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Hosting a Vigil at Duke University

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Purpose of a Vigil

A vigil is a period of watchful attention, often spent in quiet contemplation, typically held as a form of commemoration or in anticipation of an event. It involves a collective or individual act of maintaining awareness, commonly observed during times of mourning, reflection, or preparation.

Hosting a Vigil at Duke University

Who can host a vigil?

Vigils must be hosted by a registered student organization or University department. If an individual student not connected to a student organization is interested in hosting a vigil, they should contact the Director of Religious Life and Chaplain Liaison, Kathryn Lester Bacon. Organizations must register their event via DukeGroups, selecting "Vigil" as the Event Type.

Where can a vigil take place?

Vigils require a space reservation following all University and space use policies. The following locations are the outdoor and indoor locations where reservations for vigils can be made:

Outdoor Locations

  • Bryan Center Plaza
  • Chapel Quad
  • Abele Quad

Indoor Locations

  • Duke Chapel
  • Goodson Chapel
  • Keohane Atrium

What should a vigil program include?

  • Duration: Vigils at Duke University can be up to 60 minutes in length. That 60 minutes begins at the publicized start time of the event.
  • Speakers: All names and affiliations of guest speakers must be provided upon event registration and approval. Due to the length of the program, it is recommended to limit the number of speakers to five or fewer.
  • Attendance: It is recommended that vigils be limited in attendance to individuals with Duke affiliations. If the larger community is invited, additional considerations may be expected for the safety of the hosts, attendees, and greater Duke community. Student organizations are responsible for the speakers and guests they invite to campus, explicitly or implicitly. As such, careful consideration should be taken when inviting non-Duke community members to participate and attend an event.
  • Support: Duke University has staff prepared for emotional and safety/security support at vigils. Upon registration of the event, requests can be made for staff to be on hand for the duration of the program.
  • Additional Expectations: All other University Policies regarding gatherings/events on campus should be adhered to, e.g. amplified sound, fire/safety, etc.