In last Monday's issue of The Chronicle, senior Bill English said, "Thankfully, no one need be encumbered with the task of explaining why we don't have a decent social life." In short time here I've heard many complaints that Duke doesn't have a decent social life. In response to English and countless others, I would like to encumber myself with explaining why.
I first started thinking about the problem with Duke social life at the Pat McGee concert on East Campus last year. The evening was cold, but nevertheless, I was disappointed to see less than 500 people there, mostly upperclassmen.
That night I came up with a simple theory of why Duke lacks a decent social life. Over 1,300 freshmen decided not to go because they didn't feel they would be missing out-they didn't feel like they were missing the thing to do on campus. Duke's social life is disorganized. It's good to have many diverse social options, but it's great to also have one main event that everyone talks about the next week. True, we don't have enough of those marquee events, but even when we do, not enough people come.
Right now, Duke's social life is like an empty dance floor. We need less people standing on the side muttering "this party sucks" and more brave souls stepping out onto the floor to get this party started. I suggest that Campus Council contact student leaders and encourage them to get their groups to attend events. Social life obviously can't be forced, but this plan just may work.
If you think Duke's social life stinks, please realize that you don't just pay for a good social life along with tuition and housing. Larry Moneta may be vice president for student affairs, but it's not his job to throw us parties. Instead of complaining about Duke social life, consider getting your friends to go to fun events on campus, working with Campus Council or, if you're too busy for that, making suggestions to Campus Council members or just helping out in your own way. Remember that this isn't a Duke problem-it's our problem-and there's something we can do about it.
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