New Students

Welcome to the Nicholas School!  Although the entire Nickipedia is your guide to student life here, here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions, and some basic need-to-know info about the school.

  • Duke Transportation – What you need to know,.
  • How Do I Make an Appointment with Career Services?
  • How Do I Set Up a Meeting with Dean Townsend?
  • How do I get help with my computer?
  • How Do I Look Up Nicholas Alumni and Alumni Mentors?
  • Can I Bring My Dog to School?
  • Where is the Lost and Found?
  • How Do I Survive the Nicholas School?
  • Student Lounge Etiquette
  • Quiet Room Rules
  • Listserv and Mass Email Rules
  • How Do I Start a New Student Organization?

Duke Transportation Information

  • Biking – Planning on biking to school? Register as a bike commuter and get 2 free parking passes per month!
  • WeCar – Don’t have a car participate in the WeCar program and you can rent a car whenever you want, plus they’re plug-in electric!
  • Buses – Buses connect students from East to West campus, and all around the city.
  • Safe Ride – Getting late and still on campus? Just call up this service and they will drive you home from school, assuming you live within their range of service.

How Do I Make an Appointment with Career Services?

Karen, Rhonda, and the Career Services staff will be your dedicated career and internship counselors during your time here — not to mention for great conversations.  You should set up a meeting with either Karen or Rhonda (your preference — they’re both great!) early in your first semester, so they can get to know you and your interests.

To request an appointment, use the Duke Environment Career link :

Towards the left menu, select “Make an appointment” under the “I want to” option. Choose from the list of available time slots, fill out the requested information and you’re done!

Back to FAQ list

How Do I Set Up a Meeting with Dean Townsend?

Dean Townsend has an open door policy, but he is a busy person.  The best way is to make an appointment through Laura Turcotte in the Dean’s Office (email here)…

…ESPECIALLY if you’re making a business visit (you won’t be the first person to ask for money to fund a student event… and odds are that’s why you want to drop in for a visit…).  Keep your time efficient: 5-10 minutes tops.  Come prepared.  Don’t bother emailing too much detail ahead, although a super concise outline/memo (who, what, where, how much?) and a budget always helps.  Bring a printed copy too, since they don’t always have time to read.

Back to FAQ list

How do I get help with my computer?

  • If question is related to your NetID, NetID password, e-mail account, Web mail, wireless registration, VPN, Exchange, Blackboard or other Duke-wide resources:
  • If question is related to Nicholas network login, your Nicholas network data, your desktop computer, your local printer, Nicholas-provided software, or audiovisual equipment:
  • If you are at the Marine Lab:
    • E-mail
    • Call Office: 252-504-7599 or 252-732-5489 (mobile)
    • Visit 116 Bookhout

Back to FAQ list

How Do I Look Up Nicholas Alumni and Alumni Mentors?

The Nicholas School Alumni Database is under construction! In the meantime you can talk to Career Services about putting you in touch with alum in a particular city or industry. You can also expand your alumni network by joining the Nic School Linkedin group. Contact the Career Services Office to participate in the Alumni Career Advisor Program and get matched with an alum that can advise you on job search and interview strategies.

Alumni visit campus 2-3 times a year, usually for Nicholas School Alumni Council functions.  Some offer their time as mentors.  To request a list of mentors and get in touch with the Alumni Council, contact the current NSSC Alumni Council student rep.

Back to FAQ list

Can I Bring My Dog to School?

Aid dogs aside:

OUTDOORS:  We have a lot of socials and parties out in the lovely LSRC courtyard or out in Troy Couch Farm, and people always want to bring their pups to play and meet other pups.  Unofficially, we’ve never been told no, so enjoy it!  But just keep in mind that a) there are some people/cultures that do not like being around dogs, and one should be sensitive to those situations and leash up if they arise; and b) keep your four-legged friend out of food meant for two-legged folk, esp. at picnics when everyone has food on the ground.

