As a new member of University College's SCR I have been given many opportunities to become more involved in University life at all levels. There are fantastic academic benefits - I was invited to speak in the College's Cutting Edge Lecture Series of talks, which drew a packed audience of all ages to the Senate Suite to listen to my current research. A wide range of speakers present throughout the year, and I had the privilege of dining with the International President of the World Wildlife Fund before her speech to an eager audience in the Great Hall. Being a member of a College also gives me a venue to host and impress would-be collaborators and students: from regular dinners with members of the JCR, MCR and SCR, to special events such as summer garden parties and the Christmas dinner, there are a range of social occasions to network and enjoy the wonderful setting of a Durham College.Tim Blower, SCR member at University College and Assistant Professor in the Department of Biosciences
As a collegiate university, our 16 colleges play an important role in enhancing the academic and personal development of our students.
The University’s colleges, in addition to their communities of undergraduate and postgraduate students, also have Senior Common Rooms or SCRs: self-organising communities of staff, postgraduate students, visiting scholars and others who meet for conversation, scholarly activities, meals, and entertainment, and use their experience and knowledge to help the students in their college in many ways – helping in the process to sustain the traditions and identity of each college.
By joining an SCR (or more than one), staff can become engaged in another side of University life beyond their department. They can make new friends and connections beyond immediate colleagues, across disciplines and even beyond the University. They can enjoy the artistic and sporting efforts of the students and the various multi- and interdisciplinary scholarly activities in each college, and build a strong and lasting connection with its community.
There are many avenues to engage with and contribute to college SCRs, ranging from dropping in for lunch, through attending or organising formal dinners, musical and dramatic performances, film screenings/discussions, research conversations and other college events, to taking leadership positions such as SCR President or becoming a personal mentor for students.
Staff joining an SCR will make new friends, build networks across the University, and become part of a welcoming community. They will also have a venue with plenty of individuality to entertain guests or visitors to the University!
Being a member of the SCR at St Cuth's has been incredibly rewarding. It has given me the chance to interact with undergraduates, postgraduates, academics from other departments and people from all walks of life in ways that I could never have imagined.The weekly formal dinners are a particularly good way of meeting new people, and you never know who you're going to sit next to or what connections you might make. Only last weekend I was at the Edinburgh Fringe watching a brilliant play written by a former Cuth's student. The next day she returned the favour and came to hear me speak at the Edinburgh Literary Festival. You never know what friends you are going to make or where your connections are going to take you, and that's the beauty of being a member of a Durham college.Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, SCR member at St Cuthbert’s Society and Assistant Professor in Medieval History and Literature