Class of 2027 shares experiences with QuadEx, hopes for residential system's improvement

As QuadEx enters its third year of implementation, some first-years say they have not experienced what the residential system promises.

Students in the Class of 2025 had mixed reactions when QuadEx was first introduced a few weeks into their first semester, experiencing a new system they had not known about coming into Duke. The Class of 2026 was the first to experience QuadEx from the very beginning, with students expressing hopes and concerns for what the program might become.

Duke’s Class of 2027 is the second class to experience a fully implemented QuadEx system, with no memory of the University’s previous housing system to compare it to.

First-year Ari Dixit first learned about QuadEx during Blue Devil Days, a series of programs for newly admitted students and their families. 

"[QuadEx] is a good idea to build a sense of community," Dixit said, adding how the model encouraged students to maintain their relationships by living with the same group of people for two to four years. 

While acknowledging the benefits of the QuadEx system, Dixit and his Trinity dorm roommate, first-year Krisztian Meszaros, are unsure of what lies ahead for them in their Edens Quad connection.

QuadEx, operated under the principle of enhancing and integrating the “social, residential and intellectual lives” of students, aims to unite East Campus and West Campus dorms. Under QuadEx, first-year students enter Duke affiliated with the West Campus Quad they will live in during their sophomore year. 

Some students feel restricted to living with students they lack a connection with, given Duke's random roommate system and how QuadEx bars students from rooming with students outside their Quad their sophomore year. 

"Nobody's really like, 'Hey! Hi!' We're just there, you know?” first-year Hope Tiwang said about the dynamic of her residence hall. 

Tiwang, however, commended QuadEx for helping "create a system of equity" for people with "lower quality dorms."

Meszaros referenced the “pretty horrific stories” he heard about Edens regarding the utilities and age of the Quad relative to other West Campus Quads.

“We were hype about moving to Trinity, and then we started hearing about Edens … we’re like, is it worth living in Trinity your first year to get shoved into Edens next year?” Dixit said. 

Students who have struggled to form bonds in their first-year residence hall may not yet identify with the close-knit living group goal of the QuadEx model. 

As shared by members of the Class of 2026, many students find it challenging to maintain relationships between their "sister" dorm, the residence hall they share a quad with.

First-year Millie Mak explained how her residence hall, Southgate, has a vibrant community but is not too connected with its sister residence hall, Gilbert-Addoms.

“They’re pretty separate communities unless you know people in GA or Southgate through something else,” she said. 

Mak also stated that she wishes there were more interactions between the two residence halls to increase bonding with her fellow Quad members.

Following QuadEx’s initial unveiling in 2021, the University has made efforts to strengthen Quad communities and interactions with corresponding first-year residence halls. In April, seven arches highlighting each quad's distinct qualities were released to the public as part of the Quad Identity Project, which aims to stimulate student connections amongst each other and their quad.

For first-year Priscilla Kang, a current Wilson resident, further efforts may still be needed.

“I feel like my quad has been generally more welcoming to underclassmen," she said. "[Crowell] set up an event for us to go to so we could interact inside the dorm. But even then, we didn't interact with any of the upperclassmen, which was a little unfortunate because I didn't get to know people who would be in my quad next year."

Kang believes more frequent interactions between first-years and upperclassmen would enable first-years to venture outside the “East Campus bubble” and is hopeful that Quad bonding opportunities will become more frequent as the semester progresses.


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