Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta has earmarked $50,000 for student programming in the first three weeks of fall semester.
Jonathan Bigelow, president of the Union, called the gift one of the most generous of its kind in the University's history.
Programming recommendations have been left to the discretion of a group of student leaders, headed by Bigelow, that has been meeting weekly and contacting other campus organizations for ideas about what activities could be sponsored.
"My sense and understanding is that this is to be student-created, student-implemented," said Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek, adding, however, that administrators will ultimately have to approve any and all projects. The money will come from a variety of sources, but funds will ultimately be provided by the Office of Student Affairs.
Bigelow said he believes the most effective student programming is almost always done by students. Even the name chosen for the set of events - 21 Night Stand - suggests a non-administrative aura, he said.
Although the upcoming events are still in the planning stages, Bigelow said water games, outdoor films, transportation and discounted tickets for Durham Bulls baseball games, a "student-arts-and-showcase-type" event and a dance party in The Hideaway have been discussed as possibilities.
"It's hot as hell in August here, and we think this event is refreshingly cool, literally and figuratively," he said.
The programming of 21 Night Stand will be separate from the ordinary activities planned by student groups, going "above and beyond" their normal programming, Bigelow said. In the beginning of the year, many student organizations are just getting on their feet and are slow to sponsor their own activities.
"There were some discussions about how we might make the beginning of the school year more vibrant and robust from a programming standpoint," Wasiolek said.
For student leaders, the funding comes as an unexpected but extremely welcome gift.
"I was sort of blown away that they had come up with this wonderful opportunity," Bigelow said. "I don't think anything's ever been attempted at Duke on this scale before."
Moneta was on vacation and could not be reached for comment.
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