25 Ways to Engage at Duke and in Durham

The divisiveness of this election has left many of us wondering where we go from here and how we can take action. Civic engagement is now more vital than ever and here at the Duke Office of Civic Engagement, we believe in the power of acting locally and the momentum in small wins. We’ve come up with a list of actions that Duke students can take right here and right now to start making change.

  1. Take a class about democracy, governance or social movements; for example, Democracy Lab (PP590.02), Engaged Citizenship and Social Change (POLSCI 213S) or History of US Social Movements (HIST 344.01)
  2. Take a service-learning course.
  3. Do a research project with Bass Connections. Past projects include: Federal Spending on American Children, NC Medicaid Reform Advisory Team, School Dropout Prevention in Durham Public Schools.
  4. Use data for good with Data+. Past projects include developing metrics for neighborhood change in Durham, visualizing the National Transgender Discrimination Survey and quantifying the effect of gerrymandering on congressional districts.
  5. Attend events at POLISForum for Scholars and Publics or Duke Human Rights Center.
  6. Do a domestic DukeEngage program. Explore economic development in Durham, border issues in Tucson or health policy change in DC.
  7. Go on an Alternative Break.
  8. Earn a certificate in Civic Engagement and Social Change, Human Rights, or Ethics
  9. Apply for the Service Opportunities in Leadership (SOL) program.
  10. Help make Duke a sanctuary campus.
  11. Go to protests and rallies in Durham with TSURJ, Durham in Defiance or Stop the Carolina Coup.
  12. Donate money to local charities. Use Charity Navigator or Indy Week Give! Guide to find one you like.
  13. Go to a city council meeting or a Durham CAN meeting to learn from other Durham activists.
  14. Know who your local legislators and politicians are and call them.
  15. Support reputable news and investigative reporting like Center for Investigative Reporting or ProPublica. 
  16. Stand up for others and show up in new spaces like the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, Center for Multicultural Affairs, Center for Muslim Life or the Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity.
  17. Attend an event led by Duke’s Interfaith Voices for Action.
  18. Tutor in Durham schools with America Reads / America Counts or Partners for Success.
  19. Teach English with Duke GANO.
  20. Find a short term volunteer opportunity with the Community Service Center.
  21. Join the campus chapter of Amnesty International, Big Brother Big Sister or Habitat for Humanity.
  22. Write an op-ed in the Duke Chronicle.
  23. Have coffee with someone who represents a very different viewpoint than your own. Listen without interrupting.
  24. Read about other cultures and political views within the US. Try Hillbilly Elegy or Between the World and Me.
  25. Be with the community of Durham.  Attend an event at the Durham County Library, check out weekly happenings on the Durham Event Calendar, shop at a different grocery store, grab a bite to eat in a different part of town or check out a place of worship that is not your own.