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International House to move from Central Campus to Epworth

The 10-minute uphill walk from the C1’s Nasher stop to International House is quite a dynamic experience. First, a roadblock sign. Next, a series of orange cones. Then, a massive cloud of dust over the demolition waste of Central Campus. And finally, you’re there.

Although International House has been situated on Alexander Avenue for the last few years, one of Central Campus’ final active structures will soon relocate.

The I-House will move to the formerly Epworth Residence Hall on East Campus by Jan. 13 and will open the following morning, I-House Director Lisa Giragosian said. Giragosian said that serious administrative discussions surrounding the move began around late August, with plans for the transition formalized in October.

The I-House stayed on Alexander Avenue despite ongoing Central Campus demolition because no other space was available on either East or West Campus, according to Esra Uzun Mason, student development coordinator at I-House. Epworth was the base for the Office of New Student Programs for the 2018-2019 academic year and the Fall 2019 semester. 

When the ONSP moved back into its renovated office, I-House pounced on the opportunity to move. Uzun Mason explained that for most I-House staff, the transition to East Campus is greatly anticipated, especially since the current view is simply rubble.  

“It’ll be a good way for us to communicate and collaborate with other departments more easily,” Uzun Mason said.

The C2 and Central Campus Express buses were discontinued at the start of this academic year, so the I-House hasn’t been as easily accessible. The Swift Avenue Shuttle does run through Alexander Avenue, but did not operate between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. until Jan. 8. An additional C1 bus was added in October in response to overcrowding, but the closest C1 stop is still half a mile away. 

I-House is difficult for cars to reach right now due to construction-related roadblocks. Furthermore, the move will position the I-House closer to other student spaces such as the Women’s Center, the Academic Advising Center and the Academic Resource Center. 

Uzun Mason also noted that Epworth is a much larger building than the current I-House, allowing for more space and parking. 

“Now that we’ll have more space available and we’ll be in an accessible space, we’d like to promote more social gatherings and really open up our space to a larger community,” Uzun Mason added. “We want to have casual gatherings where we can invite undergraduates, graduates, visiting scholars and spouses to hang out and share ideas.”

Senior Shyam Pradheep, president of Duke’s International Association, explained that the move will greatly benefit first-year international students, who will now be only a short walk away from the resources of the I-House. 

“They’re the ones that require the most support, I would say, just because they’re just getting acclimated,” he said. “This is an office that really supports them to do well at Duke.”

Pradheep doesn’t anticipate any problems besides a brief period of potential confusion. 

“It’s going to take time for people to realize that the I-House is not where it already is, and I think there’s going to be kinks,” he said. “But I think the disadvantages will be more short term, and long term, it’ll be a lot, lot better.”

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