Skip to main content

The History of the BC Fellows

First-year students enter Kilgo Quad for a cookout

In 2020, Duke committed.

Healthy relationships are the cornerstone of a successful collegiate experience

In 2020, Duke committed to bringing healthy relationship education to every student, ensuring that it became an integral part of their academic journey. By actively promoting healthy relationships, we aim to foster a positive campus culture that centers on respect. At the heart of our philosophy lies the understanding that meaningful connections are integral to the well-being of all Duke students.

How We Got Here

Our mission was clear: to bring healthy relationship education to every student, ensuring that it became an integral part of their academic journey. This challenge led us to a groundbreaking initiative where, for the first time, we fully integrated comprehensive relationship education into the new student orientation program.

What We Covered in Year One


Types of Relationships

We ensured students could identify the 4 types of relationships they are likely to be in on campus and distinguish them from one another. (Academic, Social, Professional, and Familial)


10 Signs of Healthy Relationships

We trained students to name and identify the 10 signs of healthy relationships. We also helped them chart out a course to ensure that the relationships they experience on campus are healthy.


10 Signs of Unhealthy Relationships

We made sure that students could name and identify each of the 10 signs of unhealthy relationships. We also mapped these concepts onto the Duke experience and helped students make a game plan for when they experience these signs on campus.

The Numbers

students walk and talk along the side of a greenhouse during orientation

Over the course of O-Week, we hosted six conversations focused on topics that were essential to first-year success. The conversation on healthy relationships was consistently rated the highest by both Orientation Leaders and first-years.

More Data...

  • 820 students completed the O-Week Satisfaction Survey.
  • First-year students appear to feel "most knowledgeable" about healthy relationships (of any of the six chats they were required to participate in).
  • 86% of orientation leaders felt prepared to lead conversations with their Experiential Orientation projects on healthy relationships.
  • In qualitative data, the healthy relationships session was the most singled out and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.