ELI Alum Launches Duke-NCCU Reconciliation Project

Graduating senior, Jesse Huddleston, has taken great strides this year to move forward his own social enterprise, Project RECON.

Project RECON exists to strengthen community ties between Duke University and North Carolina Central University. Both schools are reknowned for their history, their dedication to strong academics and athletics. They are but 2.7 miles down the road from one another. And yet, most students at both Duke and NCCU know less than a handful of students from their neighboring university.

Saturday, April 17, 2010, Jesse took Project RECON to a new level by joining forces with administrators, students, and supporters from both Duke and NCCU to organize the Bull City Showdown–a basketball tournament held on NCCU’s campus in commemoration of the 1944 ‘Secret Game’ between NC College and Duke Navy Medical School. Almost 400 people attended the event.

Jesse’s efforts have been featured in numerous local newspapers and celebrated by supporters at Duke and NCCU. Project RECON was recently awarded a $3,000 ELI Promising Idea Grant, and after graduation Jesse will be living and working in Durham, continuing to drive forward the success of his work in the community.

Press release:

Duke senior Jesse Huddleston learned of The Secret Game about a year ago and was quickly inspired. Now, he is one of the student organizers of Saturday’s tournament, a daylong event attempting to bridge a divide – partly real, partly perceived – separating Durham’s two four-year universities…Cross-town student interaction is sporadic, and Huddleston, who grew up in Atlanta, wants more. He wants Duke students to get out of the comfortable bubble the university provides and look across town. They may just like what they see.

Duke and NCCU Students participate in the "Bull City Showdown". Photo by Jon Gardiner

Duke and NCCU Students participate in the “Bull City Showdown”. Photo by Jon Gardiner