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Durham University

Colleges & wider student experience

Student news

Sprouting across Durham

(19 December 2019)

Few would dispute that Durham is a pretty magical place to be at Christmas. The Cathedral spire, cobbled streets, and the winding River Wear with its wooded banks are perfectly befitting of a Christmas card, especially if we get that longed for smattering of snow!

Whilst term officially ended last week, and most students have now headed home for the festive period, many will already feel that they’ve already enjoyed a full Christmas experience here at Durham.

Nowhere is this more evident than in our College kitchens where Christmas officially started as early as 25 November.

Whilst we regularly celebrate the strength of our research, or the academic and sporting successes of our students, little is said about what really fuels all these efforts. The truth is, no one performs well on an empty stomach.

Luckily we have an impressive catering operation here at Durham, churning out meal after meal and keeping the cogs turning across the University. This is never more important than in the build up to Christmas.

In our Colleges, students will have eaten nearly 3000 Christmas dinners with all the trimmings before they head home for Christmas on the 13 December. On top of this, over 3000 mince pies will have been served to hungry students, staff and guests!

Thankfully our students also balanced out their feasting with a healthy dose of greens! In total, students consumed 452 kilos of Brussels sprouts, equating to approximately 45200 sprouts. This means that if you lined all the sprouts up in a line they would stretch for nearly 1.5km from Van Mildert College to Durham Cathedral!*

Twelve of the Colleges at Durham offer catering, some of these also held traditional College formal dinners as part of their festive celebrations. Each of our Colleges, whether catered or self-catered, has a unique identity and offers students a tight-knit, diverse and life-long community.

Christmas is just one of the many ways that we celebrate our College communities, with countless festivities, sporting events, societies and social events taking place across the calendar year, and continuing even after our students graduate.

With all this in mind, best not over-boil those Brussels.


*452kg of sprouts were ordered between 25th November and 17th December. Calculations based on each sprout weighing 10g, and measuring 3cm diameter.

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Find out more about our Colleges

Read more about their different catering options available within our Colleges here.