Hi, we’re Ubuntu!

Ubuntu is a selective living group at Duke University devoted to civic engagement and social change. We are change makers in our communities – at Duke, in Durham, and around the world  We each have a vision for how the world should be, and we use our talents and passions to bring the world closer to that ideal.

“Ubuntu” is the African concept of “humanity towards others” – a philosophy focusing on people’s allegiances and relations with each other. The Archbishop Desmond Tutu has explored the concept of Ubuntu at length:

‘Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language. It speaks to the very essence of being human. When you want to give high praise to someone we say, “Yu, u Nobuntu”; he or she has Ubuntu. This means that they are generous, hospitable, friendly, caring and compassionate. They share what they have. It also means that my humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in theirs. We belong in a bundle of life. We say, “a person is a person through other people.” I am human because I belong, I participate, and I share. A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good; for he or she has a proper self assurance that comes with knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when other are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are.’

Recent Posts

Shannon Thoits


Hi, my name is Shannon. I am from Santa Barbara, California. I consider myself to be aggressively Californian, idk why I even came to NC for college, but Duke is pretty great so I guess that’s a good enough reason. I am an Environmental Science major and I’m getting a certificate in Marine Science and Conservation Leadership (entirely too long of a name for an expensive piece of paper).
I am on Little Team as the Social Chair/External Affairs Coordinator/Party Person this year. When I’m not doing Ubu stuff, I love to rage on environmental issues, cook good vegetarian food, watch Parks and Rec in the gym (and on the couch tbh), hang out in the Chapel Basement with my PCM (Presbyterian Campus Ministry) fam, go backpacking/hiking whenever studying stress levels are low, and do cool stuff with water, soil, and plant samples at my job in a lab on campus. That was a HUGE run on sentence, can you tell that I’m not an English major?
I am still surprised that I am a junior this year, and I’m a little sad missing my abroad friends. BUT I am psyched to be at Marine Lab this spring semester. Come hang with Harper and me in 301 F for friends if you want tea, beer, and an overload of Californian.