If you’re walking to campus from Cameron Indoor Stadium or Wilson Recreation Center, you can’t help but notice it: the “nut.”
Yellow sticky notes spell out “N-U-T” on the second-floor window of one Crowell Quad dorm overlooking Towerview Road. The message has left some people cackling, been the subject of a meme and sparked a “movement”: other West Campus residents have made their own sticky note messages on windows on the main quad, from “BJ” to “HBD” to “HI.”
The “nut” sign’s creators, sophomore roommates Mohammad Khatami and Seun Oguntunmibi, don’t take responsibility for the “movement” they created. As of Wednesday evening, “BIG” was spelled out in sticky notes in a window just to the left of theirs.
But they hope their message can motivate people, whether that be on the way to the gym or in the classroom. It’s in the best spot on campus, Oguntunmibi explained, saying the notes can reach football fans and alumni.
“This ‘nut’ unites all of Duke—past, present and future,” Oguntunmibi said, donning a bright pink bucket hat.
Oguntunmibi originally intended the message to read “TGBTG,” an abbreviation standing for “To God Be The Glory” used by former Duke men’s basketball player and No. 10 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, Cam Reddish.
The roommates—who became fast friends at Duke and later found out they were born at the same hospital—needed a three-letter word to fit the three visible windows, so they settled on “nut.”
“Nut has been a pretty defining word for the past year,” Khatami said. “It’s an exclamation of success that all at Duke should be acquainted with.”
The message has been the subject of a meme in the Duke Memes for Gothicc Teens Facebook page—the post reads “Duke: We’re a world-class university Also Duke:” with a photo of the message directly below.
They think some people are missing the point.
“These things aren’t mutually exclusive—having at a lighthearted and inspiring message at a high ranking university,” Khatami said. “There are a lot of racy messages across campus…[this is] inspiring.”
“Everyone is extra about being correct,” Oguntunmibi said. “Sometimes you need to bring childish energy to the masses.”
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The message has certainly brought laughter to some.
On Saturday, Oguntunmibi said he was watching Netflix in his room when a “70-year-old” woman looked up and saw the sign. She tapped a younger man—who Oguntunmibi guessed was her son—and pointed to the sign. He cracked up.
They also hope it helps Duke’s basketball program.
“I hope it reaches the basketball recruits,” Oguntunmibi said. “We’re playing our part in helping Duke.”
Gym-goers are another key target audience, especially those lifting at “huge o’clock,” around 6 p.m, Khatami said. Khatami and Oguntunmibi hit the gym themselves, but they go around 7:30 a.m.—the “Chad Hours”— to avoid the “losers” that lift just a few reps and leave.
They eventually hope to switch up the message, so people will keep going to the gym in order to see if the message has changed. They’re accepting submissions, Khatami said.
“[The nut] will be up until someone submits a better one,” he said.