The independent news organization of Duke University

Group launches new online forum for student discussion

Blue Devil’s District, a website created by Duke Student Government to facilitate discussion on campus issues, was launched Wednesday. The posts on the website will be tied to students’ NetIDs.
Blue Devil’s District, a website created by Duke Student Government to facilitate discussion on campus issues, was launched Wednesday. The posts on the website will be tied to students’ NetIDs.

A new online forum created by Duke Student Government hopes to spark campus discussion.

DSG discussed the launch of Blue Devils District last night at its meeting, a website that anyone with a Duke NetID can log onto and post. Webmaster Jonathan Zhang, a sophomore, said he has been working for the past two months with the Office of Information Technology in preparation for the launch.

“What we’re trying to do with this is make an online discussion forum [to replace] CollegeACB and Juicy Campus,” said DSG Chief of Staff Andrew Schreiber, a senior. “Instead of fraternity rankings and [threads about] the hottest freshmen girls, we will have actual discussion.”

What distinguishes Blue Devils District from such gossip websites is that participants’ names will accompany all posts. Zhang said the forum’s lack of anonymity should encourage productive discussions about topics ranging from the campus to Durham. DSG representatives will moderate the forums.

Currently, the site has seven topics: housing and facilities, Duke events, academics, athletics, dining, Durham matters and general discussion. Dining has been the most active in its two weeks of beta testing, Zhang said. He also noted that Head Line Monitor John Reynolds, a senior, has already solicited feedback about Krzyzewskiville policies on the forum.

DSG members suggested additional forum topics such as campus safety. Adding topics about ride-sharing and ticket purchasing was also proposed.

Schreiber said the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has already contacted DSG to request that the website be featured in the Class of 2015 Blue Book. He said he also hopes Blue Devils District will be featured on The Chronicle’s and the DukePass website.

“We hope [Blue Devils District] will create a greater sense of community with students and DSG,” said Director of Student Outreach Stratten Waldt, a sophomore. Waldt said the website could fill the gap of the “tremendously underutilized” website and allow students to find out what is going on in other student groups.

Although Blue Devils District is tailored toward undergraduates, Schreiber said the involvement of administrators and faculty is encouraged.

“It would be cool if [Dean of Undergraduate Education] Steve Nowicki posted and said, ‘Oh hey, we are doing this and this in the administration right now,” Schreiber said.

Zhang said the website will begin to advertise in high-traffic areas like the Bryan Center and the Marketplace in order to attract more student participation.

“It’s been a pretty crazy semester and it might be a good thing to talk about it,” Schreiber said.

In other business:

The trial run of a new C-2 bus route after 8 p.m. that eliminates the Trent loop begins Thursday. Sophomore Alikiah Barclay, a member of the Student Organization Finance Committee, presented a petition signed by freshmen to make the shortened C-2 bus route after 8 p.m. permanent.

“This is important not only because it validates what we’ve been able to do, but tomorrow when the C-2 does start running the freshmen will know they have a voice,” Barclay said. “It will show why DSG is relevant.”

DSG also granted charters to four new student groups: Duke University Percussion Ensemble, Duke Journal of Gender and Sexuality, Integrated Campus Advocacy Network and Women’s Housing Option.

Comments