A new sophomore class social will be held on March 20.
The inaugural event, coined Academic Homecoming, celebrates sophomores joining their new academic “homes” after declaring their major, said sophomore Laurel Kaye, senator for academic affairs.
“We really want to start academic traditions at Duke,” Kaye said. “There are so many special traditions [at Duke] that revolve around athletics or social culture, but there are few academic traditions to celebrate.”
She added that sophomores must declare their majors in the days before spring break. The event will be held the Wednesday after spring break.
Academic Homecoming will feature a meet-and-greet with faculty and professors from each academic department, as well as free food and shirts personalized for each major. It will be an event that brings the entire sophomore class together, said sophomore Nikolai Doytchinov, vice president for academic affairs.
Kaye said she hopes Academic Homecoming will become an annual tradition to celebrate an aspect of student life that is often overlooked.
“We want to create a community for students that branches past other social and athletic groups,” Kaye said. “Students in the same major will be spending a lot of time together. We hope that [Academic Homecoming] will allow students to begin fostering an academic community or mentorship relationships.”
Senator for Academic Affairs Ray Li, a sophomore, said the event required a lot of collaboration between different groups, but he said he believes it will be worth the effort for students to feel welcomed into their new departments.
“I’m really excited for Academic Homecoming because it will be one of the first programmed events catered purely to academics,” said Executive Vice President Patrick Oathout, a junior. “The shirt idea is genius—there aren’t many philosophy majors on campus, so now I might get a chance to meet some after seeing their shirts. I am glad DSG chose to fund the event, and I hope it continues year after year.”
The event is being sponsored by Duke Student Government, the Student Organization Finance Committee, Sophomore Class Council, the Academic Advising Center and the Sophomore Year Experience. It is also receiving support from Lee Baker, dean of academic affairs of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences; Tom Katsouleas, dean of the Pratt School of Engineering; Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education; and Dean of Arts and Sciences Laurie Patton.