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March kicks off with two big events in the first week: a national conference on redistricting and a student-focused workshop on running for elected office. We’re also continuing our biweekly Wake to Fritz breakfast series, which you can read about below.

Redistricting Reform: Mapping Our Future 

POLIS has been involved heavily in the quest for a bipartisan solution to gerrymandering.  Sanford Distinguished Fellow Tom Ross has led the “Beyond Gerrymandering” project for more than a year.  Tom is now primarily located in New York, where he is president of the Volcker Alliance, but continues as a fellow to lead POLIS’s redistricting reform efforts.  For example, through Tom’s leadership, we are collaborating with notable Republican and Democratic leaders in North Carolina to re-examine redistricting reform.  On a parallel track, a team of Duke students are researching bipartisan reform models through POLIS Director Fritz Mayer’s Democracy Lab class.

During the past five months, POLIS has been working with national nonpartisan organization Common Cause to plan a two-day conference at the Sanford School entitled “Redistricting Reform: Mapping Our Future.”  Featuring speakers and guests across the ideological spectrum, this week’s conference reflects POLIS’s commitment to promoting cross-party dialogue and politically viable solutions.

Empowering Duke Women to Run for Elected Office

Running Start, a nonpartisan national organization that trains women on how to run for elected office, will be on Duke’s campus this Sunday to lead a half-day workshop for female Duke students.  Co-chaired by two Republican and two Democratic members of Congress, Running Start leads similar trainings not only on campuses across the country, but also in communities where women want to learn how to run for local, state, and national positions.

Sponsored by POLIS, and in collaboration with Duke Assistant Professor Deondra Rose, the Running Start training will give Duke women tools to nurture their leadership abilities and achieve greater civic and political influence both on campus (student government) and post-graduation (local, state, and federal positions).  Led by Running Start’s founder Susannah Wellford, the interactive workshop will feature insights from Union County Board of Education member Leslie Boyd and Duke Student Government President Tara Bansal.

Women are severely underrepresented nationally (comprising less than 20% of Congress), as well as in the North Carolina State Legislature (below the national average).  Within Duke’s student government, women comprise 45% of the executive board, 43% of the Senate, and 33% of the cabinet.  This training is one of many programs in which Duke—through POLIS and other nonpartisan centers—seeks to empower its students.

The Chronicle recently ran a story about the workshop, which you can read here.

Wake to Fritz

Initiated this spring, the biweekly Wake to Fritz captures the essence of the long-ago “Terry’s Breakfasts.”  All Duke students are invited to join Fritz for coffee, bagels, and political conversation.  Fritz sometimes brings in guest faculty to augment the political discussion. Our next Wake to Fritz event is Tuesday, March 7, at 9:15am in Sanford 201.

To learn more about these events or other POLIS happenings, or to offer feedback, feel free to contact us anytime.


Frederick “Fritz” Mayer

B.J. Rudell

Joel Luther

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