From tote bag lines in the morning to Chapel climbs at noon, here are some of the scenes across campus from Duke’s last day of classes.
Bryan Center Plaza, 9:56 a.m.
For LDOC early birds, there was one place to be: the Bryan Center Plaza, teeming with excited students eager to spend their morning screenprinting LDOC tote bags and eating custom pancake art.
Unfortunately for them, there were lines to get through first.
Before the tote bag station’s white tent opened at 10 a.m., a line of over 100 students trailed from outside the University Store to the Brodhead Center. Junior Vinitha Sunkara estimated that the people at the end of the line would be waiting for “an hour at least.” But despite the wait time, Sunkara was looking forward to experiencing an LDOC from start to finish for the first time — last year, she got up at 4 p.m.
“I'm excited,” Sunkara said. “This is the first time I've gotten up early enough to actually enjoy the full day.”
First-years Lauren Khine and Alexa Pylant, on the other hand, were especially anxious for a much shorter wait time. They had a math class in five minutes. But even then, the LDOC tote bags, a staple from last year, called their names and the two were willing to be up to 15 minutes late to class to get one.
As students on their way to class wove in and out of the line, excited greetings filled the plaza. Students wished a happy LDOC to their friends passing by and joked on the phone about how long the line was. Instead of a monotonous hour-long wait, the line provided an opportunity to start the day by chatting with those around them, temporarily freed from the pressure of impending deadlines and upcoming exams.
Next to the tote bag station, dozens of students waited in line for custom pancakes created by Dancakes, a traveling “professional pancake art” company. Two pancake artists recreated students’ requested images, including a red and orange portrait of sophomore Jaqueline Gomez’s cat.
“It was honestly kind of crazy how they were able to do it so quickly,” Gomez said.
Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity Patio, 10 a.m.
At the Center for Multicultural Affairs Brunch, CMA Assistant Director Alex Espaillat mentioned how the brunch is a well-received LDOC tradition. Espaillat pointed to how food was instrumental for creating community.
“When people bond around food, I feel like there's nothing that food can't really do. And during the time that we're doing it, people get to take [a] pause and enjoy before all of the partying of the day,” Espaillat said.
Marketplace, 10:13 a.m.
Under the morning sun, three Housing and Residential Life staff members handed out free donuts to students at the East Campus bus stop. At least a dozen boxes were stacked on a nearby bench, attracting attention as students walked up to take the bus.
“Happy LDOC!” said Anaija Lapaix, residence coordinator for Randolph and Blackwell dorms, as she held out a box of glazed Krispy Kreme donuts to a passing student.
The bus stop was quiet for 10 a.m. on a Wednesday. Students took advantage of canceled classes to sleep in and enjoy the LDOC festivities on West Campus.
But a usual scene folded out at Marketplace — a few first-years lining up to order an omelet, coffee running low and students eating with their friends in the dining hall. As they ate, it dawned on them that the number of times they’d be back at Marketplace on the regular was limited.
After finishing her meal with first-year Vittoria Corvelli, Carmen Becker Pombo, also a first-year, reflected on what she would miss from East Campus — Marketplace breakfast and Whole Foods, which she goes to “almost every day.”
“I’m more sentimental about the fact that we are leaving soon,” Corvelli said. “I think I’m going to miss being a freshman [and] being on East.”
Wellness Lot, 11:00 a.m.
If the smell of summer was not already in the air, the smell of food certainly was. Four food trucks were parked and ready to serve food by the early afternoon — Haitian food truck Bon Fritay, Korean food truck Bulkogi, Latin American food truck Latin Effect and Mediterranean food truck Yalla.
Duke Chapel and Abele Quad, 11:51 a.m.
Students and visitors alike milled about Abele Quad, littered with Connect 4, jumbo checkers, cornhole boards and spikeball equipment.
As one student dove into the grass in an attempt to save the spikeball from hitting the ground, another poked fun at his friend for missing the cornhole board entirely with his shot. Two other students lazily tossed a Frisbee back and forth.
The Chapel lawn atmosphere was that of a peaceful Wednesday morning.
A crowd of elementary-school-aged children dashed between the games and tables. About a dozen of them surrounded the cotton candy stand, eager for a treat. Others flocked to the arts and crafts table, where they could decorate plastic stained glass windows.
Behind a pair of undergraduates playing cornhole with some visiting elementary students, religious life staff handed out free t-shirts to those who passed by.
“Would you like an extra large or an extra extra large?” is what passersby were greeted with. All other sizes had been taken.
Several religious life leaders and groups helped plan and staff the LDOC festivities, according to Kathryn Lester-Bacon, the Chapel's director of religious life. Among them were Elana Friedman, the campus rabbi and Jewish chaplain for Jewish Life at Duke, Scott Hawkins, campus minister for International Students, Inc. at Duke, and Jackie Rodriguez, chaplain with Presbyterian Campus Ministry.
According to Lester-Bacon, religious life leaders hoped to “honor the transition students are going through” by giving students “a way to be creative and relax in the midst of a stressful season.”
“We at the Chapel are always looking for ways to support students and celebrate students and join in the festivities on campus, so we're excited to be able to do this right here on the front quad,” she said.
Abele Quad, 12:12 p.m.
The C1 doors opened to a bright yellow LDOC sign surrounded by a crowd of students posing for pictures. Friends strolled about with LocoPops and tote bags. In front of Few Quad, black “Duke University” banners added the final touches to the LDOC concert stage. Groups of students huddled around benches, sipping on coffee and discussing plans for the rest of the day.
Sydney Donati-Leach, a second-year master of science student in the computer science department, commemorated her first Chapel climb, clocking in at four minutes and 53 seconds.
“It’s so pretty up there, and it’s the most perfect day, and you can see a ton,” she said, before her friends pulled her away and the group rushed to the virtual reality escape room at Bostock Library.
In front of the Crowell Clock Tower, a vicious game of bubble soccer was afoot at “CrowelLDOC,” the Crowell Quad Council’s end of the year event.
Behind the Clock Tower, sophomores Yeeke Wang and Joey Ilagan, both Crowell Quad Council members, were busy at work, blowing up inflatable beach ball plushies. Just behind the huge bubble machine, students slid down a waterslide while others chattered in the background.
“We have a beach theme going on,” Wang said. “We have bubbles going, a waterslide, a dunk tank — hopefully the sun comes out more.”
“So many people are walking around,” Ilagan added. “It's a really conducive space, just to have people stop by.”
Keohane Atrium, 2:11 p.m.
With the bass booming in the background, students celebrated LDOC at the Black Student Alliance’s H-Town LDOC cookout. Hamburgers, hotdogs and kebabs lined the grills, with an array of drinks available inside.
Devon Anthony, a senior and BSA vice president, has been manning the grill all day in between his academic activities.
“I lit the coals up on the grill, let them warm up, went to lab, came back and put the food on the grill like this,” he said, gesturing to the shrimp kebabs sizzling on the fire.
As the organization’s “most attended event,” connecting with the Black community is an important part of this LDOC tradition for Anthony — a time to “just come together, let that stress go and just connect with one another.”
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Senou Kounouho is a Pratt sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.
Andrew Bae is a Trinity sophomore and an associate news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.
Holly Keegan is a Trinity sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.