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‘Pizza & Chat’ brings first-year suggestions, experiences together at East Campus town hall

East Campus moved slowly on Wednesday night. Just before 7 p.m., first-year Aubteen Pour-Biazar, vice president of the Duke East Campus Council, carried a dozen boxes of pizza into the basement of the Gilbert-Addoms Residence Hall.

He was preparing for East Campus Council’s monthly “Pizza & Chat” event, where first-years can voice their suggestions for East Campus and have casual conversations with each other. 

“Maybe you just want to talk about your day, maybe you have a suggestion for something to change about East Campus, an idea for an event, whatever it may be, this is the space to come and let it be heard,” Pour-Biazar said.

This Wednesday, Pour-Biazar asked the dozens of students stopped by to name one thing they would change about East Campus life. Some wished for later Marketplace hours to satisfy late-night food cravings, while others imagined inter-dorm competitions and sporting events. A few brought up some sort of covering for the East Campus bus stop on rainy days. 

Other suggestions included a fun all-campus event on Baldwin or the East Backyard quad, ice machines in dorms, more consistent WiFi and hiring an interior designer for the Gilbert-Addoms Residence Hall.

“I came for the pizza, but I stayed for the vibes,” first-year Chanté Davis said. 

“Tonight was not the best night, but when I came down and spoke to Aubteen it changed my whole night,” first-year William Moragne III agreed. “It’s a good day.”

The basement of Gilbert Addoms slowly morphed into a snapshot of the Duke first-year experience. Students mused on the majors they’re considering and shared tidbits about their hometowns. Jokes were made about infamously hard Chemistry 101 midterms and plans were discussed for attending the weekend’s basketball game. 

“Lots of people have said they want more chill events like the town hall,” Pour-Biazar said. He is dedicated to “making sure we have a vibrant community, that everybody on this campus feels like one, they belong at Duke, and two … that this campus is their home. Because that's really what it is.”

One of East Campus Council’s current initiatives is setting up QR codes in all of the East Campus common rooms that would allow residents to request ping-pong balls, board games, pool cues or any other supplies they may need. They also planned a Casino Royale-themed Midnight Breakfast for Saturday night as students headed into final exams.

“I’m really excited about Midnight Breakfast and for us to all come together again like we haven’t been able to do since O-Week,” first-year Christiana Haynes said. “I think East Campus Council is going to do a great job at it from what I saw tonight at Pizza & Chat.”

Holly Keegan profile
Holly Keegan | University News Editor

Holly Keegan is a Trinity sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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