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Durham University

Van Mildert College

Open Days 2020

A very warm welcome to our 'Virtual Open Days'! We were looking forward to welcoming you to Mildert in person but with this no longer being possible, we hope you will enjoy browsing these pages as you get to know more about our College and its diverse student community. Centred around a lake in a spacious grounds, we pride ourselves on being a value driven College with a strong community ethos based around the College motto, sic vos non vobis - this we do not for ourselves. This is the foundation for a College which welcomes everyone regardless of background and strives to ensure that opportunities are available for all. We hope that Mildert is the place for you!

While we can't meet in person this year, we have enjoyed putting together the below videos which we hope give you an insight into life at Van Mildert College. The video of Mildert from the air also provides a wonderful view of our lake and the surrounding accommodation blocks. If you look carefully you will even see Durham Cathedral in the distance! Our College magazine, The Mildertian, is published annually and also provides an overview of the many activities that have taken place in College over the course of the past year. We hope you enjoy reading The Mildertian which contains articles from staff and students!

A note from a recent graduate...

Out of those lucky enough to go to university, not many are lucky enough to experience a collegiate system like Durham’s, and especially not the one that Mildert provides. The boy that left school three years ago has been completely changed by the opportunities and support provided by students and staff alike at Van Mildert College.
The role of a university is to educate and prepare you for your future, however learning about yourself and those around you too far better prepares you than learning just about your subject. Every single sports team, outreach project, leadership opportunity, paid role, event team and committee that I have had the pleasure of working with over the past three years has helped me to do that, and each of these opportunities are due to the students and staff at Mildert. I just want to thank everyone that has given me these chances and support during my time at Mildert, and also everyone that I have had the privilege of working with and getting to know. Without you guys, many of whom won’t even know the impact you have had, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today. Not for yourselves is the college motto for a reason, and it is genuinely true of everyone I’ve met here. Hopefully I have been able to give something back to each of you as well.

Whilst I’m sad to be leaving, I couldn’t be more grateful for everything you guys have done to make my time at Durham as good as it was. Cheers Mildert, you’ve been the best.

Matthew Jones, 2019 Graduate and JCR Vice-President (Development)

Our strong College ethos is based on the College motto, sic vos non vobis, this we do not for ourselves. This ethos is reflected in the care we take of each other and our College estate, our care of the environment we live in, and in our outreach and volunteering in Durham City and the county. Indeed, our College is a place for everyone to be themselves regardless of background or experience. Our 'give it a go' approach means that Mildertians are encouraged to get involved and develop new skills. We are proud to have six student-led outreach projects at Van Mildert College which work across the city and wider region. As a student at Van Mildert College you will have the opportunity to participate in these projects and lead them. You can find out much more about our outreach and volunteering activities, which have received recognition at regional, national and international level, by watching the video below.

Student-led activities are at the heart of Van Mildert College. The Junior Common Room is the body of undergraduate students at Van Mildert College. It offers a wide range of clubs, societies and committees for its members to enjoy throughout year. More information about student life at Van Mildert College can be found here but, don't just take our word for it, have a look at what our students have to say below! You can also head over to the College's Facebook page and YouTube channel where further videos and content are available and being posted regularly!

Lucy Egan - JCR President 2020/21

Hi I’m Lucy! I have just finished my 3 years as a Liberal Arts student at Van Mildert and am staying on next year as JCR President. The JCR stands for Junior Common Room which is the undergraduate student body of the college, and is responsible for the majority of the wider student experience. What stands out to me so much about Durham is the breadth and depth of experiences you can have beyond your degree.

Van Mildert in particular does this very well! Student life here is vibrant and exciting, with endless opportunities on offer. It is an extremely well-rounded college. Perhaps best known for our six outreach projects, we also excel in the college sport leagues, have an amazing music scene, and hold some of the best events in Durham.

But above all, Mildert has such a uniquely diverse, inclusive, and giving spirit. This means that the college community is incredible, and it so quickly feels like home. No matter your interests, personality, or background, I can assure you that you will find a place here.

I am so excited that you are considering applying to Mildert, and very jealous that you have it all ahead of you!

