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First-Year Students

Welcome to Duke, Class of 2028!

Experiential Orientation is an incredible weeklong immersion that allows new-to-Duke students to dive into an engaging experience that builds community and fosters a sense of belonging around a shared interest. Combining experiential and immersive education with thoughtful team-building, engaging excursions, ​leadership development, and campus and community tours, this orientation model promises to be an incredible introduction to the Duke community.

Students will complete a questionnaire and be matched to a project based on their interests. The Experiential Orientation Matching Questionnaire is now live! Please check your Duke email for a unique link to the survey. This was sent on May 15, 2024 to all incoming first-year students. If you are having trouble finding the link, please email Please do not share this link with anyone else - it is YOUR unique link. The survey will be due by Friday, May 31, at 5 pm.


Project Arts (pArts) introduces students to the art communities at Duke and in Durham, while creating an inclusive social support network through a common passion and excitement for the arts. This experience will immerse students into one of the following creative arts: dance, music, theater, visual arts, creative writing, and visual media (photography & videography). Throughout the week, students will work collaboratively and expand their artistic knowledge and skills through daily workshops that will end with a final showcase celebration. Students will connect with the Downtown Durham art scene through gallery visits, visit the Eno River, and be welcomed into small families of fellow first-year students and upperclassmen within the program.

Project Band is offered to first-year students interested in joining Duke Athletic Bands, which supports Duke’s athletic teams at all home football games, ACC Basketball Tournaments, March Madness, and more. Participants will engage in performance preparation, community building, and exploration of Duke and Durham in hopes of preparing them for not only a rewarding experience as a member of Duke Athletic Bands, but also for life as a Duke student and beyond. Participants will join a tight-knit community and will become a part of the Duke Athletics and Duke Band Alumni Association families. Prior band experience is not required. 

Project BUILD (Building Undergraduate Involvement in the Life of Durham) is an introduction to life at Duke and in Durham through participating in community service and decades-long BUILD traditions. BUILD creates a family through small group “crews” of upperclassmen and first-year students, late-night bonding, and outings in and around Durham. BUILD works with service partners such as TROSA and Durham Central Park multiple times throughout the week. 

Co-sponsored with Sanford School of Public Policy, this initiative will give students the skills to be informed, active, and compassionate citizens within the Duke, local, national, and global communities. With a special focus on discourse, finding common ground, and gaining exposure to different systems of change, this project will help students answer the question, “What does it mean to be a model citizen?” Students will learn from and meet important policy practitioners in the local community and the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Project Citizen is excited to engage students in activities and conversation with students, alumni, and community members that foster relationship building and life-long friendships. 

*This project will spend one (1) night off campus. 

Project Discover is for any student who wants to get to know their new home. Students will explore and experience some of the most fun things around Duke and Durham, including sampling Durham’s incredible food scene, scaling Duke’s iconic chapel, snuggling baby goats, and hanging out at the lake with new friends. Students will go on daily excursions around Duke and the Durham area as they discover and enjoy the best-kept secrets, activities, and adventures of Duke’s campus and within Durham. 

Project Earth will connect first-year students to each other, to Duke, and to Durham by helping them develop a deeper connection with the Earth while exploring local environments. Students will engage with the beauty of nature firsthand, get their hands dirty with solutions-based sustainability, and learn about local climate justice efforts. Together, they will spend time at Falls Lake, explore Duke’s environmental opportunities and organizations, channel their creativity with upcycled crafts, tour hidden gems in Durham, pick up local goods at the Durham Farmer’s Market, and more! Students will be invited to collaborate and build meaningful connections with each other and the environment that will prepare them for their curricular and cocurricular careers at Duke and beyond.  

Project Edge (pEdge) is a community that welcomes students of all interests and backgrounds to discover their passions. Partnered with Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship, students will learn to look at problems through new eyes, explore entrepreneurial resources on campus and in Durham, and build connections with upperclass mentors that will last throughout students’ Duke careers. Throughout the week, students will meet local entrepreneurs, experiment with innovative thinking through activities like design sprints and wellness workshops, brainstorm new ideas, and join like-minded fellows in lighthearted engagements like "ShredX," a hilarious pitch competition that encourages out-of-the-box thinking by presenting the most absurd business ideas imaginable shark-tank style. 

