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Few Life: A Dorm Full Of Housing-Independent Juniors

The juniors who make up a majority of Few Quadrangle are what Steve Nowicki, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, calls "housing independents"—students not living in an SLG or a large block like a fraternity section. Although Nowicki said the University does not do enough to serve those independents, Few became an unintentional experiment in what large-scale independent housing might look like in the future.

But not all independents want to live exclusively with other independents, said David Tat, a junior who previously lived in Edens 3B where lived within a section he did not block with.

"I'm an independent, but that doesn't mean anything, I'm all over the place because that's where my friends are," Tat said. "Just because you put a bunch of independents together doesn't mean it's going to recreate that East Campus feeling—they've already been [at Duke] for a while, they have their own friends, they aren't just going to assimilate and be best friends [with their hall mates]."

Though enjoying his experience in Few, Tat, and several other students, said he did not think the absence of SLGs and sections was necessarily Few's biggest draw. Tat said that so long as independents are not embedded in a section, he supports having sections and SLGs.

Michelle Jablons, a junior Few resident who previously lived in Keohane Quadrangle, said though it is necessary to have a place on campus for independents who do not want to live near large blocks, she added that students know where SLGs and sections are located on campus and can, for the most part, choose their housing accordingly.

"If you don't want to be around them you don't have to, and I feel like forcing them off campus will just make people angry," Jablons said. "I know already there's stuff off campus, it's your choice to make what you want of your social life, but I don't know what I'd say about [section and large block rules changing]. There are girls on my hall in a sorority, but it doesn't feel like a section... they don't really have more than five or six rooms."

Many of Few's multitude of juniors are just returned from studying abroad. Jablons said she thinks the Few dynamic is an ideal way to help ease students' transitions back into University life.

"I think it's great this dorm got filled in with all new people so you're coming back to Duke life, but you're not coming back to a dorm where everyone's been hanging out for a semester and you're that one room." Jablons said. "To move into a dorm that'd been empty for a semester as a big group is great, and I know a lot of sophomores are disappointed they won't have that opportunity."


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