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Giles and their Just Dance! Parties

By Phoebe Ducote, Class of 2025

Finding out that as an incoming Freshman at Duke you could not pick your roommate nor the residence hall you wanted to live in was a bummer in my eyes. During my last couple of months of high school, I was surrounded by peers who were on the hunt for their perfect match and spent countless hours meticulously searching through their respective school’s housing website comparing dorm sizes and location for what was soon to become their future home. I watched them with awe and jealousy, thinking that they were sure to have the best first year due to their input in their university’s housing system.

Thanks to Duke’s random roommate and housing assignments, people were placed in communities filled with a multitude of personalities that would have never come together or met one another without it. Ask any Giles resident and they would wholeheartedly agree with me; their common room has brought together long lasting friendships and a dysfunctional family of students that is envied by many and was not expected by any. Isha Uppalapati ’25 strengthened the bond between our group through what she loved and knew best: Just Dance!

Giles Residence Hall on Duke University’s East Campus

Firing up the Xbox she had decided to lend the common room for the year, Isha and a group of other Giles residents began to meet up on sporadic nights for dance battles and laughs. Although Giles is not my own dorm, it has become a second home to me — especially after Isha invited me over for a Just Dance Night. After a couple of duo rounds between us, people began to pop into the Giles Common Room with a simple statement, “You didn’t tell me tonight was a Just Dance party!” making sure to be counted in for the next round. Residents would come in for a break from their intense study sessions, a quick laugh, or to just get out of their dorm rooms. Isha says it best “Giles has the type of community where people walk in and go to the common room first, before going to their room”. Something as simple as a video game became a gateway for new friendships and meetups, where people began to look forward to dance breaks or just a place full of random conversations and community.

Giles residents, Isha and Jesse, hanging out in the Common Room

First year residence halls aim to foster friendships that will last long after our freshman year is over. With the new QuadEx system being put in place, it’s encouraged to truly become friends with those you see every day in your common room or on your way down the dorm stairs on the way to class. Thankfully, Giles is already ahead of the game — a common room and a video game brought this group of freshmen together in more ways than one. The Giles Residence Hall has become more than just a place that some call home, it’s a place where students are welcomed in with a fresh round of Just Dance and a family of lifelong friends!



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