Project Farm to Table builds community through a tool that brings people together like no other: food! This project will encourage students to ask where their food comes from, which parts of the food system they interact with, and how they can be in better relation to the world around them. Through activities at the Duke Campus Farm, learning about Duke Dining, and exploring Durham and its food scene, students will develop a stronger sense of their role in the ways we cultivate, access, value, and think about food. Topics range widely and include beginner cooking skills, local catering and dining, and spending time outside. This project will mainly take place in downtown Durham and around Duke’s campus. Above all, Project Farm to Table will help students feel a sense of ease as they transition into Duke by helping first-year students cultivate community.  

Project Global is a community-centered exploration of self and Duke within a global framework. International and domestic students alike are invited to explore how their academic and personal experiences at Duke and beyond will intersect with global issues and themes. Students will explore food, activism, academia, and more through local field trips, interactive discussions and mentorship opportunities to develop a broader global-local identity and community at Duke and in Durham. Project Global is excited to build a deeper understanding of participants’ cultures in order to continue celebrating and also questioning the complexities of this interconnected world! 

Project Habitat is a program designed to introduce students to Duke and the Durham community through service, partnership, and exploration. Participants will spend mornings building homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and engaging with Durham community members. In the afternoon and evenings, they will explore the food and fun of Duke and Durham. This program is designed to foster meaningful and lasting relationships between incoming students, Duke, and the Durham community. And while meaningfulness matters, so does laughter, so pHabitat doesn’t take itself too seriously along the way. 

Join the herd! Project Herd welcomes anyone from moderate animal-likers to full animal-lovers.  This project fosters strong connections between other first-year students and upperclassmen through animal-related activities including visits to Duke Lemur Center and Duke Campus Farm, excursions downtown, and relaxing at the Eno River. By the end of orientation, first-year students will have a good mental map of Duke and the nearby Durham area, upperclassmen that they can reach out to throughout the year, and selfies with some pretty cute animals (insert baby goat emoji). 

Diversity, inclusion, and equity are important, but society often talks about them as topics of discussion or issues of debate as opposed to seeing how they are interwoven in the world people navigate every day. This project will help students understand their identities and those of others through food, history, arts, and dialogue. The conversations in Project Identity and Culture will help bring together a community that advocates for change through empathy, strength, joy, and dialogue in Duke, Durham, and beyond. 

Project Lead is an Experiential Orientation program partnered with the Office of Student Involvement & Leadership, designed to explore leadership in the Duke community outside of traditional definitions. The goal is to inspire students to create positive change, examine their personal strengths, and explore how individual qualities interact within diverse communities. At the end of Orientation Week, students will feel more confident in their ability to get connected to meaningful involvement at Duke and will have a deeper sense of belonging to the Blue Devil Family. 

Project Media is a community that encourages students to tell their own story through the art forms of filmmaking, photography, and broadcasting. Students will learn about different forms of media, see the media arts that Duke and Durham have to offer, and get hands-on practice in professional workshops! Then, students will work together to reimagine and tell their own stories. Participants will learn about the many ways stories can be told as they create a capstone project of their own O-week experience alongside friends that will last a lifetime!  

Project Play invites students to join the team in Duke Rec and PE & Athletics as they explore their wellness, teamwork, and a bit of the athletic culture at Duke. This Project aims to create a community in which students will find their fit in Duke Rec’s resources and programming. Through group activities, field trips, competitions, facility tours, and more, this immersive track will give students the opportunity to move, use their brain, create lasting relationships, and build healthy habits for their time at Duke. 

