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'That’s just how life goes': Sophomore Bryan Rusch isn't letting life in a wheelchair dull his shine

Bryan is thoughtful, intelligent, kind and patient. He is curious, clever, realistic and a startling reminder that yes, life is difficult, but hey, that’s just how it goes. He’s read half the world’s history books because he literally has a backpack on wheels, and he often ends up sitting alone in the handicapped section, doing his reading. While other kids were playing sports in their spare time, Bryan taught himself bits of Arabic and Icelandic. He hates depending on others for help and is reluctant to ask for assistance, but he responds to my texts within milliseconds whenever I need something from him. 


Drug use: An issue for Duke or Durham?

We are taught to criticize, analyze and deconstruct systems of power in the classroom. But applying the same logic to evaluate the balance of power between Duke and Durham reveals that our academic ideals might diverge from our lived decisions. We distance ourselves far from the language of addiction, incarceration and crime. Inside Duke’s walls, we are Duke students: ambitious, invincible, blameless.


‘Duke would rather sweep the issues under the rug’: Students voice concerns about mental health resources on campus

Life in the ‘Gothic Wonderland’ has never been easy for Duke students—between challenging academic courses, pressure to have a thriving social life and the overarching goal of effortless perfection, it’s no surprise that many undergraduates face problems with their mental health.  Complicating the issue? The fact that Duke’s resources for assisting students in maintaining their mental health—including Counseling and Psychological Services and DukeReach—are often lacking, according to students interviewed by The Chronicle. 


Grading DukeEngage Academy: Does the program really prepare students to volunteer around the world?

DukeEngage—a summer program that funds students' participation in service work around  the world—has become a University staple.  These volunteer opportunities range from group projects dedicated to assisting women and children in western India to enabling environmental conservation in Hawaii. Students may also propose an independent project if none of the 38 group programs fit their interests. 


'You can see everything in all directions': Students recount climbing Baldwin Auditorium

Wilson residence hall was in an uproar. It was election night 2016. One student rushed into the common room, carrying a lifesize cardboard cutout of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. During the night, sophomore Ben Peterson and three others climbed Baldwin Auditorium with the cutout, placing it on top. They tied it down with a hanger since they had no rope and weighed it down with rocks and a traffic cone. Peterson said he isn’t sure who came up with the idea to put the cutout on top of the roof, but several students had been upset about the election results.

Erwin Mills is at the top right of this 1950s era aerial photograph of the area that became Central Campus. The land at the bottom right is now the 300 Swift Apartments and the land at the back of the shot is now Central Campus. Photo via Open Durham and Durham Herald-Sun.

From Mill Village to student housing

Sometimes Duke’s gothic architecture tricks us into thinking it has existed since time immemorial. On Central Campus, it isn’t the grandeur of the architecture that triggers this feeling so much as its homely look. 


'Gentrification is not a myth, it's really happening'

When David Steinbrenner was growing up in Mesa, Arizona, houses with front porches were a luxury. So when he purchased his first house—a brand-new three-bedroom property in Durham’s newly-revitalized Southside neighborhood—its sweeping front porch excited him most. Hailing from a relatively modest background, he never imagined that he would own his dream home by age 40.


'Those buildings are ready to be retired'

It’s clear from student conversations that Central Campus might not be a desirable place to live. Whether they’re posting on Fix My Campus about the mold, bemoaning the distance between Central and literally anything else at Duke or complaining about poor security, most undergraduates are tired of it.  

Elli Jantz and her husband lived in House 12, near the current Nasher Museum of Art. 

The last resident of Campus Drive

The grass in front of 2021 Campus Drive is cut. The windows are dark. The tan front door is shut. Quiet—save the grumbles of passing buses—but normal.  Eleanore Jantz, or “Elli” as her friends called her, occupied the colonial-style brick house nestled in the middle of the rapidly growing University since 1978. When she died in July, the 104-year-old widow was the last private resident of the faculty houses lining Campus Drive, relics of a mostly forgotten era.  

Nestor Paonessa, a 36 year old man, was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

'It was insane': A battle against 100 miles, cancer

When Nestor Paonessa runs on trails, he is always concentrating. He looks down at his feet, making sure he doesn’t step in a rut and sprain his ankle on the uneven ground. Sometimes, his eyes watch for copperhead snakes, which he often sees slithering across the Al Buehler Trail. On really long runs, he is gauging the best time to slow to a speed-walk.

The incident took place August 2015 during Orientation Week in an off-campus residence, where several brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi lived.

'We were innocent by their own terms, and then they decided to throw out their terms'

This is the fourth story in a multi-part series on the student conduct process. The first story, published three weeks ago, examined the experience of one student who went through the student conduct process and felt she was treated unfairly. In the second story, published two weeks ago, two legal experts criticized the student conduct process, and the third story, which was published last week, detailed additional students’ experiences with the Office of Student Conduct.