Sophomore year is an exciting time, when students think about the kind of post-graduation life they wish to pursue and ultimately declare their major at the end of the year. But it’s also sometimes a time of uncertainty and stress for students, as they navigate changing relationships, feel pressure to secure internships, and wrestle with questions of purpose and values.
In past surveys at Duke, many students reported feeling a loss of the class community they enjoyed while living together on East Campus. Sophomores have also noted the absence of the coordinated community building events and navigational resources offered to first-years.
This academic year brought some changes. A new program called Sophomore Spark sought to build on the community created during students’ first year at Duke with events and initiatives designed to support the personal, professional and intellectual needs of second-year students.
As part of the program, sophomores held a Halfway There Celebration this past Thursday to commemorate the halfway point of the Duke journey. Students were encouraged to invite a faculty or staff member who offered important support during their first two years.
The Halfway There Celebration included games, food, swag and plenty of opportunities to connect with friends both new and old. Academic leaders and faculty including Vice Provosts Gary Bennett and Mary Pat McMahon greeted students.
Sophomore Spark is one of the signature programs of the larger QuadEx initiative, a living and learning model that seeks to connect students’ social, residential and intellectual lives. The goal of the effort is to build strong on-campus communities, enable deep exploration of intellectual interests, and promote overall well-being and growth.
Sophomore Spark is co-chaired by Jenny Wood Crowley, assistant vice provost of undergraduate education, and Greg Victory, assistant vice president of student affairs and Fannie Mitchell Executive Director of the Duke Career Center.