Class of 2027 Arrives This Week, Move In Saturday

Experiential Orientation will put students in themed groups to help them acclimate to Duke and Durham

During one of orientation week's new orientation experiences, first-year students spent a morning at Durham’s Southern High School mulching tree beds and creating protection for new tree plantings. (Bill Snead/University Communications)

One group has already concluded – Project Preseason, created specifically for about 50 student-athletes from fall and winter sports who arrived in the summer for practice.

Themes range broadly. Project Arts introduces students to the arts communities on campus and more broadly in Durham through gallery visits and team art projects. Students in Project Habitat partner with Habitat for Humanity to build a home, while Project Discover participants get a crash course in all things Bull City through daily excursions around town.

While the projects are diverse in theme and activity, there will be greater consistency in the schedules of the programs, said Ben Adams, senior associate dean of students for QuadEx, Duke’s new living/learning initiative under which Experiential Orientation resides.

“We don’t want students to all have the same experience, but we do think a similar pace of program is important,” Adams said. “Moving to college can be taxing as it is, so we've encouraged student leaders to include more opportunities for downtime and rest. We just want to make sure our programs are modeling the wellness that we preach."

Some of the programs and resources usually covered in orientation will also be shifted to a series of five “Welcome Weeks” soon after the semester begins, Adams said. These weeks, which run through the end of September, expose students little by little to the many resources available to them, such as the arts, cultural organizations, recreation and academic support.

“It’s impossible to introduce and onboard students to Duke in a week,” he said. “It takes a long time to learn this place. For students to really know the place, we’re going to continue our onboarding into the fall so we can highlight our campus partners through these welcome weeks.”

This new class of first-year students represents 49 U.S. states and 89 foreign countries. About 55 percent of the class are women and about 56 percent of the class identifies as students of color. About 13 percent of the class – 225 students – are North Carolinians. Fifty more hail from South Carolina.

“Everyone reading admissions applications this year was impressed with how thoughtful and community-oriented this year’s applicants were,” said Christoph Guttentag, Duke’s dean of undergraduate admissions. “As difficult as the pandemic was for all of us, many of the students took the opportunity to help their communities weather the many challenges everyone faced. I think Duke will benefit from their experiences throughout their time here, and the students seem very eager to take full advantage of what Duke has to offer them.”

First-year students begin moving into their East Campus residence halls Saturday morning. More information on move-in day is available here.