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‘Tis the season to be spooky

The leaves are changing and the first melancholy note of autumn plays in the crisp air. Jack-o-Lanterns line the quad as campus squirrels fight amongst themselves to devour this tasty orange treat. Halloween draws ever closer, bringing with it the ghoulish costume contests and spooky themed parties that define October’s character. 

There are those who might say that Thanksgiving is the superior end-of-year holiday, with its endless feasts and classical whitewashing of the genocide of Native Americans by Europeans. Or even Christmas, an originally pagan celebration appropriated by early Christians to celebrate the birth of a Messiah who was probably born in September. I reject these critics. Halloween is the best holiday in autumn, if not the entire year. So as we approach the end of this season and head deeper into winter, let’s look back on some of the spooky, kooky, Duke-y highlights of October.

1. Straight Outta Central: The Greeks are back in town

Ah, Central Campus. That distant frontier hovering just outside our collective consciousness, a place where the bus goes and things disappear. I’ll be sad to see it go, but I’m sure the Central residents are more than ready to take a pickaxe to their apartment complex in a manner vaguely reminiscent of West Germans tearing down the Berlin Wall in 1990. In any case, HRL is moving full steam ahead to settle these soon to be displaced Greeks in sections on West Campus. Are we happy about that? The verdict is still out. 

On one hand, some independent houses that have been trapped in Edens for years are now getting moved into the Hollows, so that could be nice. Unless of course they’ve been actually trying to build a community in their section (like HRL told them to do), in which case the suite-style living of the Hollows might just erase all their progress. Oh well, three cheers for housing reform! On the other hand, the Greeks currently living in Edens may be a bit uncomfy at the prospect of having their secluded paradise disrupted by the shenanigans of groups like DSig and APhi. Hopefully we’re not sowing the seeds of a "West Side Story"-esque Greek turf war.

2. No More Tables: Another stunner from the minds that brought us the Walk-Up Line

By this point, we’re all familiar with the disaster of the UNC walk-up line, the paternalistic attitude of the line monitors, and the classically Duke experience of waiting in lines. But while we were sleeping—or more likely not sleeping, since this is Duke and we’ve all got two majors to complete, a sport to play, and ten clubs to run—the line monitors have been cooking up a seasonal surprise to make the line even BETTER than it was before. The solution to the booze-fest of last year’s line? Ban tables. Without tables, there’s nowhere for you to put the 21 cups required for that extra-large beer pong game you were planning. Without tables, no one can attempt to break said tables using Dwayne Johnson’s classic “Rock Bottom” WWE move. No tables, no drinking, no chaos: line monitor logic.

But look, let’s be fair here. This is an unusually intuitive solution! Usually we see the Guardians of K-ville stumbling from crisis to crisis, with a plan that’s either so simple it falls apart or so complicated it gets totally ignored. This idea is simple in the same way that etching a small bumblebee into a urinal reduces backsplash. Clearly someone’s been reading Richard Thaler’s Nobel Prize winning research on nudge theory, and I’ve gotta admit that I’m impressed. Of course this is Duke, so students are still going to find ways drink in K-ville. Especially because banning tables doesn’t address hard liquor at all, and doesn’t actually stop students from drinking, which is the problem. Nonetheless, this clever idea was a pleasant surprise from an organization that is often neither pleasant nor clever.

3. Burger Shack: Wait, where’d my Big Bowl go?

Did you burst into West Union earlier this month, feet pounding up the stairs to the second floor, rounding the corner into Chef’s Kitchen, only to sink to your knees in dismay to find that your favorite Mediterranean vendor on campus had been replaced by, get this, another burger joint? I know I did. What the heck is up with that? The short answer is that Chef’s Kitchen is a pop-up vendor, so the offerings change all the time. Fair, but why another burger place? 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s really good. In fact, despite the fact that I sometimes get brisket when I asked for bacon and end up with tots when I wanted fries, I’m a huge fan. But Burger Shack isn’t the point. The real question on everyone’s minds is this: will our beloved Mediterranean vendor ever return? No one knows for sure. The legends say that during All Hallows Eve, the lines between our world and the spirit world are blurred. Perhaps the ghost of Big Bowl will return to comfort us during this time of grief and beef.

4. Duke follows suit: Cutting healthcare is the official move of 2018

Everyone knows budgeting is hard. There’s only so much money and a lot of things to spend it on. We know! A lot of us take accounting and finance and econometrics and all that jazz, so we understand how hard it can be to cut programs in order to keep the accounts in the black. That being said, come on guys. Seriously? If there’s one lesson to be learned from 2018 as a whole, it’s that cutting healthcare is INSANELY unpopular and for good reason. Low-income students are disproportionately affected by cutting student healthcare. This is a slap in the face to anyone who believes Duke cares about socioeconomic diversity. Then again, Duke says they care about other forms of diversity too, but racist and homophobic slurs dominate our news. Dear Old Duke, a bit of advice: next time you need something to cut, start with Burger Shack instead of our healthcare. We shouldn’t indulge in luxuries at the expense of essentials.

I would make a skeleton joke, but I’m afraid you wouldn’t find it very humerus. Also, the 2018 Midterms are next week, so this is your last chance to get out there and VOTE! Don’t like what you’re seeing in our country today? Change it.

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