My campaign slogan, bull-ding our relationship with Durham, reflects my aspirations as a Senator and as a Duke student. During my first year as Senator, I realized that students are incredibly insulated. When we first arrive at Duke, we receive only a limited introduction to the complex history of Durham and its relationship with Duke; we are incredibly unaware of the community outside of the Duke bubble. Understanding Durham history and the values community members uphold are crucial elements that affect how we civically engage with our community.
Volunteering at the Museum of Durham History and Duke-Durham Giving Project, made me question my role as a student in the community. Where do we fit in as Duke students? Are we able to identify, comprehend, and propose solutions to the community’s needs? Durham is not only a place we will live for four years, but we can also make it our home. It is essential for Duke to have a rapport with Durham; this relationship develops through students. It is time for us to reflect on how our identities and experiences influence the community. It is time for us to place a critical lens on our engagement with Durham or lack thereof.
It’s my responsibility to ask my peers these questions about Duke and Durham, listening to any concerns they may have. Not only will I initiate the conversation and be open to suggestions, but I will consistently work towards solving the issues presented to me. Everyone deserves to feel safe and at home both at Duke and in Durham. As Senator for Durham and Regional Affairs, I strive to foster unity amongst students and with Durham, progressively bull-ding community.