Callum Morley - JCR Senior Freshers' Rep (Senior Frep) 2020/21

Hi! I’m Callum, i’m a second year historian at Van Mildert and have loved every minute I’ve had here. In my two years I’ve had the opportunity to meet such a range of people and do things what would have seemed so unbelievable if you had told me about them as a Fresher. Captaining my beloved VMAFC F team (despite my visibly limited skill set), working on Mildert Bar and helping to coordinate two different Freshers’ Weeks are the highlights, but it is the entire experience that I have enjoyed so much. While my third year may be my last, I’m convinced that this year will be the best so far. Being part of Van Mildert has been such a unique and positive experience for me and I would genuinely recommend it to anyone!

Alisa Anwar - JCR Vice-President (Welfare)

Mildert prides itself on inclusivity; they encourage us all to get involved regardless of our previous experience and offer something to interest everyone. As a result, over the last 4 years, I have actively delved into an array of activities such as learning how to waltz for college theatre productions, painting numerous banners for events and formals, leading Christmas pantos, and dancing for hours in the rain to welcome the new freshers; however, my main role has been to lead Mildert's student welfare system for the academic year 2019-20. Through these incredible experiences, not only have I formed life-long friendships and acquired invaluable life skills, but I have also grown in confidence, learnt to trust myself, and truly understood the importance of giving back to others.

Annie Timms - Director of the Young Persons Project

Being apart of the Van Mildert community for my three years at Durham has been an absolute pleasure. There are so many elements of Mildert that I love, one of which being Mildert’s various Outreach Projects. Outreach was a great way of allowing me to give back to the local community and help others. It has also allowed me to meet other like-minded people at Mildert from different years and different subjects, some of whom have become life-long friends of mine. Getting involved in such positive projects and meeting some amazing people through Outreach has been a highlight of my time at Durham.

Spencer Yasotharan - JCR Senior Freshers' Rep (Senior Frep) 2019/20

Coming to Van Mildert has been a completely transformative experience. The vast amount of student-led committees and societies that happen within our Junior Common Room (JCR) have meant that my confidence has grown, I've found interests I never knew I had, and I’ve made some amazing friends! Mildert is incredibly inclusive, and it has made my three years at Durham ridiculously fun.

Check out our blog posts written by current students!

Meet Jenny Pavitt who read English at Van Mildert College as she talks about 'What I really learnt at Durham'. Jenny will graduate this year!

Matthew McCullough is a Music student who recently directed Opera by the Lake with Sir Thomas Allen. Find out more about his experience here.

Ellie is a recent graduate who studied Geography. In this blog post she tells us about what Mildert means to her.


  • Team Mildert is consistently in the top three Colleges for sport in the Inter-collegiate League
  • Wide ranging opportunities for outreach and volunteering
  • Active peer and staff-led support networks along with student-led advocacy groups such as Fem Soc and Green Comm
  • Over 120 clubs, committees and societies within the JCR offering opportunities for leadership and participation
  • A strong track record in the arts (known as 'MildArts') which includes our very own theatre company 'Feather Theatre'

Getting involved...

It is our ambition that every Mildertian contributes to College life in at least one area (across the arts, music, sport and outreach and volunteering) and takes time to reflect on their participation. The diverse range of over 65 sports teams, clubs, committees and societies at Mildert ensures that there are opportunities for all. Our distinctive Dimensions programme offers opportunities for personal development around three themes - ‘Find your Future’, ‘Engage and Inspire’, and ‘Wellbeing and Community’ – supported by the expertise of our global alumni community. This is complemented by our programme of lectures, seminars and debates which are open to all and contribute to our active research community. College life at Mildert means getting involved regardless of your experience or skill – our ‘give it a go’ approach means that enthusiasm is all you need to try something new!

Dimensions student enrichment programme

Dimensions brings together some of our most illustrious alumnae/i together with friends and supporters of College to present a series of clinics, lectures and workshops across three broad themes: Engage and Inspire, Find your Future together with Wellbeing and Community. These themes reflect and align with our aim of promoting intellectual curiosity, a sense of belonging and responsibility and building personal effectiveness within the student community. These three key areas of Durham University’s wider student experience are the foundations for much for the broad-ranging activity taking place across the College.

