Campus Quality

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Campus Quality


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5 College Junior

Campus Quality: Current construction notwithstanding, the campus is stunning. Several close friends selected this university over others simply because of its aesthetic appeal. Especially among this century's additions, new structures are painstakingly tailored to complement Duke's stylistic character (Neo-Gothic on West, Collegiate Georgian on East). Athletic facilities are worthy of the Blue Devils' distinguished reputations, and the library system ranks among the country's most comprehensive. Undergraduates assume ownership of student programming campaigns, a logical but unusual allowance that dates to the 1950s. It is not uncommon for student leaders to directly oversee 5- to 6-figure programming budgets.

4 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Campus Quality: Campus is beautiful - BUT THERE IS SO MUCH CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW. The main dining hall, the chapel, Wallace Wade, the Bryan Center, the plaza are all under construction or about to be under construction, which makes it a little limited. Cranes abound.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Campus Quality: The campus is gorgeous and has lots of fun places to hang out, but the quality has been severely diminished as of late with all of the construction on campus. I feel like the construction is really negatively impacting my experience at Duke.

4 people found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Campus Quality: The school is gorgeous. Great athletic facilities and the library is pretty nice. The student center is probably one of the ugliest buildings on campus though.

3 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Campus Quality: Freshman dorms and I think a few others still lack AC, but all the Duke facilities otherwise (classrooms, buildings, gyms, etc.) are beautiful and if not, at least very functional (West Duke at the moment, excluded).


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Duke is a beautiful campus, and the buildings are well kept. The original Gothic buildings on Main West Quad and the Georgian buildings on East are simply stunning. Newer buildings receive mixed reviews regarding beauty—the Sanford Institute of Public Policy, for example, is elegant and modern, while the Paul M. Gross Chemistry Building, just around the corner, is generally considered one of the uglier buildings on campus. The athletic centers are really quite pleasant and well kept (especially Wilson; Brodie is useable, but not spectacular). The Bryan University Center tends to draw some very mixed reviews. Although it is reasonably central to West Campus and brings together restaurants, recreation, and administration just as a student center ought to, the extensive use of concrete pillars and walls as interior decorating choices garners some complaints.

Lilly Library on East Campus is beautiful but a bit cramped. Fortunately, the Perkins/Bostock system on West more than makes up for it with an abundance of group study rooms, big squishy chairs, and miles of tables, cubicles, and stacks. Explore and you will certainly find a niche for every studying mood. Despite the griping and minor complaints, Duke has some pretty darn nice facilities. This is not to say that all of the buildings on campus are spacious and immaculate—but it should be made clear that Duke is physically beautiful and well groomed.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
Campus Size
8,610 acres
Student Centers
The Bryan University Center ("the BC")
Campus Library?
Main Libraries
  • Bostock Library
  • Lilly Library
  • William R. Perkins Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • Couches in the BC
  • The main quads
  • McClendon Tower
  • Your dorm bench
Bar on Campus
Armadillo Grill
Bowling on Campus
Coffeehouse on Campus
  • Bella Union (fourth floor McClendon Tower)
  • Dolce Vita
  • Duke Coffeehouse (East Campus)
  • Joe Van Gogh (Bryan Center)
  • The Perk (in von der Heyden Pavilion of Perkins Library)
  • Trinity Café (East Union Building)
Movie Theater on Campus
The Griffith Film Theater in the Bryan University Center
"Green" Initiatives
Green initiatives are abundant, as the University aims to be carbon-neutral by 2018. Lights turn on and off via motion sensors, there are water-saving measures implemented in bathrooms, incentives to bring a reusable mug at many eateries on campus, a community vegetable garden-the whole nine yards! Duke engineers and environmental science students even built a "Smart Home" on campus, which won a national design competition sponsored by Home Depot.
School Slang
  • The `Dillo: Armadillo Grill, a popular place for some good Mexican food
  • The BC: The Bryan Center
  • Blocking: In the housing lottery, it is possible to sign up in a "block." Students who "block" are given consecutive lottery numbers to have a better chance of getting rooms next to or near each other.
  • Cameron Crazies: What Duke students morph into once they enter Cameron Indoor Stadium
  • Grace: When the temperature dips below freezing in K-Ville, campers are granted "grace" and allowed to head back home for the rest of the night.
  • Graffiti Bridge: The bridge between West and East on which students are allowed to plug parties, activities, and theme weeks
  • Gross Chem: The building is the "Paul M. Gross Chemical Laboratory Building," but is referred to as "Gross Chem."
  • K-Ville: Krzyzewskiville, the village of tents created by avid students camping out for Duke basketball tickets
  • Tent Check: There are random tent checks for those who do tent for games, to make sure everyone's there. The killers are the 2 a.m. tent checks when everyone stumbles into the bitter cold in their pajamas.
  • Tunneling: East Campus has a tunnel system under the dorms.
  • Walk-up Line: The line of people who didn't camp out for the basketball games
  • Blue Devil Mascot : The Blue Devil mascot appears to pump people up at all the basketball games. Since he can't talk to mock (and what's a basketball game without jeering?), he wears a headband with some little witticism about the other team. He also runs over to the band and bangs the bass drum during tip-off.
  • Bonfires : After Duke beats UNC in a home basketball game or wins a national championship, the wooden benches which line the West Campus quads burn in a giant celebratory bonfire (monitored by fire marshals, of course).
  • K-Ville : This little tent community has become highly organized in recent years. It requires registration, scheduling, making tent checks, and sitting/sleeping for long hours in the bitter cold. However, there are some perks-free pizzas, meeting the basketball players, and courtside seats for the biggest rivalry in college basketball!
  • Last Day of Classes Concert (LDOC): On the last day of classes, Duke, like some other colleges, has several artists come in to do a concert before the reading period and exams begin. The bands are usually quite good, and it's a great chance to relax with friends before you have to buckle down and study hard for finals.
  • Midnight Breakfast : This is a tradition that is much enjoyed on East Campus. The Sunday night before exams begin, freshmen line up on the quad to get into the Midnight Breakfast. Inside is a mixture of desserts and breakfast food, as well as (usually) some free T-shirts. This is definitely a tradition worth taking part in.
Urban Legends
  • All students, before they graduate, must complete five "graduation requirements." These include: tunneling, climbing atop Baldwin Auditorium, driving around the West Campus traffic circle backwards, climbing the Chapel, and hooking up in the library stacks or Duke Gardens.
  • East Campus wall is 10 feet high-three feet above ground and seven beneath.
  • James B. Duke first offered his endowment to Princeton University, but only if its trustees would change the name to "Duke." They refused. James B. Duke approached Trinity College next, and they agreed (other versions of this story substitute Yale or Georgetown for Princeton).
  • The only reason US News doesn't rank Duke ahead of Stanford is because Stanford would refuse to participate in the rankings if it was ranked below Duke.
Favorite Things To Do
If you can find a DUI (Duke University Improv) performance, go to it! Duke's a cappella groups are also awesome, and there are some exceptional dance groups, as well. Plays and jazz at the Mary Lou Williams Center are also offered regularly, and the Nasher Museum of Art has some great exhibits throughout the year. Movies in the Griffith Film Theater are either cheap or free, and the theater shows some amazing films from time to time.
Student Newspaper
The Chronicle
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
There are literally hundreds of organizations on Duke's campus, meaning that there is definitely something for everyone. You can find any sport under the sun, from football to Frisbee, at any level of competition, from varsity (most intense) to club (moderate commitment) to intramural (very leisurely). The most popular organizations on campus are those associated with political causes (Duke Democrats, College Republicans, Model United Nations) and community service (Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, and numerous tutoring programs that interact with local Durham schools). The school's religious organizations are also very active (Hillel, Campus Crusade for Christ, Duke Catholic Center, and Muslim Students Association), organizing retreats, scripture studies, and socials throughout the year. There are several publications which students can write for, most notable of which is The Chronicle, Duke's daily newspaper.
The incredibly wide variety of groups across campus virtually ensures that, at Duke, you'll find your passion both in and out of the classroom.
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Concert band
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Marching band
  • Model UN
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Opera
  • Pep band
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Student-run film society
  • Symphony orchestra
  • Television station
  • Yearbook
Air Force ROTC: Yes
Navy ROTC: Yes
Army ROTC: Yes

