Fortin Foundation DukeEngage Academy The largest civic engagement conference of its kind. In the world.

On May 8-9, 2018, more than 500 students, staff, program leaders, and community partners gathered on Duke's East Campus to kickoff the 11th summer of DukeEngage with the 2018 Fortin Foundation DukeEngage Academy.


Tuesday morning started with registration and breakfast in Marketplace, where DukeEngage program participants and leaders would dine together throughout the academy.

Eric Mlyn, Peter Lange Executive Director of DukeEngage and Assistant Vice Provost for Civic Engagement, Vincent Price, Duke University President, Meredith Casper, Assistant Director for Training & Student Development; and Abdullah Antepli, Chief Representative of Muslim Affairs, led the opening plenary in Baldwin Auditorium.

"You will learn things in your DukeEngage experiences that can never be taught in a classroom, and we hope that you will bring your experiences back to Duke to share with your classmates and colleagues. In so doing, you will enrich our campus life and our ongoing civic engagement activities." - President Price

Following the plenary, DukeEngage participants spent the day rotating through four core sessions that encouraged them to think critically and carefully about the work they would be doing with their community partners: Social Identity & Partnership, Foundations of Engagement, Serving Across Cultures, and Ethics of Documenting Your DukeEngage Experience.

Dedicated group time was key to helping participants get to know each other, their program leaders, and the communities the would be working and living in for eight to ten weeks over the summer.
The day ended with an intense game of Bargna, which tested participants' ability to communicate without words and challenged their assumptions about rules they *think* are true.


Wednesday morning began with two mandatory sessions. International Travel, Health, and Safety provided practical advice for international program and independent project participants. Nonprofit Work in the US: Understanding your Organization and Partner Expectations gave US program participants access to eight community partners: Allen Davis, Freedom Schools (Charlotte), Lizzie Ellis-Furlong, Durham Literacy Center, Shawn Fleek, OPAL (Portland), Angie Miot Nudel, Larkin Street Youth Services (San Francisco), Lisa Nuskowski, MoGo Detroit, Beth Payne, Girls Inc. (Orange County, CA), Lauren Schauer, Margolis Center for Health Policy (DC), and Cassandra Suprin, Catholic Legal Services (Miami). In a panel discussion and small breakout groups, partners shared the work, structure, and culture of their organizations, along with tips for success in a professional work environment.

Community partners encouraged DukeEnage participants to be open and willing to learn; to be proactive in asking for assignments and projects; and to be flexible--you never know what the day might bring!

DukeEngagers spent the afternoon attending topical sessions led by staff, community partners, and DEALs. Topics ranged from poverty in the United States and environmental justice to budgeting your DukeEngage stipend and teaching in under-resourced classrooms.

In Social Media Strategizing for Non-Profits, led by DukeEngage alumna Rohini Paul '18, students examined social media and communications from a professional standpoint and discussed its use in the non-profit world.

DukeEngage Academy Leaders (DEALs) are program alumni who share their “lessons from the field” through panel discussions, storytelling, and informal conversations. They are critical to the success of the Fortin Foundation DukeEngage Academy, and many students participating in DukeEngage have attributed their success to DEALs who enriched their pre-departure experience.

The afternoon concluded with a Storytelling Session led by Jeff Polish of The Monti. Seven DukeEngage alumni shared the challenges they faced and lessons they learned during their experiences, from drinking bad tap water to understanding their role in the community.

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