Well, maybe you can. Duke's trying pretty hard. But so far things have run smoothly, sans the typical catastrophe (cough, housing) or catch-22 (cough, housing).
Move-in really surprised me--I remember thinking how disastrous the streamlined process would be, but I was and am pleasantly surprised. Moreover, the West-Edens Link was actually completed for move-in Aug. 19, even if laundry, dining and landscaping have had some minor setbacks. The Subway/Breyers stand outside The Great Hall was also supposed to be open after labor day, but these are only minor details. Perhaps it will be a good year after all.
I do, however, have some suggestions that I have stolen from the various universities I spent time at over the summer.
Big Blue Bins! At the University of Toledo, in northwest Ohio, to expedite the move-in and move-out process, a student has the option to wheel a gigantic blue bin out to his car, load it up with stuff and roll it to his room for unloading. This is really a fantastic invention, alleviating the burden of multiple trips to and from the car to the dorm. Apparently Duke utilized a shuttle service for Blue Zone parkers this year which is a start, but I think Big Blue Bins would be a way to really tie-up the moving process in a neat little do-it-yourself Duke-blue package.
Fountains! At Stanford, the Duke of the West (what Duke claims to be, anyways), fountains adorn the campus on almost every quad. Although perhaps an expensive landscaping alternative, they definitely provide beauty, elegance and peacefulness to the university atmosphere. The best part is that Stanford students use them not only to look at, sit by or occasionally throw money into, but to swim in. So fountains have an applicable functionality to them as well. The WEL needs landscapingâ??why not consider a fountain or even two?
Sculptures and Statuesâ??possibly even used in conjunction with fountains! UCLA has a most excellent and legendary sculpture garden where students sit and ponder, discuss, have a cup of coffee, perhaps even play chess. Sculptures and statues are so intellectual-looking; our students will definitely absorb some class and creativity, and if not, at least feel smarter. A perfect addition to any campus.
Themed Dorm Parties! Also at Stanford, dorms get together and throw huge themed parties open to all. This is a great idea for Duke, especially with our rapidly declining on-campus social scene. I'm sure there are many funds available for this type of activity, as it definitely promotes campus unity, diversity and all that good stuff, while providing a semi-safe atmosphere for students to have fun. Last year's dorm party to remember at Stanford was Exotic Erotic--two articles of clothing allowed for the girls and one for the guys. Good clean fun was had by all. Our administration would dig this alternative to greek parties, maybe.
Bullfrogs! California Institute of Technology has a pond in the middle of campus containing the most fantastic bullfrogs I have ever seen, noises and all. Not only were the frogs gargantuan, but also, they sat upon neat little lily pads, with turtles swimming underfoot. The turtles weren't nearly as impressive, however. I think that Duke should invest in a project of this sort for the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, or at least provide us with bullfrogs in some way, shape or form. Let this be a lesson for the administration: Bullfrogs = Happier Students.
Drainage! One thing common to all the fine institutions I visited this summer is excellent drainage. Superior drainage for a superior school, I should say. The drainage is excellent at Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, CalTech, and U-Toledo, and I think it is time that Duke follow suit. For no more puddles on West Campus stone, just put the drains at the bottom of a slope! Hopefully Duke figured this out for the WEL.
Duke is definitely on its way to something, that's for sure. Be it organization, efficiency, a healthy social scene, good or evilâ??only time will tell. Hopefully these few, pious suggestions can lead Duke down the path of the righteous and deliver it from (more) evil.
Chandra Jacobs is a Trinity junior. Her column appears every third Wednesday.
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