From interest in Greek life to generative AI use, how is the Class of 2027 navigating Duke?

Editor's note: This story is part of a series about the Class of 2027 based on a survey conducted by The Chronicle. You can read more about our methodology and limitations here, or read all of our survey coverage here.

The Chronicle asked the Class of 2027 about their lives at Duke so far. Ranging from Greek life and using generative AI to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on their college experience, here’s what they had to say.

Greek life, SLGs and LLCs

The Class of 2027 is the second class at Duke to fully experience QuadEx. QuadEx aims to transform social life on campus from a “culture of selectivity” to a “culture of belonging,” according to University administrators. Some of QuadEx’s most significant changes include ending section housing for Greek organizations and non-Greek selective living groups. 

Over the last couple of years, the majority of fraternities and all sororities in the now-former Duke Interfraternity Council and Duke Panhellenic Association voted to disaffiliate from the University, forming the Durham IFC and Durham Panhel, respectively. Additionally, some selective living groups are transitioning into living-learning communities so that members can live together.

The survey results suggest that the Class of 2027’s interest in Greek life was comparable to that of the Class of 2026, with nearly 60% of respondents showing they were at least slightly interested. This suggests that the popularity of Greek life has remained relatively constant even with QuadEx’s implementation. 

Interest in SLG membership also experienced little change from last year, with a little over 70% of respondents reporting being at least slightly interested in joining an SLG compared to 71% from the Class of 2026. However, around 31% of respondents from the Class of 2027 indicated that Duke’s phasing out of SLGs had impacted their interest in joining one.

Income v. Greek and non-Greek groups

To better understand how interest in Greek life and non-Greek groups varied among the Class of 2027, we analyzed student responses based on family income.

7.14% of respondents have income levels below $40,000, while 14.29% have family incomes between $40,000 and $80,000; 12.5% have family incomes between $80,000 and $125,000; 22.14% have family incomes between $125,000 and $250,000; 18.57% have family incomes between $250,000 and $500,000; 11.07% have family incomes between $500,000 and $750,000; 9.29% have family incomes between $750,000 and $1,500,000; and 5% have family incomes over $1,500,000.

Similar to last year, results found a positive correlation between income and interest in Greek life. However, this relationship does not exist for SLGs and LLCs.

Of students who reported being “extremely interested” in joining a Greek organization, over 76% had a family income above $250,000. Conversely, over 68% of respondents who reported being “not interested at all” in joining a Greek organization had a family income below $250,000.

No one from the highest two income groups is “extremely interested” in joining an SLG, and no one from the highest three income groups is “extremely interested” in joining an LLC. In fact, no one surveyed from the highest income group was even “moderately interested” in joining an LLC. 

Legacy v. Greek Life Interest

We also examined whether a relationship existed between legacy status and interest in LLCs, SLGs and Greek life. While the survey found that legacy students were more likely to be interested in Greek life — with 75% expressing some level of interest compared to about 55% for non-legacies — the same was not found for interest in LLCs and SLGs.

Tenting v. income

DSG launched an initiative in December 2022 to provide financial support for students tenting in K-Ville to make tenting accessible to all regardless of income. The results of this survey show that interest in tenting is strongly related to income. 

Of the students who reported they were not interested in tenting, nearly 60% had an income of $125,000 or below. On the other hand, over 75% of those “extremely interested” had incomes above $125,000.

Finding a sense of community

Another area of interest was where the Class of 2027 found their primary sense of community. Our results reveal that roughly a third found their immediate sense of community from their Orientation Week groups, about 21% from their dorm, approximately 17% each from clubs and other means and about 11% from classes.

Finding a sense of community at Duke v. income

Similar to interest trends for pursuing Greek life and tenting, students' perception of their sense of community on campus was tied to their family income level.

We asked respondents to what extent they agreed with this statement: “I have found community at Duke so far this semester.” Aside from those who “strongly disagreed” they’d found a sense of community at Duke, there was generally a positive relationship between one’s family income level and sense of belonging. For those with family incomes less than $250,000, there was a negative correlation between family income and the level of agreement that they found their sense of community. 

Generative artificial intelligence use among major clusters

The use of generative AI has been a popular topic of conversation among faculty. Guidelines for designing courses were created to address concerns about the technology. 

To understand generative AI use among the Class of 2027, we grouped students into clusters based on their intended major and looked at what each cluster used AI for. Our survey showed that short written assignments and problem sets are the most common uses of generative AI across all major clusters.

We used the same groupings to examine how often major clusters use generative AI. Among the Class of 2027, arts and humanities students used generative AI more frequently than other students, with about 31% of respondents saying that they use it at least once a week.

Pre-professional society interest

We also asked how the Class of 2027 fared regarding acceptance to pre-professional societies. Of the students who rushed one or more of these organizations, only about 40% were accepted, suggesting that these groups remain somewhat selective.

The COVID-19 pandemic

Over the last two academic years, Duke has gradually rolled back its COVID-19 protocols. In March 2022, Duke removed the mask requirement in indoor facilities other than classrooms and on Duke transit. The University ended its classroom mask mandate in September 2022, and in March 2023, Duke no longer required masks on buses and vans. By May 2023, Duke no longer required current and new students, faculty and staff who do not work in a healthcare environment to receive the primary or booster vaccinations for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a negligible impact on campus for the Class of 2027. When the survey was open, only 5% of respondents had tested positive for COVID-19 on campus. About 80% of respondents reported that they do not voluntarily wear a mask when not required, while about 17% reported that they sometimes do and about 4% that they always do.

However, immunocompromised students tended to wear masks voluntarily when not required more often than non-immunocompromised students. About 55% of immunocompromised students either always or sometimes voluntarily wore masks, while less than 20% of non-immunocompromised students did. Additionally, international students have a higher proportion of mask-wearing than domestic students.

Higher-income students tend to voluntarily wear masks less often than lower-income students when not required. About 23% of students with household incomes up to $80,000 voluntarily wear masks sometimes. This percentage decreases as family income increases, with only 12.5% of students with household incomes over $750,000 sometimes wearing masks.

Amy Liu contributed data analysis.

Zev van Zanten | Campus Arts Editor

Zev van Zanten is a Trinity sophomore and campus arts editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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