St Chad’s College Outreach
In the Tranquility of St Chad’s: Discovering Icelandia – a New Continent
Professor Gillian Foulger, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, Department of Earth Sciences
On Tuesday 10th March, St. Chad’s was lucky enough to host a talk by the general manager of the charity ‘A Way Out’. ‘A Way Out’ is based in Stockton and Middlesbrough, helping to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable women and young people. The talk focused on the fantastic work the charity does in the areas of substance misuse, survival sex work, homelessness and abuse.
This year, ‘A Way Out’ has been one of St. Chad’s charities of the year, alongside ‘Mind’. Our total fundraising so far this year has totalled over £2000 per charity. We hope to continue to raise funds for these vital charities during the rest of the year.
On the 7th March, St. Chad’s hosted the annual TEDxDurhamUniversity conference. The theme this year was “Make Your Mark” and featured a series of inspirational speakers and fantastic performances.
TEDxDurhamUniversity is a student run society which bring together bright minds in order to give and listen to “ideas worth spreading”. The aim of this year’s conference was to inspire students at Durham University to bring new ideas and innovations to all areas of their lives.
The speakers of this year’s event were a mixture of students and international figures: Sarah Mardini; Matt Unerman; Malin Anderson; Sarah De Carvalho; Gladys Kyotungire; Ediri Omonoseh and Adrian Bradshaw. Between them their experiences range from work in international development, humanitarian campaigns, climate change activism, the military and more. Each speaker brought their personal experiences to the TEDx stage in order to share advice, motivate and inspire students to follow in their footsteps, making their mark on the communities and world around them. The conference also featured a number of performances, including music, poetry and magic.
A number of St. Chad’s students were able to attend the event and we hope that all the students from St. Chad’s and the wider university community enjoyed the day and feel inspired to make their mark. If you were unable to attend the event, the talks will soon be uploaded to the TEDx YouTube page for everyone to watch.
What better way to start the day than to parade around Durham, dressed in vibrant green? The 29th of February saw to the greatest, most widely anticipated event of the year – St Chad’s Day. Despite being in the midst of summative season where stress is at an all-time high, this was a day where coursework ceased to exist for the weekend, and Chadsians could finally close their notebooks and shut their laptop lids.
On any other day of the year, it would be highly unusual to see people in the Quad at seven in the morning. However, on Chad’s Day you should expect nothing less than a sea of green and the sound of pots and pans, whistles, and chanting. Kicking off the day with a champagne reception and groovy tunes, it was not long until everyone was ready for the North Bailey’s wake up call.
As is tradition, the first order of business is to make as much noise as possible. For those living on the Bailey, there is no such thing as sleeping in on Chad’s Day. The parade made its way around Hatfield, Castle, John’s, and Cuth’s, where our JCR President Lucie Goddard competed with other presidents in the traditional JCR Presidents’ competition. Spectacular results were produced, with three victories under her belt. If St Chad’s is known for only one thing, it would be for our enthusiasm. This clearly showed as the noise did not die down until our group photo was taken in front of the Cathedral and we were ushered back inside.
Once everyone had filled themselves with a green-coloured breakfast, the College gathered in the Cathedral for the St Chad’s Day Service. We were fortunate enough to have the Archbishop of York deliver a speech, and for students from St Chad’s Primary School of Witton Park to perform their own ‘We will praise you’, based on the music by Brian May. Items reflective of College life were placed on the altar, which included a frisbee, a shovel, a stuffed penguin toy, and a beer keg.
At the first chime of 12, Chadsians began their conquest for the title of Keeper of the Goat. Alexander Royce emerged victorious. He now has the honour of dressing as the College mascot – the goat – next year.
The quiet afternoon often gives people a chance to take a quick nap or grab a bite to eat. But this was soon disrupted with the powder paint party filling the garden with neon green, a chance to bask in the sun which had miraculously appeared after days of miserable, rainy weather.
The evening festivities entailed Family Fortunes, Take Me Out, and Mr & Mrs Chad’s all taking place in the Quad. Congratulations to Harry Scott and Hala Heenan for taking the title of Mr and Mrs Chad’s 2020! The rest of the night was filled with inflatables, pizza, and a silent disco. Rolling into the early hours of the morning, it was unsurprising to see a low turnout at college brunch the next day.
At St. Chad’s College we have a wide variety of outreach opportunities. These range from our work with Age UK to re-painting sheltered accommodation on behalf of a local homelessness charity, DASH.
This week a group of Chad’s students went to Chester-le-Street to visit a Syrian family. They came to England as refugees and Chad’s students have been volunteering with them since 2018. The bi-weekly volunteering sessions involve English tutoring, conversation practice and general cultural exchange. It also regularly includes delicious meals, such as awamat, a type of Lebanese doughnut, which were enjoyed this week.
We look forward to upcoming volunteering events this term, including the termly Age UK tea party held at St. Chad’s, our joint programme with St. John’s College at Finchale Primary School, further volunteering in Chester-le-Street and volunteering at Age UK coffee mornings.
Last night, St Chad’s celebrated the biggest night of the year Candlemas 63, as organised by the wonderful committee. This years theme was “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” with decorations being prepared all week celebrating different movies and pop culture related to Hollywood.
The evening begun with the meal, with ents opening around college later in the evening ranging from a casino room, ball pit, silent disco, karaoke to a movie room alongside the bar and a food stand.
Thank you to the Candlemas Committee for all their hard work organising a wonderful evening enjoyed by all and, to all college staff whom helped on the evening and before and after. Additionally, the St John’s College Welfare team and St Johns Ambulance for being present and ready to provide assistance if necessary.
Last night, St Chad’s held the first in our Global Perspectives Series, “China and the World”. A very informative and thought-provoking first session on “Environmental Sustainability in China” was introduced by Chad’s postgraduate student Dewi Humphreys.
The debate and conversation that followed was lively and constructive, enriched by the diversity of a group that included members of all three common rooms – JCR, MCR and SCR – and students from China, the UK and a number of other countries around the globe.
“It was such an informative and inspiring event,” wrote one Chad’s student afterwards: “I have never looked into environmental issue from such a global perspective. I look forward to the next two sessions.”
The next session is on January 29th and will be looking at the theme of “China and the State: History, Ideology and Lived Experience.”
Last night, St. Chad’s celebrated its own Burns Night, a tradition celebrated across the world to honour the life and work of Scottish poet and icon, Robert Burns.
The formal featured Freddie Bearn on the bagpipes, the Address to the Haggis recited by Alex Milne, the Address to the Lassies from Sean Gallagher Gill, the Reply to the Laddies by Emilia Hopple and the Immortal Memory by Evie Oliver. The meal was then followed by a ceilidh. Well done to everyone who took part.
This term saw the establishment of the St. Chad’s College Allotment. A group of hardworking students have begun transforming the Langford House garden into a space to grow plants for the whole college.
However, their most recent work has not been in Chad’s but rather in the local community. After being contacted by a local councillor about an elderly gentleman who has had an allotment in Burnhope for over fifty years which he was now at risk of losing, a group of wonderful students from St. Chad’s alongside the local councillor spent the day working hard in order to help him retain it. They spent the day digging over the soil of the whole allotment, which the gentleman had been unable to do for some time, so that he will once again be able to grow vegetables. They also cleared a lot of detritus from around the allotment so it was a lot tidier, safer and easier to use.
After a day of very hard work in sub-zero temperatures, they managed to get done most of what the council needed to be achieved. The next day, the students were informed the eviction notice had been revoked and the allotment had been saved.
We would like to say congratulations to all the students who were involved, you have made the entire college very proud. We look forward to seeing what our own allotment will bring in the new year!