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For Class of 2026, a New Duke Experience

Week of orientation activities to highlight campus community connections & immerse them in the QuadEx initiative

East Campus aerial photo

The 1,740 members of Duke University’s Class of 2026 will arrive on campus Saturday. They’ll meet roommates, set up their dorm rooms, say goodbye to parents and figure out where the dining hall is. Normal stuff.

But they’ll also chart a new course for Duke University undergrads as the first enrolling class to be fully immersed in the university’s new QuadEx living/learning initiative aimed at integrating students’ academic, social and residential experiences. This means they’ll live on East Campus – as first-year Duke students always do – but will have a connected West Campus residence hall community – a group of older students with whom they’ll be linked.

This connection is expected to create a larger, more inclusive community for new students to tap into. The initiative will be buttressed by a series of related new programs. In the Experiential Orientation program, for example, which runs throughout next week students will be divided into one of 19 smaller groups that will engage in specific exploration projects on campus or in the broader Durham community. They’re designed to educate, build camaraderie, and, importantly – be fun and interesting.

A few examples: One team will visit the National Whitewater Rafting Center in Charlotte; another team will meet congressional staffers in Washington D.C. who are Duke alums; a third group will scrimmage against the Duke men’s basketball team.

“QuadEx is focused on strengthening on-campus communities, enabling deeper exploration of interests, and supporting student wellbeing and growth,” said Clay Adams, Duke’s Vice Dean of Students. “Our entire orientation process has been designed to focus on developing community and sense of belonging.”

QuadEx also supports one of the pillars of Duke President Vincent Price’s strategic framework – building a renewed campus community.

This new class of first-year students represents 47 U.S. states and 81 foreign countries. Slightly more than 54 percent of the class are women and about 59 percent of the class identifies as students of color. About 11 percent of the class – 190 students – are North Carolinians.

“My staff and I have been so impressed with this year’s class,” said Christoph Guttentag, Duke’s dean of undergraduate admissions. “In spite of all of the challenges they faced, they remained fully engaged in learning and in their communities, and they’ll bring with them that energy and a great breadth of experiences and backgrounds. They’re particularly ready for the kind of intellectual and communal experience Duke offers, and I know their impact will be felt by everyone here. They’re curious, ready to think for themselves, and ready to make a difference.” 

These new students will go through a full slate of orientation week activities that also include traditional start-of-the-semester events such as the class photo and convocation.

Friends and family can follow move-in and back to school content on Duke's social media channels. See the latest content on Duke's Instagram account.

Some notes on parking:

Move-in day is busy. Families dropping students off Saturday for move-in are asked to leave once they do so; those who want to remain on East Campus can park in the Science Drive Garage on West Campus, where shuttle service will be available from the garage to East Campus and back.

Employees working on East Campus Saturday should park in alternate locations, such as Smith Warehouse, as all East Campus lots will be reserved for move-in operations. The entrance at Campus Drive and Main Street will be closed to traffic.