Careers & Alumni officer Cormac Frazer last Monday, 13th February, facilitated a discussion amongst members of St Chad’s College with Durham City MP, Roberta Blackman-Woods.
The session saw Roberta sharing her experiences in Parliament with those in attendance, and was followed by a Question & Answer session. The event saw members of all three undergraduate years asking pertinent questions, ranging from public communications to homelessness and from community action to the role of civil society in shaping public policy.
Roberta tweeted afterwards:
Glad to demystify role of an MP with great group of @StChadsDurham students this evening. Hope now have better understanding of work MPs do!
On Tuesday 31st January and Wednesday 1st February, members of St Chad’s Governing Body gathered together for an away day on its ten-year strategy, which built on consultative work that had taken place in the common rooms on the general themes and perspectives to be included in this plan.
The two days saw members of the Governing Body undertaking a variety of different tasks to orientate and collaborate thinking on the College’s strategy, including building the College out of Lego (pictured, see below for annotations)!
The strategy will shape how decisions will be made over the next decade in the College’s life, including issues such as environment, student life, and widening participation, which was identified as a key priority. Discussions also featured consideration of wider community, which includes College alumni. Alumni will also have a chance to make their views heard at events, in discussion with Dr Margaret Masson, our Principal.
Three students, Jack Angers (JCR Senior Man), Elizabeth Hoyt (MCR President), and Craig Bateman (JCR Governing Body Representative) were also in attendance to voice student opinions.
St Chad’s College hosted its termly ‘Question Time’ evening on Thursday, 24th November.
Styled on the BBC’s Question Time programme, Conor Fegan took over David Dimbleby’s role as chairperson. Conor introduced each panellist, a cross-representation of the common rooms. These included the SCR’s Baroness Maeve Sherlock, and the JCR’s Michael Aspin, Dom Birch, Jess Frieze, and Josh Barker.
Throughout the evening, panellists were quizzed on a range of issues. The provision of port and cream-crackers got the audience’s creative juices flowing!
On a second EU referendum, the panel argued in favour of popular sovereignty, although there was also an acknowledgement that it’s going to take more than two years to negotiate Brexit.
Addressing whether the election of Donald Trump in America signals that we are living in a post-factual age, Josh urged the audience to “debate” views which seemed to be different from theirs. Baroness Sherlock argued that we must have “mechanism to distinguish” between fact and fiction, whilst Michael defended pluralism and democracy. Dom spoke about the emotions involved in politics and Jess said it’s wrong to simply shout back.
On the issue of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the panel agreed that a healthy democracy requires an effective opposition.
The evening provided a thoughtful, intellectual, and dynamic dialogue. We wait to see what next term’s event holds in store.
St. Chad’s College Green Door Theatre company held its debut fresher’s showcase on Sunday, 9th October.
The event introduced fresher’s to the theatre group, and displayed the range of musical, poetic, artistic, and comical talent the JCR has to offer. The successful evening was reflected in its high attendance – a cheerful number for its first show of the year.
The evening began with a melody by the college’s Chazz Band, which finished with their iconic rendition of ‘County Roads’, a college classic! The audience were serenaded by Wales’ pride, Dewi. Jess, Hilaire, and Craig recited poetry. Griff and Harry performed sensationally on the piano, and Cormac acted out a Spike Milligan classic. David, Alex, and Fergus performed compelling monologues. Izzie and Milly respectively gave phenomenal performances on the pole and violin.
Green Door’s President, Christie Clark hosted the evening, introduced each act, and mentioned a little about their college presence. They had a successful fresher’s fair uptake, but are always continuously looking for new members. You can view their page at www.facebook.com/GreenDoorTC.
Green Door will next bring to the stage Tim Firth’s ‘Flint Street Nativity’. Interviews open 17th October.
One of the events which dominated St. Chad’s during Epiphany Term was the Junior Common Room (JCR) Elections.
The election season began on 15th February with the hustings for Senior Man and Bar President, and concluded on 13th March, with the hustings for the Officer’s Committee, which includes the Careers and Alumni Officer, the Sponsorship Office, the Outreach Officer, and Governing Body Representative.
With compulsory jokes, and impersonations of the outgoing office-holder in each of the hustings, the month of democracy was accompanied by the occasional opportunity for much-welcomed light-hearted humour.
The month of elections also saw the opportunity for members of the Junior Common Room to engage with the democratic process, whether standing for positions themselves, proposing others for positions, or seconding nominations.
PressComm has exclusively spoken with new Senior Man, Jack Angers, to gauge his views on the process, which he described as both “incredibly rewarding and quite exhausting”. Speaking about his election, he told us that he thought that it was “an honour” and that he “cannot wait to start the job”. In elaboration, Jack told us that: “standing in front of your peers to demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the role is a great experience but certainly a long one.” He also claimed how it is a “pleasure to see so many first year’s going for positions.” He concluded, saying that; “Chad’s is lucky to have a group wanting to get so involved in college life.”
The elections also gave Chadsians the opportunity to propose, and second, fellow Chadsians.
First year psychologist, Charlotte Hall, who also took part in the elections by seconding one of the candidates, has also spoken with PressComm. Charlotte told us; “as a fresher I think it’s easy to forget that the JCR is made up of elected representatives, so I think it was really important that so many of us got involved with the elections, whether that was by standing, seconding someone, or just turning up to husts”.
Cormac Frazer, who is a languages student and stood for Careers and Alumni Officer in the elections, told us that the role is “an important but potentially overlooked one”. Cormac said that he looks forward to continuing the work that has been done over the last year.
As of Monday, the newly-elected Executive Committee, and JCR Officers, have taken office.