Reaction to vandalism in the gardens
I was incredibly saddened to read about the recent vandalism at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. As an alumna and annual donor to the gardens, I consider them as a part of “home” at Duke—an indelible part of the Duke experience that everyone shares and enjoys in different ways. Although no suspects have been identified, I couldn’t help but wonder if angry students or fans had taken out their anger on the gardens after our loss to Lehigh.
I hope this is not the case. Last Friday was disappointing, but also a normal part of loving Duke in an era of extremely competitive college basketball. But Duke is about more than basketball wins. The buildings you study and sleep in and the people you work and live with become part of your DNA. Destroying something communal because you’re angry disintegrates what makes Duke special. Win or lose, the campus is everyone’s home—not the place to lay blame when we come up short.
I spent the summer of 2004 in Durham, and one evening friends and I heard over the radio (yes, we listened to radio way back then) that Coach K was weighing an offer from the Lakers. Half-kidding, I suggested we hold a candlelight vigil to change his mind. The idea spread, and that evening dozens arrived at Cameron painted head-to-toe in hopes that we could convince Coach K to stay. Whether or not he even knew we were there is irrelevant. We took something that seemed like an inevitable loss and created a positive demonstration of how great the Duke family is. We did not descend upon the gardens with torches.
Duke is a place where you have four years of encouragement, intellectual freedom and student government funding to make your dreams run wild. Don’t forget how rare and precious a place it is. Celebrate the wins, and take the losses in stride.
Elizabeth Dixon, Trinity ’05