Our Story

Ubuntu is a selective living group at Duke whose members are dedicated to civic engagement and social change. Our mission is to cultivate a sustained passion and interest in addressing the world’s most pressing issues, and to ingrain these characteristics in the consciousness of the typical Duke student.

Ubuntu was created in 2008 by a group of Duke students who envisioned a multi-dimensional residential experience. Ubuntu was meant to redefine the campus’s social culture, providing students with an alternative to the dominant living groups. It was more than a purely social organization however, and with its theme, took on the purpose of connecting students who share an interest in actively addressing global issues through civic engagement. Through a variety of avenues, from student discussions to faculty interactions, campus-wide events to group social programming, local community service to projects abroad, Ubuntu engages its members in a living experience that is, socially and intellectually, like no other.

We are civic-minded individuals interested in causes as diverse as education reform, food sustainability, environmental conservation, refugee ethics, health rights and so much more. We have members from diverse academic passions like engineering, public policy, pre-med, earth and ocean science, and program II. But what unites us is a passion to make a difference and a yearning to support each other through out.

2014 Slideshow

President Clinton discusses “Ubuntu”

President Obama’s Tribute to Nelson Mandala and the ideology of Ubuntu:

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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.