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Summer students stay busy

Students staying in Durham during the summer seem to agree--it's time to live up to the second half of the "work hard, play hard" Duke ethic.

Whether it is hanging out with fraternity or sorority members, attending Durham Bulls games, dining out in Chapel Hill, or frequenting off-campus hot spots like the Belmont Apartments pool, students are turning to a wide array of activities to keep themselves busy in between classes, research posts or jobs.

Although normally relatively empty during the summer months, the Bryan Center has been occupied by its fair share of students this week-sports fans enjoying the World Cup, the NBA Finals and the NHL Playoffs.

Central Campus housing for summer students means no communal televisions in commons rooms for students, leading many students to go to the BC to get their fix of television shows or news.

"I don't really watch TV, but I have noticed it's sort of different living in an apartment," said sophomore Ruthie Chen. "I feel like I don't really know what's going on in the outside world."

Others like sophomore Allison Elia opt to catch up on seasons of TV shows or rent movies.

"My roommate and I do a lot," Elia said, "We decided to watch all the seasons of [the television series] '24' to see what the hype was about."

For students hoping to escape the summertime tranquility on campus, weekend trips serve as a taste of life outside of Durham-at least for those who have access to cars.

"I went white water rafting in Virginia, which is awesome," said junior Mark Jelley, adding that he and his friends have traveled to Washington, D.C., and taken occasional trips to the beach "to get in some surfing."

Jelley said during the rigorous academic year such trips are not an option. "During the school year I never go anywhere. I'm a double physics and chemistry major, so that precludes me from any social life," he joked.

But students lacking cars said they often find themselves inconvenienced. "It would be a lot easier if I did have one just to get around-like for doing groceries and stuff," Chen said. "There's only so much you can do on campus."

The limited hours of on-campus eateries often force students to search for other solutions for food.

"Food's the biggest deficit on campus," said senior Rob Ocel. "I go out to eat almost every day because everything on campus is closed."

For Elia, however, life during the summer is not that much of a change from the academic year.

"I get together with friends on campus or off campus and hang out with them, it's not too different," Chen said, noting that social life during the summer has one added bonus.

"Hanging out with friends is definitely a lot more relaxed during the summer," she said. "It's kind of nice just to be able to hang out with people as opposed to always having an organized plan."

The 250-plus student members of the Duke summer activities listserv, however, beg to differ.

Managed by Vivian Wang, the summer activities director for this year, the listserv is used to send students a weekly schedule of organized activities funded by the Office of Continuing Studies.

Typical activities have included starlight bowling in Cary, strawberry picking, "wafting" in inflatable boats on the Eno River, Wednesday movie nights, Durham Bulls baseball games and discounted concert trips, such as last night's Dave Matthews Band concert.

Other activities encourage students to utilize free time for learning new skills. "I want to try a cooking night where students bring their own recipes," Wang added. "Often, Duke students are thrown into an apartment setting... relying on canned goods, frozen foods and stuff."

Wang also hopes to implement some student suggested activities as well, including a game of capture-the-flag in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

One group of students even organized their own listserv.

"It's not really a listerv in a true sense," said junior Alex Payne, noting that it was just a tool for him and his friend to post activities. "The only thing we use it for is if we know we're going to a Bulls game or we're going to a movie; we send out an e-mail that just says if you want to join us you're welcome to."

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