The Duke Common Experience

Info For Students Incoming Students The Duke Common Experience

The Duke Common Experience program is designed to introduce students to the academic climate at Duke University and to encourage discussion and intellectual dialogue among undergraduate students. The program was initiated during the 2001-2002 academic year from conversations between representatives from the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Office for Institutional Equity, and the Division of Student Affairs. The program is coordinated by the New Student & Family Programs Office in the Division of Student Affairs with significant involvement from the President’s Office, the Office of Undergraduate Education, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, the Pratt School of Engineering, and the Duke student body.



  • To enrich the intellectual life of students.
  • To promote a shared/common experience among first-year students.
  • To prompt stimulating debate and lively discussion outside of the classroom.
  • To foster interaction between and among peers.

Summer 2022 Selection

This summer, we are offering a film, a book, and a podcast.

Film: Bending the Arc 

Book: Point of Reckoning 

Podcast: How to Save a Planet 

You may choose to watch/read/listen to one or all three! Duke's selections center on justice and include topics of healthcare, Duke's own racial history, and the environment. We encourage students to dive deep into a topic they are passionate about AND a topic they wish to learn more about! 

How to Access 

Students have a variety of ways to engage with the three selections. Please utilize whatever platform is preferred and available to you. 

Point of Reckoning: We are currently in the process of sending a physical copy of this novel to the home address listed in Dukehub to all new-to-Duke students.

Bending the Arc: This film is available on the Duke Libraries website. Students can log in using their netID and password. It is also available for view on Netflix via a subscription.

How to Save a Planet: This podcast is available via the Gimlet website and on Spotify via a subscription. Student can find any episode's topic that they find interesting, and may choose as many episodes as they wish to listen to.  

Past Selections

2025Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid

2024: Know My Name, Chanel Miller

2023: There There, Tommy Orange

2022Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward

2021The Prince of Los Cocuyos, Richard Blanco

2020Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson

2019Fun Home, Alison Bechdel

2018Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

2017Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann

2016State of Wonder, Ann Patchett

2015Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer

2014Everything Matters, Ron Currie, Jr.

2013The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

2012What is the What, David Eggers

2011Best of Enemies, Osha Gray Davidson

2010My Sister's Keeper, Judy Picoult

2009Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

2008Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder

2007Savage Inequalities, Jonathan Kozol

2006The Palace Thief, Ethan Canin