Building Community at Duke One Circle at a Time
“I just feel good.” That’s how one student summed up his participation in Kenan’s first student-focused workshop for the Building Restorative Communities (BRC) initiative.
“I’m hopeful for the kind of conversations that I can have outside of this space.”
On a sleepy Saturday morning, 20 students gathered for an 8-hour introduction to community building by participating in circles, learning about restorative justice and related practices, and trying their hand at building a circle themselves to be able to replicate these kinds of experiences. One participant shared seeing just that kind of possibility, “I’m hopeful for the kind of conversations that I can have outside of this space.”
BRC works to introduce restorative practices directly where students live and socialize, particularly in Residence Life, Greek Life, New Student Programs and student-led clubs and groups. Under the leadership of KIE’s Associate Director, Ada Gregory, BRC is intended to connect students through intentional practices that encourage deep listening and authenticity. Gregory noted, “Kenan worked closely with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Wellness Center and UCAE to pull this day together and help students learn how to create supportive spaces with their peers and in their student groups, dorms or clubs.”
The workshop concluded with a jubilant drumming circle open to the Duke community any Thursday from 5:00 – 5:50pm in Room 148 of Student Wellness Center behind the pharmacy on the first floor.
“I feel lucky to have stumbled into this and it’s exactly what I needed.”
Moving this initiative forward, Kenan will be working with the Freshman Advisory Council (FAC) to incorporate circles into orientation with the first FAC chat with incoming first year students in August so that they might feel like the student who said, “I feel lucky to have stumbled into this and it’s exactly what I needed.”