In 2019, Lindsey Miller Furiness, senior program coordinator for Civic Engagement at the Office of Durham and Community Affairs, led a group of around 10 eighth-graders around Duke, letting the excitement they had for their peek into campus life rub off on her. The tour was part of Duke-Durham School Days, an annual event aimed at motivating Durham eighth-graders to pursue a path to college.
She distinctly remembers her group’s stop at Grainger Hall, where talk of the building’s cutting-edge sustainability features and a visit to the rooftop garden left her students especially enthused.
“I loved seeing the students react to it,” said Furiness, who has volunteered each year since 2017. “It enhances my appreciation of the campus, and it was a lot of fun to see them get to experience something unique.”
Now in its 22nd year, Duke-Durham School Days returns to an in-person format on November 18 after having to be held virtually for the past two years due to the pandemic. The event is designed for eighth-graders who attend Durham Public Schools and come from families with no prior college experience. Around 300 students are expected to take part in this year’s edition, which will give them a chance to spend a day on Duke’s campus, visiting labs, meeting with faculty and touring campus facilities, including residence halls.
While Duke students will take the lead role in telling the eighth-graders about college experience, around 70 Duke employee volunteers are needed to guide small groups of teenagers around campus.
Any staff and faculty member can apply to serve as a volunteer for the event, which will run from roughly 8:30 a.m.-noon. Volunteers will receive a T-shirt, training and be provided breakfast and lunch on the day of the event. The deadline to apply is November 4.
“It’s such a thrill,” said David Stein, Duke-Durham School Days director. “The excitement rubs off on the staff and students who sign up. They know they’re having an impact on these kids.”