Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Sophomore Year

Baldwin Scholars live together on West Campus.  Participants may choose their own roommates or pair with another Scholar.  Baldwin Scholars also attend a bi-monthly meeting to discuss issues and projects. 



The #noapologies Campaign

by Noura Elsayed, Class of 2016 Baldwin


In 2015, the Baldwin Scholars initiated a campus campaign challenging women to embolden our presence: the way we speak, pose questions, occupy space, and use social media. Our mission was to foster productive dialogue about how we as women often diminish ourselves, perpetuating insecurity and undercutting our abilities.


To kick-off the campaign, we created flyers advertising the workshop series and a social media campaign to promote the #noapologies concept. Two sophomore Baldwins, Zarah Udwadia and Roma Sonik, photographed female faculty, staff and student leaders on campus. The women featured were asked to offer a piece of advice or inspiration to women on campus about how to take ownership and become leaders.  The social media campaign posted daily status updates urging women to take ownership of their lives. For instance, we asked women to reflect on their professional interactions when asking for letters of recommendation and also suggested that women reflect on the language they use in the classroom.


The campaign culminated in a Saturday morning workshop entitled The #noapologies Symposium. The event featured three workshops, #ownyourvoice, #ownyourrelationships and #ownyourcareer.  Participants could attend any two of the three workshops. The workshops were co-taught by Baldwins and a faculty/staff member with areas of expertise around one of the three topics presented.  Special thanks to Dr. Gary Glass from CAPS, Sanyin Siang from COLE, and Carolyn Gerber from the Office of the President for their involvement!


Despite the early morning start, almost 100 participants were present at The #noapologies Symposium.  The evaluations indicated that most attendees were pleased and will return to similar events held by Baldwin.


We all learned a lot from this campaign and to this day we still get “likes” on the #noapologies Facebook page. The campaign really seems to have had an impact on campus.  I even hear people saying #noapologies casually as part of their conversations!