We would like to make some clarifications and provide further explanation about the goals of the Women’s Housing Option in response to the Feb. 1 article, “Women’s Housing Option builds community, culture on West.”

First of all: WHO House is not substance free. WHO House hopes to provide Duke men and women with new social outlets, not excluding those with alcohol. In addition, the dorm will be focused on all social issues and how they affect both men and women. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, women’s issues. 

WHO House was created through Professor Rachel Seidman’s “Women as Leaders” class, and has since taken on a life of its own. We identified the current lack of real estate for women on West. Baldwin is the only all-female section on West, but this phenomenal program is only able to take a small number of women each year. WHO House aims to expand the opportunities available to Duke women, and in doing so, make an impact on the whole campus.       

WHO House will be driven by its members. Each year dorm members will go on a retreat early in the fall to build dorm cohesion, and to choose a focus around which they will structure programming. This focus will represent their varied interests and can fall anywhere on a spectrum of social issues. An elected programming committee will plan WHO’s events, which can range from bringing in a guest speaker for a faculty dinner, to attending a campus lecture as a dorm, to organizing a campus-wide event on the Main Quad.  

Through these events, WHO House will become an open place to build community between men and women. It will be an environment where members form mentoring relationships. It is meant to be a new experience for the women in many ways; there are no prerequisites or requirements, merely a willingness to build relationships and a desire to create the change you want to see. 

Mary Dyke

Trinity ’10