Grad Students Connect with Durham Service Organizations

Community Service TourThe Sanford Institute’s incoming graduate students started their year with tours of 12 community service organizations and downtown Durham, with a goal of understanding local policy issues and making connections in the city they will call home for the next two years

First-year students in both the Master’s of Public Policy (MPP) and the Program in International Development Policy (PIDP) divided into six groups, each of which visited two sites. The locations, which were chosen to represent Durham’s diverse populations and needs, included TROSA, Durham Land Trust, SEEDS, See Saw Studios, Latino Credit Union, Lincoln Community Health Center, and the Emily Krzyzewski Family Life Center. An opening presentation by Ben Reese, Duke’s vice president of institutional equity, covered the history of Durham and Duke and provided insight into the roots of current issues and concerns.

Grad students connect with Durham service organizationsThe event, a highlight of graduate student orientation week, was sponsored by the MPP and PIDP Programs and the Living Policy Forum (LPF). LPF is student organization that promotes leadership and personal development by planning activities for members of the Sanford community. This year’s LPF coordinators were MPP students Emily Grenzke and Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini.

David Cohen, Maria Cristina-Capelo, and other second-year MPPs created and led tours of downtown Durham, focusing on city revitalization projects and popular places for Duke students to relax and socialize.

Walking Tour"In planning the event I learned a great deal about the history and diversity of Durham,” Grenzke said. “Giving the walking tours of downtown made me feel closer to the community and gave me the opportunity to meet all of the first year MPPs. It is very easy to get tunnel vision working at Sanford, and the Living Policy in Durham event helped me to remember all of the policy work going on in our neighborhoods."