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The Chronicle answers some of the Class of 2023's pressing questions

On clubs, laundry, Baldwin Scholars and Investment Club

A few weeks ago, The Chronicle let incoming first-years ask their pressing questions. Here are responses to a selection of questions—this is Part 1 in a series, so the remaining questions will continue to be answered throughout the summer. Please keep in mind that although some questions are straightforward, not every question has one cut-and-dried answer. And don’t forget to tell us your questions at the bottom of this story. 

This article will answer questions about signing up for clubs, doing laundry, housing with the Baldwin Scholars program and joining the Investment Club. Next time, The Chronicle will answer questions about rush and other aspects of the Duke social scene.

What is the process for signing up for clubs like? How many do people usually join and what are the typical time commitments?

Duke is home to hundreds of clubs and organizations, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Every group on campus should be registered on DukeGroups, where you can break them down into categories (e.g., campus governance, culture and identity) and see what you may want to join. Time commitments can vary wildly depending on the club—anywhere from meetings twice a month to several hours a day. 

Junior Devin Mahoney, the chair of the Student Organization Finance Committee—the student body responsible for funding most student clubs on campus—promises that there’s “something for everyone.”

“The process for signing up for clubs is super straightforward!” she wrote in an email. “In the first month of school, Duke LAUNCH hosts the activity fair, where you can meet representatives from many of the student clubs and sign up for their email list. Clubs communicate mostly via email, so every week they will send information about upcoming meetings/events/volunteer opportunities, etc.”

Mahoney added that club sizes can vary from 10 to 200 people, yet they all provide opportunities to engage first-years. Likewise, time commitment is dependent on the club and your role within it.

Gerald Harris, director of student engagement for University Center Activities and Events, explained that there are several ways to explore the more than 600 registered student groups at Dukevisiting DukeGroups and attending the Aug. 28 afternoon activities fair on the East Campus Quad are only starting points.

“Students join at many paces. There is no typical,” Harris wrote in an email. “In that same vein, organizations have very different time commitments. I'm always going to advise you to get involved early. But most importantly, find your routine. This is a very new experience for you. You don't have to solve the out of classroom experience by the first month. We also have people here to help you! You are welcomed to come see us in UCAE-Student Engagement anytime.”

What do most students do about laundry? Do it themselves, or buy commercial service?

Most students do their own laundry. On East Campus, each dorm has its own laundry room with a handful of washing machines and dryers. It costs $1.50 to wash and $1.25 to dry, and you can pay with your DukeCard or coins. With DukeCard, the money comes out of your Flex budget, so remember to load up on Flex on move-in day. You can reload Flex online or at the DukeCard office during the year. 

The percentage of Duke students who use a commercial service for laundry is unclear, but it’s not especially common. Laundrymen is the most popular laundry service and also the only University-approved one, according to its website. The service costs $38 per week for a 20-pound bag, and $50 per week for a 30-pound bag.

“Laundrymen is a private company owned by a husband and wife (Howard and Jennifer Wood) in Durham,” wrote Jennifer Wood, the operations manager and an owner of Laundrymen. “Being that we are a private company, we are not comfortable providing membership numbers, but feel we are well represented across the student body.”

Some students do use Tide Pods or other laundry pods, though they tend to leave clothes stuck together. Using detergent will get the job done. 

Most importantly, remember to set a timer for your laundry. It can be annoying to go to the laundry room, primed to wash your dirty clothes, only to find a bunch of finished machines with clothes still in them. So don’t be surprised if you forget to empty your laundry and see a pile of your clothes on top of the dryer when you check later. But if you’re on top of your laundry, there shouldn’t be any problem.

Small fires have occasionally broken out in laundry rooms, with a Randolph dorm dryer most recently catching fire in Fall 2018. In 2015, another small fire broke out in a Randolph dryer containing a pizza box. So make sure that the items you’re placing in dorm washers and dryers belong thereno matter how soggy your pizza might be, throwing the whole box in the dryer will only create problems.

As someone who is interested in participating in the Baldwin Scholars program, how difficult is it to find housing after sophomore year considering that one of the requirements is all of the scholars live together during their second year?

The Baldwin Scholars program is open to female-identifying undergraduates. The program includes a retreat, seminars, dinners and a housing section where scholars live together. First-years apply each Fall to be Baldwin Scholarswith the application due date set for Oct. 4 this yearand 18 are chosen.

The program is available at no additional cost to its scholars, but it does not give any tuition aid.

Senior Daisy Almonte, who is part of the Baldwin Scholars program, explained that scholars are required to live together in Few Quad FF during their sophomore year. Scholars use right-of-return to be guaranteed a room for the next year.

She explained that some Baldwin Scholars will choose to live elsewhere after their residency requirement is up, as Almonte lived in Few FF for her sophomore and junior years but will be moving off campus for her senior year.

Colleen Scott, director of the program, added that scholars could bring a non-Baldwin student into the section as a roommate if they wish.

“You would also live in section junior year, unless you study abroad or you want to live elsewhere on campus (this last scenario could only occur if our section is full),” she wrote. “Senior year, you are welcome to live in section, elsewhere on campus if we are full, or off campus.”

Is it easy to join the Duke Investment Club as a first-year? Any tips for freshmen who are interested in joining this club? Any suggestion on other opportunities in campus regarding finance/IB/consulting for first-years?

Brandon Foreman, Trinity ‘19 and former executive co-president of Duke Investment Club, explained that first-years begin their time in the club as general body members. In that capacity, they can attend meetings and are added to the group’s listserv, where they can receive emails regarding opportunities and activities.

Many first-years will then enter the 10-week investor training program (ITP), a finance course taught by veteran club members, explained junior Henry Don, an executive officer of the Investment Club.

Don added that after the course is finished, students will take a final exam and give a stock pitch, which will determine whether they become Investment Club certified.

“I know this seems like a lot and potentially stressful, but as long as you attend the ten-week course and meet the additional attendance requirements, you will have all the resources you need to pass the final exam and become Investment Club certified,” he wrote in an email to The Chronicle.

The next rung of the Investment Club ladder is the analyst position, which requires an interview with two club officers, who determine whether candidates advance to become a junior analyst or senior analyst. 

Finally, Don explained that analysts can progress to the officer position via an application assessed by the executive team. This is where the networking component comes in handy, he noted.

“My advice here is to just be as active in general body meetings and ITP classes as possible, asking questions when you may not understand something [...] and possibly even asking executive officers if they’d be willing to grab a coffee or lunch so you can ask about their experiences in the club,” he wrote. “If you do these things, you’ll demonstrate to the executive officers that you’re serious about the club and would add genuine value to it if you were an officer yourself.”

Foreman advised first-years interested in the club to attend the general body meetings and participate in ITP classes, giving them an early look into the career and an advantage in snagging competitive internships.

Don pointed to several other finance organizations on campus including the Association for Business Oriented Women, Duke Consulting Club, business society Scale and Coin and business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi.

Jake Satisky and Nathan Luzum contributed reporting.

Did one of the questions in this article get you thinking? Have a question about another aspect of life at Duke that we didn't address? Let us know here:


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