive.”