Throughout the year Dimensions offers approximately 25 student enrichment events which seek to provide unique, challenging and genuinely interesting sessions with which students want to engage. While the Find your Future theme primarily offers opportunities to explore possible careers paths, the opportunity to speak with Mildertians with whom current students can relate as having been ‘in their shoes’ makes this distinct from the offering typically available through institution-wide careers fairs. Engage and Inspire is much broader and encompasses sessions which are motivational, inspiration or unusual. In the past this theme has included talks from a film producer, government officials, and a justice of the Supreme Court, and in the coming months we are looking forward to welcoming a speaker who has just rowed across the Atlantic to support the reduction of plastic in the oceans. Our final theme, Wellbeing and Community, has included sessions from Stonewall Scotland on community inclusion, the workplace equality index and the role of LGBTQ+ allies. Over the coming year we are also looking forward to welcoming speakers from across the UK to events running in conjunction with student societies such as Feminist Society, Talk and Support, Debate Society, International Society and Green Committee. Much more about Dimensions events can be found on our College Instagram page.

Intellectual curiosity

There is also a more scholarly aspect to College provided by lectures by visiting academics, talks and discussions in the SCR and by our College Fellows. These provide opportunities for inter-disciplinary discussion and debate with students and staff at all stages of their careers. There are also spaces for student presentations within a supportive yet intellectually challenging community. All of these activities along with those included within the Dimensions programme also contribute to the closely aligned and very recently launched Durham Inspired Award through which students can gain valuable recognition for their extra-curricular activities and the many contributions made to College life at Van Mildert.


JCR stands for Junior Common Room. It is the community of undergraduate students within the College as well as being a physical room. The JCR is run by students for students and provides a vast array of opportunities for its members to be involved with. Membership is via a levy which is paid at the beginning of your time in Durham. The JCR is headed up by the JCR Executive Committee and a JCR President who is a recent graduate. From sport, music and drama, to outreach, Green Comm, welfare and debating, the JCR offers hundreds of opportunities for participation and leadership every year and works collaboratively with College staff to make sure we all offer the best possible student experience for all Mildertians. Much more about the JCR, including a full list of the clubs, societies and committees on offer, can be found on their website here. Current students who are members of the JCR will be taking part in the Student Life at Van Mildert College live sessions on 13 and 17 July. We hope that you will be able to join us to find out more!


Van Mildert is a fully catered college centred around a beautiful lake. We are one of the largest Colleges of Durham University with over 1500 students. All of our accommodation is single occupancy and is located just a short walk from the City Centre. Our spacious estate offers plenty of opportunities for lively and ambitious events, while also providing a peaceful place for study and relaxation. Onsite facilities include music practice rooms and a recording studio, a recently refurbished bar and shop, excellent study space availability in our two libraries and nearby computer suite, a studentrun gym, and the largest dining hall in the University. Dedicated postgraduate-only study and social space is also available.

Throughout July we will be holding online sessions to give you a taste of student life at Van Mildert College and the opportunities that are available. The dates of these sessions are below and there will be two different sessions available. Do join us!

An introduction to Van Mildert College - this session will include a welcome from the Principal and Deputy Principal, an introduction to the enrichment and wellbeing opportunities at Mildert, an introduction to student life and a question and answer session. Dates - 10 July, 0900 BST and 27 July, 1400 BST.

Student life at Van Mildert College - this session will be hosted by the Student Experience Officer along with current students who will each provide short presentations about their areas of interest including sport, music, debating, Green Comm, MildARTs, theatre and outreach. Dates - 13 July, 1700 BST and 17 July, 1400 BST.

To join us for an online session, please visit the University's booking pages here.


Please do get in touch! The Deputy Principal, Dr Victoria Brown, along with the Assistant Principal, Student Experience Officer and Student Support Administrator will be very happy to answer any questions that you may have. They can be contacted by emailing However, if you enquiry relates to the University-wide admissions process the quickest way to receive a response is to visit We would like to politely note to Parents, Guardians and Schools that we are unable to discuss specific circumstances with a third party.