Project Preseason introduces Fall and Winter sport student-athletes to campus during their summer school classes at Duke. Project Preseason aims to show first-year students what Duke can be within and beyond the Athletic Department. This July, students will take time together to learn Duke, engage Durham, and begin to absorb the scale of Duke's broad academic and dynamic social culture beyond their identity as a student-athlete. 

pResearch is a community that welcomes all curiosity-driven individuals with a mission to explore Duke’s vast research landscape. At Duke, the boundaries of research extend beyond test tubes and lab coats to uncovering mysteries of the past, conducting field work, exploring the impact of narratives, engineering solutions, investigating ethical issues, examining art, and more! Throughout O-Week, pResearch will explore the intersections of research on campus and in the Research Triangle. Themed days will help students understand how interdisciplinary approaches help answer big questions and the ways students can get involved with research. This includes trips to downtown Durham, Duke Libraries’ archives, Duke’s medical campus, local museums, and the Duke Forest, among others. Students from all disciplines and levels of experience will spend the week exploring all the research Duke has to offer!  

Project Science and Engineering Exploration at Duke (S.E.E.D.) is designed to introduce and welcome students to STEM at Duke and beyond.  Through formal and informal gatherings with this community, students will receive guidance on connecting with faculty, exploring gateway classes and majors, and finding research opportunities to help them make the most of their time at Duke. Project S.E.E.D. will engage in hands-on creative activities while exploring a variety of STEM fields. Participants will be encouraged to consider fields beyond their initial interest to gain a larger appreciation for the opportunities Duke has to offer. The ultimate goal of Project S.E.E.D. is to ensure that participants know they belong in STEM and to build a community of peers.  

Project Waves is a welcoming, high-energy environment where first-year students join a community that extends throughout their whole Duke career. The week is split between camping at Falls Lake and exploring the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC. Through fun activities and self-exploring conversations, first-years students bond with each other and their upperclassmen orientation leaders. Students will spend a lot of time in and around the water, taking trips to the beach and kayaking at the lake. It is a phone-free and outdoor-focused environment, allowing first-year students the chance to disconnect from the outside world and embed in their new Duke community! 

*This project will spend five (5) nights off campus. Participants will not stay in their residence hall during Orientation Week.  

^ This project is phone free: participants will not have access to cell phones. Orientation Leaders and/or professional staff have access to phones in case of an emergency!  

Join Project Wellness for an exciting orientation week program focused on participants’ wellness! By the end of the week, students will have a new perception of wellness and leave with a plan to take care of their well-being beyond orientation week. Project Wellness has a variety of activities planned that will allow students to understand and experience the different aspects of wellness needed to be successful at Duke. From exploring the Duke Gardens to enjoying paint sessions at the Wellness Center and visiting state parks, downtown Durham, local arcades, and more, this track is dedicated to helping students prioritize their mental and physical health. Participants should expect to leave this program with a renewed sense of energy, ready to tackle their time at Duke with a focus on their own health and happiness. 

PWILD’s mission is to welcome new students and create a community through a shared love for the outdoors. By participating in WILD, students will have the opportunity to day hike, swim, climb, and camp under the stars in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina. Those looking for a bigger challenge can choose to take a multi-day backpacking trip in the area surrounding basecamp. No previous outdoor experience is required! Students will be introduced to the Duke community and resources through upperclass mentors. Participants will learn about themselves and others by unplugging from technology, sleeping under tarps, making their own food, sharing stories, creating new memories, and reveling in nature with the PWILD community. 

* This project will spend five (5) nights off campus. Participants will not stay in their residence hall during Orientation Week.  

^ This project is phone free: participants will not have access to cell phones. Orientation Leaders and/or professional staff have access to phones in case of an emergency!  


Each first-year student will be placed into one of the Experiential Orientation projects to experience Orientation Week. Your answers to the Questionnaire will determine placement.

The Experiential Orientation Matching Questionnaire is now live! Please check your Duke email for a unique link to the survey. This was sent on May 15, 2024 to all incoming first-year students. If you are having trouble finding the link, please email Please do not share this link with anyone else - it is YOUR unique link. The survey will be due by Friday, May 31, at 5 pm.

Students will receive acknowledgment of their placement in early July.

Each project will begin on Sunday, August 18. Move-In day is Saturday, August 17. Please come for Move-In Day so we can get you settled and ready for your Experiential Orientation project.

In this orientation model, there is no cost to participate in Experiential Orientation.

If you would like to request any specific accommodations in order to participate in experiential orientation, please contact the Office of New Student and Family Programs via email at