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Grunch is coming. But what is it?

You've heard of lunch, and you've heard of Flunch. 

Now meet Grunch.

Duke Student Government is launching a graduate-undergraduate lunch initiative called Grunch. The program will allow undergraduate students to take graduate and professional students out to lunch for informal advising, at no cost to either. 

Set to debut this Fall, Grunch builds on the idea of Flunch—which provides a budget for undergraduates to take faculty to lunch—and intends to provide an additional advising outlet to undergraduate students. 

“This program will create the occasion for advice, cautions, encouragement, mentorship and—above all—honesty from a graduate/professional student living a potential ‘next step’ of an undergraduate’s educational pathway,” junior Joel Mire, senator for academic affairs, wrote in an email.

Mire designed the program with sophomore Jake Satisky, senator for academic affairs, and Treasurer Nick Santangelo, a junior, along with institutional help from Deb Johnson, assistant vice provost for undergraduate education, and Arlie Petters, dean of academic affairs for Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and associate vice provost for undergraduate education. Satisky is also a university news editor for The Chronicle.

“[The program] is not meant to replace or usurp the Academic Advising Center, but to provide an additional perspective,” Satisky said. 

Undergraduate students will have a budget of $24 per Grunch. Students can either take a graduate or professional student they already know out to lunch or pick one from a spreadsheet of around 150 professional and graduate students. The list will soon be available on DSG's website. 

“The Grunch cards can be used at any Duke eatery that accepts food points,” Satisky said.

Because a large number of Duke students are on the same career trajectory, both Mire and Satisky noted the need for more comprehensive pre-professional and graduate advising on campus. 

“While Grunch is for all undergraduates, it will be particularly helpful for students in departments that—perhaps due to size, popularity or resources—do not have as robust advising networks as business, medicine and law,” Mire wrote. “Grunch can help all students flourish in their academic passions and lend clarity to their goals.”

He added that graduate and professional students—having recently asked the same questions and navigated the application process successfully—can offer an invaluable perspective. 

Grunch can provide students considering graduate or professional school an opportunity to reflect on whether their academic experiences and lifestyle preferences may impact their decisions about continuing their education, he noted.

"How do I know if I am genuinely passionate about graduate/professional school? Are my classes and experiences preparing me? What surprised you about graduate school?" Mire wrote. "What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of graduate school? What do you wish you had known before you started grad/professional school?”


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