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the booth

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Say the Thing is stationing Booths around campus so you can capture your own story, wrestle with hard questions, and question your own answers. Each Booth houses a touchscreen kiosk and when you move through the screens, you’ll be prompted to pick and respond to a timeless and tough life question. Your responses will be recorded and sent directly to your inbox.

What will arrive is a gem worth interrogating (and downloading as a keepsake and/or a time capsule). Were you surprised by what you said? Did your response include something a little unpredictable? What did you leave out? Do you want to try again? Want to track your transformation Billie Eilish style? (iykyk)

If you don't know...
Good! Because the Booth is always open, and your answer will always change.

Think of the Booth as a modern mirror, a chance for you to reflect on what matters to you and why, who you really are, and who you hope to become.

How does the Booth work?

The Booth is simple. Try and think of it as a modern mirror, a chance for you to reflect on what matters to you and why, who you really are, and who you hope to become.
Here’s what happens when you enter a Booth:

  • you will be asked to enter your name, NetID (if you don’t have one just enter 1234) and email so that your recording can be sent straight to your inbox;
  • you will be invited to read a legal agreement and to tap yes if you agree and are willing to proceed. Then you will have the opportunity to pick a door to reveal a story prompt;
  • your selected question prompt will appear, followed by a quote from a great thinker to help you get centered;
  • you’ll hit start and begin to respond when you’re ready. This is when the recording starts. Don’t worry about being polished, just say what comes to mind. You’ll have up to 2 minutes to record.
  • when you finish responding to a prompt, feel free to pick another door and complete another prompt or end your session.
  • when you’re done with the Booth you’ll click finished.

Your recording will be sent to your inbox. We encourage you to download and save your recording(s). If you need your recording resent, we can do that for the next 30 days, after which your recording is deleted from the system.

Are my Booth recordings private?

Your videos are for you. They are a story you tell about yourself to yourself for yourself. You can do with them what you please. Share recordings with friends or family to deepen reflection or keep it to yourself. Either way, do what’s best for you.

If you want to hold onto your reflection, track your transformation (like Billie Eillish with Vanity Fair), or share your recording, be sure to download it for yourself.

It is necessary for Duke to collect some information about you and to have your recordings for a short (30 day) period of time. Duke will not view your Booth recordings or share them with others. You can find details about the information we collect about you in this process, how and why we use it, and how long we keep it, on the Booth Privacy Notice here. We encourage you to read this before entering a Booth and to ask us any lingering questions.

I’m not a Duke student, faculty or staff - can I still use the Say the Thing Booth?

Yes! At the beginning of your session, you’ll be asked to enter your NETID. If you’re a guest on Duke’s campus and don’t have a NETID, just enter 1234. We believe that everyone can benefit from a little reflection and self-inquiry. :)

What do I do if the Booth isn’t working?

Shoot us an email ( or talk to a Chapel VRA. We will take care of the problem as best as we are able! And thank you for your patience.

How often can I visit a Booth?

We intend for the Booth to be available to the Duke community and others for years to come and we encourage you to return again and again. Respond to the same question (if it’s still there…yeah, we might switch up the questions on you because we’re playful like that) or respond to different questions. You can save your recording(s) so that you can return to them over time and reflect on what your responses in the past might tell you about yourself in the present or let them go! Do what’s best for you.

What is the Booth all about?

The Booth is just one part of Say the Thing, which is a broad portfolio of programs designed to center storytelling, moral agency, self-inquiry, ethical development, the meaning of life…all the things.

The Booth exists to provide the Duke community (students, faculty, staff, and guests) with an opportunity to privately ponder and answer timeless and challenging life questions. Your stories and answers are recorded and sent directly to your e-mail, so later on you can reevaluate, reinterpret, and if you want to revisit the Booth, reauthor your own answers.

While Say the Thing (and the Booth) was birthed by many brains, it was and is inspired by the philosophy of the Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman, godfather of the Civil Rights movement. Thurman once wrote, and Say the Thing fervent believes, “There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have.”

We built the Booth so you could literally hear your own genuine self. Feel welcome to visit the Booth once, or if you feel moved, visit the Booth again and again. The Booth is ready to help you encounter challenging questions and listen to the sound of your own tender, wise answers.

Say the Thing was created by and is offered by the Duke University Chapel and Duke Kenan Institute for Ethics, with financial support from the Duke Endowment.

What should I do with my story recordings?

The stories we tell ourselves matter. Watch yourself and listen to your answers. You can do this alone, or with trusted others if you choose. Were you surprised by what you said? Did your response include something a little unpredictable? What did you leave out? Do you want to try again? Go for it! There’s no limit on Booth visits.

There will be three Booths stationed around campus. The first Booth is positioned in Duke Chapel. Check out the Chapel website to verify when the Chapel is open and the Booth is ready and running. Soon other Booths will be installed around campus. Follow us on Instagram, or check back here for updates, including new Booth locations

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“When was the last time you heard yourself say something you never knew you knew?"

John O'Donahue

Take your story deeper.