In 1949, Duke students made national news with a boycott of campus buses. They declared October 17 "Shoe Leather Day" to protest a hike in the campus-bus fare from a nickel to three tokens for a quarter. Newspapers around the country ran the Associated Press story of Duke students carpooling and walking between East and West campuses to demonstrate against the fare increase.
Over the ensuing two weeks, student leaders met with representatives from Duke Power Company, which managed the bus service. Company officials were unmoved, and the higher fare remained. But the students' boycott had one significant positive effect, announced by a banner headline in The Chronicle: "School Spirit Skyrockets."
Today, the university runs free bus service between East, West, and Central campuses.
Taking it to the Streets
Selections from University Archives
June 1, 2005