All posts by Celine Kart

Handover 2019: In with the new

Last week, the roles were handed over to the new committees. The JCR Executive Committee, the Bar Committee, Wine Cellar, Charities Committee, Green Door and the Boat Club Executive Committee all dined on a formal to celebrate the occasion.

These committees are all student-lead and pivotal to the workings of college, influencing the movement St Chad’s moves in. Anyone can hust for these roles, and then they are voted upon, taking over from former position holders just in time for revision to start properly.

After a busy year, it was a relief for many to handover their roles, with many people taking on something new, and others freeing up their calendars in time to graduate and apply for extra-curricular events. The formal was, of course, well attended. Dr Masson gave a speech thanking the former execs for their hard work, and the night ended with toasts to all. The bell rang, and the gowns were exchanged between old and new JCR Presidents.

The changing of the gowns.

Josh Barker, our (now former) JCR President , stood and said ‘To Chad’s. We need to enjoy this place whilst we’re here’. With the room filled with students and academics of all ages and stages in their careers, these significant words resonated with us all.

 

St. Chad’s Day 2019

On the 2nd of March every year, something very special happens on North Bailey, Durham. Think green, think 8am, think pots, pans, whistles and tradition. Think St. Chad’s Day. If Chadsians needed a reason to enjoy their weekend during summative season, this is it. Filled with a tight itinerary, Chad’s day is a day which all can enjoy. There is only one dress code: green. The morning began by meeting just before 8am, a sea of green illuminating the Cassidy Quad. With everyone ready and the JCR President Josh sat on an elevated chair, hoisted by Boat Club blades and carried by strong students, the parade to all Bailey colleges with the intention of making as much noise as possible began. Hatfield, Castle, John’s, Cuth’s: we may be small, but we are mighty.

 

After the procession, Chadsians alike had breakfast in Moulsdale Hall; green milk included. At 10:30 came the unique Cathedral Service, with various performances. Afterwards gave an opportunity for Chad’s alumni to meet in the SCR for a catch up and a hot drink, before the Palace Green race at 12pm.

11:59am saw the gathering of Chadsians on the start line, ready to sprint around Palace Green on the first chime of 12. For what, you may wonder? The college mascot goat costume, of course. Despite scratches, scrapes and close-losses, the Keeper of the College Goat emerged. Quite a different climate from last year, Palace Green was not as icy this year!

After all the exercise and a college lunch, Chad’s day afternoon quietens off, allowing some respite for the afternoon and evening ahead.

The late afternoon was filled with various sporting events, including Men’s football and a win for Chad’s Women’s Hockey. Chadsians then made their way back from Maiden Castle to participate in and watch Chad’s Family Fortunes. Following that, the battle for Mr and Mrs Chad’s proceeded, with participants fulfilling various tasks to claim their title, with last year’s Mr and Mrs Chad’s presenting this year’s competition to spectators.

The day draws to a close, the headphones are charged, the bar is getting busier and the inflatables are set up. Chad’s annual silent disco is ready to begin. Chadsians dance the night away. Midnight hits, it’s been a long day, and Chadsians are ready for bed. An eventful, bright and fun-packed day, St. Chad’s Day 2019 is over, until next year; when we’ll do it all again.

St Chad’s Syrian Refugee Outreach Project

As part of a small St. Chad’s outreach project, each week, a small group of St. Chad’s students venture out to the nearby town of Chester-le-street on an evening to help a family of Syrian refugees with their English language skills. I am incredibly glad to say I am one of those students. We open the gate and walk up the path of a semi-detached house. We are always greeted with smiling faces. This is the home of Muhammad, Amna, who are parents to Ahmad (22), Salah (18) and Rania (17).

But this has not always been home. Over notes about pronunciation, Amna tells me of her childhood in Syria, how she met Muhammad (above) and how they got married. When the conflict worsened in Syria, the family moved to Jordan. Ahmad (below, right) shows me some of his writing: a letter to a friend back in Jordan, telling them of his new home in the UK. Muhammad and Ahmad were once manual labourers in Jordan.

Now, their days are filled with Muhammad volunteering at the local Re-f-use Cafe and Ahmad working in catering at the University. Salah tells me of his school days in Syria, explaining how much he prefers his lessons at Durham New College. ‘The teachers respect you as a student,’ he states. Rania has recently been moved into the top set for her classes, Amna tells me with a beaming smile. Amna (below) enjoys cooking, and often brings out home bakes made from middle-eastern recipes, which are always very sweet, and always very delicious.

The family are all so keen to learn. They bounce off each other, we all laugh, over mispronunciations, the complexities of tenses, cognates, and when to use ‘those’, ‘these’, ‘that’, and ‘this’.

Being an hour or two and plenty cups of middle-eastern tea, these evenings are always modest, simple and heartwarming. The family are always so grateful. St. Chad’s engages in several ongoing outreach and volunteering projects throughout the academic year; one of which takes us as far as South Africa. With the current, uncertain political and international environment, this project brings a personal element to wider issues. And, for that reason, amongst many, it is incredibly rewarding and most certainly feels like Chad’s is making a difference as part of a bigger picture.