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DukeEngage Frequently Asked Questions

DukeEngage is a fully-funded eight-week summer experience for undergraduates. It empowers students to address critical human needs through immersive service, in the process transforming students, advancing the University’s educational mission, and providing meaningful assistance to communities in the U.S. and abroad.

DukeEngage enables partner organizations to work with students, faculty, and staff to create projects that serve community needs while providing full funding to students for these endeavors. Each summer, approximately 400 Duke undergraduates participate in either independent projects or group programs, with nearly a third serving within the United States.

The program launched in 2007, thanks to the generous support of The Duke Endowment and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. That initial funding — $15 million from each organization — created an endowment that continues to cover a significant portion of the program’s expenses each year. Duke University also contributes to the DukeEngage annual operating budget, as do generous donors and alumni.

Civic engagement is action undertaken at the request of a community partner that is designed to identify and address issues of public concern. This definition may incorporate everything from traditional service work to non-partisan political participation and includes both direct service — or “hands-on” work — and “capacity building” activities.

Students are eligible to participate in a wide variety of US-based and international group programs. Duke faculty, staff, or volunteer-sending organizations develop all DukeEngage programs. Alternatively, one may choose to collaborate with a community partner and a Duke faculty or staff mentor to develop an independent project.

When the program launched in 2007, Duke University made a commitment to financially support the program — and its participants. And we are proud to say that every eligible student can apply to and, if accepted, participate in DukeEngage without worrying about money.

Students doing independent projects will be funded based on the cost of living in their host community. All program-related expenses are covered for group programs. These may include: travel, meals and accommodations, vaccinations, visas, and incidentals.

Not only is the program fully funded for students (travel and living stipends are provided), but for those on need-based financial aid, Duke waives the “summer earnings” requirement so those participants don’t have to worry about making up for lost wages during their service placement. Contact the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support for more information about the summer earnings waiver.

We’re not exaggerating when we say that there is no other program like DukeEngage.

Each group program will have its own respective start and end dates that apply to participating students. Specific departure and return dates for each group program will be announced as soon as they are known. Start and end dates for independent projects are left to the discretion of the student and community partner. All experiences last eight consecutive weeks.

Ask a guiDE!

Have more questions? Want to ask a student who has participated in the program? Talk to one of the members of our DukeEngage guiDE group.

Click here for a list of guiDEs