The Opportunity of Now Event Series


"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are experiencing a critical moment in history - an opportunity to redefine and transform how we show up in the world. How can we learn from this moment so that we, and our neighboring communities, transform for the better? Are there ways we can experience this moment through a lens of possibility and curiosity rather than fear and anxiety? 

Each academic year - Duke Service-Learning chooses a theme to focus our work and to learn with and from our communities. We are designating our efforts in 2020-21 as The Opportunity of Now, inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

We hope you'll join us in the months ahead as faculty, students, and community partners reflect on the potential opportunities this challenging time may offer and enact strategies to engage in "vigorous and positive action." 


Thursday, 9/10, 10am to 12pm: Getting to Know Your New Hometown: Durham Then and Now. Movements often start in localized moments and getting proximal to the people in our local communities is at the heart of individual transformation and social change. Representatives from the Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs, the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social JusticeDuke Romance Studies, and North Carolina Central University discussed historical and present-day sites and issues of significance in Durham to support participants in connecting more deeply with Durham's past and present. A follow-up reflection roundtable was also convened on Thursday, September 17th. 

Wednesday, 10/7, 5pm to 6:30pm: Transformative Learning: Perspectives on Critical Engagement. We are experiencing a critical moment in history, replete with changes, challenges, and incredible opportunities to redefine how we want to show up in the world. How can we learn from this moment so that we are transformed for the better? What is transformative learning? How do we develop the necessary critical lens to engage in transformative learning? How can Duke build a culture that supports disrupting norms that are problematic? Join the Transformative Learning Intellectual Community and Duke Service-Learning for a discussion with Dr. Richard Kiely, Senior Fellow, Office of Engagement Initiatives at Cornell University, to explore these topics. Grounded in adult and intercultural learning theories, Kiely has extensively researched learning processes and outcomes related to community-engaged experiences. Register here.

Friday, 10/23, 11:30am to 1pm: Anti-Racist Education: Principles, Pedagogies, and Community Engagement. Join us for an interactive session with Ronda Taylor Bullock, Lead Curator of we-are (Working to Extend Anti-Racist Education), to learn about how the Durham-based organization is responding to anti-Black violence, as well as how service-learning and community-engaged faculty can infuse anti-racist principles and pedagogies into their community-engaged courses and partnerships. Register here.

Wednesday, 10/28, 4pm to 5:30pm: The Fierce Urgency of Now - A conversation about the moment, the movement, and student development with Dean Blackshear, Dean Smith, and Professor Malone. Is this a moment or a movement? Is “normal” something we want to return to – or even desirable now? This student-centered conversation will explore these questions through MLK’s framing of “the fierce urgency of now.” Students will critically examine how they see themselves, their dreams, their fears, and their passions in this moment. We will problematize what’s working at Duke in terms of the undergraduate experience, what is still in need of transformation, and the "vigorous and positive action" we can take to create an inclusive, equitable, and transformative learning experience for all Duke undergraduates. Register here.

Friday, 11/6, 11:30am to 1pm: A Conversation for Faculty Teaching Service-Learning and Community-Engaged Courses. Join Duke Service-Learning to pause and reflect on the election results, the Opportunity of Now event series, and your first full semester of virtual community engagement in SLCE courses. Invitation only.


Duke Service-Learning