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 28 responses

Very poor
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

Where are your favorite places to just hang out?    Based on 8 responses

  • 20% Shooters
  • 12% Perkins
  • 12% Bryan Center
  • 12% The main quads
  • 8% The gyms
  • 8% My room
  • 4% Biddle
  • 4% Smith Warehouse
  • 4% Div School Refectory
  • 4% Chapel Basement
  • 4% Coffee Shops around campus
  • 4% McClendon Tower
  • 4% Your dorm bench
  • 0% Couches in the BC

What are your favorite campus events or traditions?    Based on 8 responses

  • 15% Duke Basketball
  • 15% Midnight Breakfast
  • 15% Last Day of Classes Concert (LDOC)
  • 15% K-Ville
  • 12% O-Week Shooters
  • 12% Bonfires
  • 8% P Checks
  • 8% Blue Devil Mascot

What are your favorite things to do around campus?    Based on 9 responses

  • 36% Watch Basketball
  • 36% Chill
  • 14% Stroll through the botanical garden.
  • 14% Eat

How accommodating is this school to students with physical disabilities?    Based on 9 responses

  • 44% Very accommodating. The school does everything in their power to make sure the needs of every student are met.
  • 33% Pretty accommodating. The school has taken a lot of steps to accommodate the needs of students, but they've missed a few things.
  • 22% Slightly accommodating. The school has taken a few steps to accommodate students, but not nearly enough.
  • 0% Not accommodating. Students with physical disabilities are practically ignored here.

How would you describe the student center/union?    Based on 42 responses

  • 26% The student center is state-of-the-art and the hub of student life.
  • 52% The student center is great but isn't central to student life.
  • 19% The student center serves its purpose but is not a popular hangout.
  • 2% The student center is in need of a major renovation.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 37 responses

  • 43% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.
  • 51% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 3% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 3% I hate my school and have no school spirit.

What are the best on-campus student jobs?    Based on 6 responses

  • 50% Sports Information Office Student Assistant
  • 33% Student Caller at the Phonathon
  • 17% Laundrymen

What is the most interesting urban legend about campus?    Based on 5 responses

  • 60% Anything crazy you hear is probably true.
  • 40% Graduation Requirements



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