Duke Libraries knows that every scholar needs a room of one’s own, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf. For the last few months, Duke seniors writing honors theses have been able to receive graduate student checkout privileges (including not having to return books until May 2010). They can request materials at the Duke library of their choice, participate in a private group study room, or even store their materials in private library lockers. Starting this semester, honors thesis students may now reserve graduate study carrels for four hour increments, which gives them a guaranteed study space in the midst of final exams.
Senior Ted Holt (pictured in a study carrel above) is impressed by Duke Libraries’ recent efforts to encourage honors thesis projects. Initiatives like the carrel service, Holt explains, “show that the university is trying to facilitate undergraduate research.” Holt is completing his History thesis on crusade-era ideology in the 1212 campaign of Las Navas de Tolosa. Read more about Duke Libraries’ senior honors thesis privileges here.
Talking about racial or gender differences in a respectful way — and really trying to understand where people from different perspectives are coming from — are some of the very hardest things to do in life. Duke’s student-run Center for Race Relations does an incredible job of helping people achieve these goals. One of its programs is Common Ground, a weekend retreat at which students discuss issues of race, gender and sexuality — and that participants testify leaves them transformed. Another project, launched in 2008 with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), is the “Me Too” blog, designed to encourage students to share “fears, strengths, stories, feelings, and experiences” anonymously. More than just a blog, it seeks to address the myth of effortless perfection at Duke – that is, the perception that all other students are free from struggle. Most students, individually, admit that they do sometimes struggle, but think that others do not, which can make it hard open up about personal difficulties. The “Me Too” Campaign, according to its website, stresses that, whatever issues a particular student may be dealing with, he/she is not alone.