We are here to make sure you have the best possible time in Durham. Here is what we have achieved for students during the Epiphany term:
• We held an Activities Fair to offer students a second opportunity to sign up to a range of societies and student groups.
• We officially opened the Riverside Bar & Café, providing a space for student groups to host live entertainment and social evenings on an on-going basis.
• Three open meetings were held to discuss student ideas. Students came along to give their opinions on residence charges, years abroad, and ways in which the Union can improve what we offer to Queen’s Campus students.
• DUCK invited Jack Whitehall from Fresh Meat to take part in DUCK’s Tricycle race on Palace Green. This was filmed by the BBC for Comic Relief.
• We now publish society activities and events on our website on a weekly basis.
• As part of Student Money Week we held three sessions to offer advice and information to help students make the most of their money.
• Events and activities were held across the University as part of One World Week to raise awareness of gender and sexual identity, disabilities and international identity.
• Over £10,000 was raised for local homeless charity Moving On through DUCK’s Cathedral Sleepout 2013.
• Postgrads told us that they didn’t know how to find housing when they arrived in Durham so we have secured an ‘accommodation desk’ to now be a regular part of Induction week.
• We have worked to ensure that as much student parking as possible is protected for societies, sports teams and common rooms.
• We have been working with and supporting JCRs to ensure that the DSO framework is working for them.
• 4379 students voted in the Student Leadership Race and five new student officers were elected to lead Durham Students’ Union from 1 July 2013. We provided training to all candidates, and held two question and answer sessions for students to attend.
• Hundreds of students have participated in a range of activities through DUCK including skydives, shark dives, half marathons, and RAG raids up and down the country supporting local, national and international charities including Help for Heroes, St Cuthbert’s Hospice, Blind Life in Durham and WaterAid.
• We are running the Durham Students’ Union Awards to give students the opportunity to recognise lecturers and University staff who go above and beyond their duties. Shortlisted nominees will be invited to attend our Annual Awards Dinner on 19 June.
• We have produced a revision time-table and exam survival guide in partnership with the library to offer advice and support to students during this stressful period.
• 111 students participated in this year’s ‘Tough Guy’ Challenge through DUCK raising over £25,000 for a range of charities. Incoming Development Officer Chris Pocock achieved 32nd place out of 3711 participants. Incoming Activities Officer Krystina Warrington vowed to take part in ‘Tough Guy’ 2014 if elected, and we wish her lots of luck with this!
• Love was in the air as DUCK set students up on Blind Dates, raising £1500 for worthwhile causes, and DUCK were awarded best RAG at the Manchester Breast Cancer Campaign Mega raid.
• We have commissioned research through NUS into accommodation costs and the cost of living in Durham.
Here is what we did last (Michaelmas) term:
• We commenced a three year strategic plan with a new vision of: ‘students working together to create a lasting, positive impact.
• Over 4000 students attended Durham Students’ Union Fair over two days at the start of term.
• We held 3 Societies’ Showcase afternoons to offer students a second chance to sign up to any societies they had missed at the Fair.
• 1500 students attended our Freshers’ Ball headlined by Pendulum DJ Set and Verse.
• We recruited 500 course representatives to provide a vital link between students and staff ensuring that the student voice is heard and that the university is student driven.
• We provided training for course representatives and faculty representatives to provide insight into the wider landscape of higher education. We provided an NUS trainer to specifically address the needs of postgraduate representatives.
• We have totally changed our democratic system. The first Students’ Union Assembly took place on 7 November with a membership far more representative of the student body.
• DUCK awarded over £40,000 to five local charities. Fundraising events continued throughout term with a team sent to do the Helvellyn 10km and the Cambridge ‘Zombie Run’. DUCK co-ordinated the student poppy appeal; raised Pennies for Pudsey and had students growing their facial hair for Movember.
• ‘Think Twice Week’ challenged assumptions and facilitated learning about sexual health; alcohol awareness and mental health through a week of College based events and activities.
• We joined students from across the country at the NUS National DEMO in London to get people thinking again about the problems that students face, and reminded the public that we are still here!
• We have held three open meetings to discuss student ideas. Students came along to give their opinions on the University careers services; the Union’s election process and College Sports. The results of which will be used to inform what we work on over coming months.
• We have supported a national survey of postgraduate students who teach at universities from which we will receive Durham specific date to act upon.
• Two Expeditions Fairs were held and as a result over 100 students will be sent on projects abroad from climbing Kilimanjaro; working in schools in India to orphanages in Romania.
• The ballroom floor in Dunelm House has been re-laid which benefiting a range of societies who use the space; and the Kingsgate bar has been decorated to provide more social space for students to use.
• We have refurbished and re-opened Riverside Café. The bar will fully open in the new year complemented by a full programme of student entertainment.
• In partnership with the college common rooms, we have ran a successful inter-collegiate University Challenge competition between the 16 Durham colleges.
Much of the work undertaken by the officers has been a direct result of student feedback. Over 5,000 students completed the Durham Student Experience Survey in 2012 which was a joint project between the Union and the University. In response to this the Union has changed its democratic structures and made the affiliation process for societies easier. You can read more about the survey results here.
You can read more about Durham Students’ Union’s Strategic Plan which sets out our new vision and mission here.