The biweekly newsletter from SA + OUE
The biweekly newsletter from SA + OUE

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Duke Student Affairs

November 3, 2020

A dual portrait of Mary Pat McMahon (left), and Gary Bennett (right) on a white and gray background.
Hi everyone, 
This semester continues to move at a head-spinning pace. Fall LDOC is two weeks away, and the pandemic still reaches into our lives daily. Yet, as Election Day begins here in the U.S., we can celebrate the record numbers of students and Duke community members who have already participated in early voting. 

You don’t need us to tell you, but this semester has been a whole lot. In fact, more seems to be happening—all at once—for you than for any other student generation we can remember. The election, and the potential delay in a clear outcome, could add to that.  

We encourage each of you to take care of yourselves this week, whatever that means for you. We’ve heard from many students who have made plans to reach out to friends in the days ahead, take time away from screens and media, and connect in real time with mentors and trusted supports. Please know we encourage you in doing the things that you need right now.

A few suggestions: you may want to consider setting limits on your media consumption to keep yourself informed, but not inundated. Build dedicated time into your schedule for whatever activities will most help you to rest or recharge. Make a plan to connect with close family or friends to process new information or simply hold space for each other. If you choose to gather with others, make sure you follow health and safety guidance to do so more safely. 

A wide range of programs are available around the university to offer insights on next steps in the election process, and there are many opportunities to engage with campus resources. We share a few of these below.

The Duke undergraduate student community has shown remarkable courage and tenacity throughout this year. You’ve taken things one step at a time and demonstrated incredible caring, respect, and support for one another and for this community through every turn. How about we keep going with that approach? We are in this together.

Go Duke, 
Gary Bennett, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education 
Mary Pat McMahon, Vice Provost of Student Affairs 
Aerial photo of the Brodhead Center

COVID reminders

dining adjustments
All Duke Dining locations are now pick-up only, and eating is no longer allowed in residence hall common rooms. Remember to stay at least 6 feet apart while eating, and choose a safer place to eat—outside or in your room, away from crowds. This means no groups crowded around a table or sitting close together, indoors or outdoors.
Small group gatherings
The CDC has warned that small indoor gatherings are driving the national uptick in COVID cases. Here are Duke, we have seen that people are giving each other COVID when socializing even in small groups of just 2-3 people. 
Keeping groups small is important, but this step alone isn't enough. Make sure you also maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others at all times, especially when eating or drinking. Be sure to wear a face covering at any time you are around others you do not live with, including in hallways and common spaces. Please limit all indoor gatherings! 

It's Election Day!

You helped Duke set an early voting record this year. But if you're living on campus and still haven't voted, please take advantage of a FREE Lyft ride or Spin credit to get to our polling place. Find out how to do so via Duke Today
Already voted? Keep checking Duke Votes for featured resources and events to help you make sense of this election year.
Blue Devil holding a sign that says

Tip of the week:

Mask your face, not your voice!

Making sure your voice is heard, whether through voting, advocating for the causes you believe in, or activism, is so important. But so is your health and safety, and the health and safety of those around you.
Please make sure you are staying safer no matter what you are doing, whether casting your vote, participating in a demonstration or protest, or gathering with a small group to watch election returns. Wear your mask, maintain physical distancing as much as possible, wash your hands, and follow all policies and safety guidance. We care about you! 
Cultivating Hope in Times of Uncertainty

Resource Highlight: Post-Election Spaces

The 2020 election will affect everyone in different ways. In result, we must find safe community spaces to explore how to process and reflect on these experiences. DuWell, CAPS, the Mary Lou, Center for Multicultural Affairs, Center for Muslim Life, I-House and CSGD have curated a three-night series where we will provide skill building, resource connections, and mindfulness strategies. Register for one or all of these programs on Zoom.

Jewish Life is also holding space at the Freeman Center on Friday for any student who would like to (or not like to) discuss the election. Prior registration required on DukeGroups.

ICYMI: Winter Breakaway

Don't forget: you have until December 1 to register for Duke's Winter Breakaway! This new program enables students to combine skills such as collaborative leadership, compelling communication across audiences and media, and complex problem solving with technical skills like digital competencies and data analysis. Some students will add a technical component to their repertoire while others will strengthen their humanistic skills; some will do both!

Winter Breakaway is free and open to all Duke students, and programs will be offered virtually, both synchronously and asynchronously. Visit to view program offerings and register.
an orange background with white text reading,

Involvement Opportunity: Common Hour

Common Hour is a program by the Duke Student Government that bridges the gap between students and the incredible, far-reaching Duke community. This fall's featured guest is Adam Silver T'84, Commissioner of the NBA and Duke Trustee.
Join DSG, Duke Athletics, OUE, GPSC, and the Duke Alumni Association for a fireside chat with Adam Silver on November 12, 2020, at 5 p.m. to hear about leading the NBA during COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, his experiences at Duke, and his thoughts on leadership and serving on the Board's Undergraduate Education committee. 
Register in advance here.
Student Zizai Cui in his study space at home surrounded by books, papers and snacks

Remote student spotlight: Zizai Cui 

We caught up with Zizai Cui, Class of 2023, about his remote study space in Durham this semester (so close, yet so far), and how he misses playing basketball with friends...
From Zizai:
"This semester, I've been experimenting with various sleeping styles and recording the impacts in my well-being, productivity, and happiness. I found biphasic sleeping an excellent idea. Waking up before midnight sends one into a poetic state of mind..." 
Are you studying remotely? We want to hear your story! Email if you're interested in being featured. 
Brother Joshua of the Center for Muslim Life talking to a student on the Bryan Center Plaza. Both are wearing masks and physically distanced.

Spotted: Keeping the community safe 

Shout out to Brother Joshua ("Bro Jo") for continuing to meet with students in a safe way. Also, if Duke Football is looking for a backup QB, he's got you
Thanks for keeping our community safe, while still having fun!