Teddy Hur prioritizing FGLI students, building social life on campus in campaign for DSG president

Teddy Hur
Teddy Hur

Duke Student Government presidential candidate Teddy Hur, a junior, hopes to expand the resources offered to first-generation, low-income students, reinvigorate the on-campus social scene and make changes to how DSG operates. 

Originally from southern California, Hur is a public policy major who prides himself on being heavily involved in activities at Duke. He is an executive board member of Duke Lower-Income, First-Generation Engagement (DukeLIFE), a Pi Kappa Alpha brother and an involved student at the Duke Catholic Center. He has volunteered for Coach2Inspire since his sophomore year, where he coaches local youth basketball teams. 

Hur served as a DSG senator as a first-year, and he was president of his high school student government. Rather than feel discouraged by his limited DSG experience, Hur says it has given him the opportunity to dive into other involvements on campus.

“I definitely lack DSG experience, but I'd say that that lack of experience is rather an abundance of Duke experience. I feel like the DSG president ought to be someone very representative of the student body,” Hur said.

Hur said he felt most inspired to run for DSG president while attending an informational meeting about campaigning and meeting current DSG president Isaiah Hamilton. The two talked, and Hur said he was excited by what Hamilton has been able to do within the position. 

While Hur said he did not enjoy his freshman DSG experience, the presidential position excites him. 

“I found [DSG] to be slow [and] overly bureaucratic — I think that leadership could change so much,” Hur said. “... As a president, I would really embrace the role of the leader of DSG. I'd try to make it a more dynamic, accessible and fun organization.”

During his campaign, Hur has highlighted three main pillars: bolstering support for first-generation, low-income students, advocating for more on-campus social opportunities and creating a “culture of humility” in DSG. 

When speaking about his first pillar, Hur pointed to the September New York Times Magazine article describing Duke as falling behind other elite universities in socioeconomic diversity, saying that the culture around supporting FGLI students at Duke has room for improvement. 

In spring 2023, Hur traveled with DukeLIFE to the University of Pennsylvania for a conference where representatives from top colleges across America spoke about their initiatives to support FGLI students and the general student experience. He recalls being particularly inspired by Georgetown University’s stipend for low-income students to afford spring break trips they may not be able to take otherwise.

“[Duke] does a great job supporting low-income first-generation students when it comes to academics and stuff like that, but I think what oftentimes ... gets left behind and what really is an important part of the college experience for students is the social aspects,” Hur said.

Hur also mentioned making club sports dues more affordable as a campaign priority, as he was not able to participate in one because of a lack of sufficient aid. In addition, he referenced a laundry stipend for FGLI students or incorporating the cost of laundry into tuition — an idea that has already surfaced within DSG but that he hopes to bolster support for. 

As part of his second pillar of revitalizing on-campus social opportunities, Hur spoke to the difficulties that arise from social events being held off campus, specifically because of the decision of many Greek organizations to disaffiliate from Duke. 

“I would want to work towards steps to bring more parties onto campus as to create a safer social scene,” Hur said. “I think the current disassociation between Greek Life and Duke has created ... an unsafe social scene when it comes to late-night barn parties and stuff like that.” 

As a member of Greek Life himself, he claims that on-campus parties benefit both the student body and the administration. The reasoning for this push would be to ensure the safety of students, and “that's something that's entirely within [the administration’s] interests,” he explained. 

Junior Olivia Lee, who worked with Hur last year under the work study program at the Catholic Center, echoed the potential to make parties safer through Hur’s initiatives. 

“It can be unsafe if people are off campus in a place with lack of service, aren't able to get on a bus back and aren't able to get home or people drink too much and get lost, and so I think having things be closer to campus and just walking distance would be a lot safer,” she said. 

Through working with him, she’s noticed his dependable character and team-player mindset, describing him as “always taking other people's opinions into consideration ... very generous in terms of his time… [and] very dependable to get things done for our campus.”

Hur’s third pillar is reforming DSG from within. He spoke to his goals of incorporating different voices and perspectives into DSG as part of his reform goals. 

“I would want to be a president that … makes DSG’s presence felt among students by directly supporting students through initiatives that really impact their daily life,” he said.

For him, this means not necessarily focusing on lofty goals, but smaller projects that can still benefit students on a daily basis. 

One change he proposed was adding a leg extension machine in Wilson, a request he heard from multiple students. 

“If you're able to just add one more machine, that would make such a big difference for a lot of students,” he said. “I want to pick projects that might be smaller but can really make an impact for students. No project would be below me in a sense.”

Kunmi Ojo, a junior in Hur’s first-year FOCUS cluster and is now a close friend of his, emphasized his ability to commit to his different involvements. 

“He truly invests his time and effort into each one of his friend groups and involvements, and even ones that he's not involved with or identifies with, I find that he's very much interested in asking questions about it,” Ojo said. “As DSG president, someone needs to not only want to represent Duke students, but allow those who aren’t represented to represent themselves, and Teddy does a really good job of bringing people together to have that conversation.” 

Hur said that Coach2Inspire has specifically informed his leadership style and allowed him to connect with both youth basketball players and their parents, especially at an end-of-year potluck. The activity brought out his leadership style of “being light-hearted but also knowing when to be serious at times.”

Junior Andrew Dawson, who coaches with Hur through the organization, said these skills could be transferable to the DSG president role.

“He was always the voice that was there when things were tough or we didn't really know what to do,” Dawson said. “... It was always really easy at practices or games if things were slowing down, you could always count on Teddy to get really excited and bring everyone into it.”

Madera Longstreet-Lipson profile
Madera Longstreet-Lipson

Madera Longstreet-Lipson is a Trinity first-year and a staff reporter for the news department.      


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