INDOORS:  “Our building has no pet policy here… If someone brings a dog in and they bite someone and haven’t had their shots, it’s a liability… Even though dogs are precious, let’s leave them at home and if you happen to see someone in our building with a dog, please gently remind them that we have a no animal policy here or if you prefer, call or email [Anne Marie Davis, Dean’s Office].” — memo distributed 6/10/2009

Back to FAQ list

Where is the Lost and Found?

The Lost-and-Found Locker is located in the basement of Environment Hall, where the rest of the student lockers and mailboxes are located. The locker is always unlocked.

  • Please don’t use listservs (profstudents, etc.) to broadcast your lost/found item news!
  • In most cases, textbooks, flash drives, and notebooks are left alone where they were by others.  Always go back to that lab computer or lounge couch before you panic!
  • If you find an item that’s more valuable (jewelry, iPhone, etc.) that risks theft in the Locker, then please deliver to Anne Davis in the Dean’s Office on the 2nd Floor.
  • If you do suspect a theft, please notify the Dean’s Office immediately.

Back to FAQ list

How Do I Survive the Nicholas School?

You’ll work your tail off here, but there’s plenty of ways to have fun and stay sane too.

  • Sign-up for a class that has a great prof or on a topic you’re really interested in, even if it’s not your concentration/research.
  • Join a student group, and work at a community garden, local farm, or volunteer event.
  • Restore yourself in the outdoors and wilderness of North Carolina, and plan trips with your new friends and colleagues.
  • Catch a Duke Performance event — all student tickets are $5!
  • Don’t be afraid to visit the nice folks at Duke CAPS or various Campus Ministries.

…and many, many other tips sprinkled throughout Nickipedia.  Just remember, we’re all in this together!

Back to FAQ list

Student Area Etiquette

Environment Hall has ample space for students to lounge and hang out with friends during breaks on all floors. But please follow the following guidelines such that these areas are maintained (These guidelines are applicable to all floors)

  • Microwave:  Please clean up after yourselves after that nasty exploding soup or cheesy overflow.
  • Fridge:  Don’t forget to take all leftovers and containers home each week.  And don’t just stuff your whole lunchbox in the fridge — that really fills up the space.
  • Coffee Machine:  Empty out those grounds!  Take them home and compost if you want.
  • Plates and Silverware:  There is usually a set of reusable plates and plasticware in the cabinet.  Please don’t take off with them… wash well and return, please.  Feel free to donate to this stockpile, too.
  • Sink:  For goodness sake, don’t pour food bits down there.  There is NO disposal, and you’re just clogging things up. And please don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink!

Back to FAQ list

Quiet Room Rules

The Reading Room (2nd Floor Environment Hall) and the ACL (2nd Floor Computer Lab) are both quiet study spaces.

  • Please turn all phones to vibrate before entering.  Also, no talking or even light whispered conversations in these rooms — this just snowballs and pretty soon there’s a constant annoying buzz in the room, and it really pisses off people who are trying to study.  Take all conversations outside, please.
  • Feel free to tap someone on the shoulder to tell them about this rule.  Enforce your commons!

Back to FAQ list

Listserv and Mass Email Rules

If you feel use of a Nicholas Listserv is justified, then please…

  • Limit your speakers/event/meeting emails to two emails:  1) one announcing the event, and 2) one reminder the day before.  No more, no less.
  • Use the appropriate listserv by looking up on  Remember that “profjoint” is cross-listed with “profsecond”, so beware of sending duplicates.
  • Advertise it for 2 weeks max in the NicDig, by filling out this form:

Back to FAQ list

How Do I Start a New Student Organization?

Don’t see a student group that fits your interests? Start your own!

  • Find other students who are interested in your proposed group.
  • Find a faculty/staff advisor.
  • Affiliate with the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) using these instructions and obtain funding code.
  • Write group by-laws (see GPSC template).
  • Apply for funding through GPSC and the Nic School Student Council.
  • Create a group list serve and sign up for the grad leaders list serve