Life at Butler

Ruby Palin

Why Josephine Butler College?

When I was considering which college to put down as my first choice, I was immediately drawn to Butler for two reasons. Firstly, on the more practical side of things, the facilities were just what I needed when I was starting my journey to living independently. 

My room

There are 4 blocks of flats at Butler (Kirknewton, Dilston, Milfield and Wooler). My room had a single bed, a spacious desk and an ensuite bathroom. I preferred having the comfort of my own bathroom initially. My biggest tip for incoming students is to make your room your own! When you arrive, your room is a blank canvas that you can completely change the vibe of by bringing your personality into it. I brought Polaroids, posters, fairy lights (battery operated), plants etc. to decorate my room. This helped me settle in as I knew I had a cosy, comforting space to go back to after a long day of lectures. 

My room, before and after


Butler is a self-catered college and each flat of 6 students shares one kitchen – I found that this was a great place to hang out, cook and chat with my flatmates. One of my favourite parts of our kitchen was our giant noticeboard. It became a sort of scrapbook of our first year at University as we covered it with photos, mementoes from experiences we’d shared together, birthday banners etc.


Butler has lots of other facilities for students including a music room, gym, sports hall, a library lounge… and I couldn’t forget our beloved college bar, JBs (which is one of the largest college bars in Durham!). JB’s is a great, multifunctional space. During the day some people choose to do some chilled study in there and in the evening, it becomes an exciting, lively space for social activities, quizzes and playing darts/pool. 

College sport

The second reason I chose Butler was that I loved the ‘vibe’ of college life – this might sound vague at first but let me explain myself.

Butler is a very lively, exciting college with so much to get involved in which makes meeting like-minded people a bit easier to do. In particular, I really love college sports. I learnt how to play lacrosse and volleyball for the first time when I started at Butler. I also joined my college’s netball team as I had played my whole life and wanted to continue at university (and I am now the A-team captain!).  We have weekly training sessions on the outdoor court at Butler and on a weekend, we play matches against other colleges. This year, our team was selected to play in the York University varsity competition – an amazing opportunity! 

For me, college sport is a great way to de-stress from assignments and laugh with new friends. There are so many different sports on offer at Butler that cater to complete beginners meaning that there is something for everyone! 

Other societies

But maybe sports aren’t really your thing. That’s totally okay as Butler also has lots of societies to join! To give you a taster of the societies at Butler here are some of the societies that my friends go to FemSoc (Feminist Society), Tabletop Games, AllotSoc (allotment society – we have our very own student allotment at Butler), Folk Band and Jazz Band.


Another aspect of college life I really enjoy is Formals. Formals at Butler are essentially an optional opportunity to get dressed up, have a nice formal meal and enjoy some entertainment (e.g. bands, Cèilidh dancing and food trucks) with your friends! My housemates and I go to formals every now and again to have some fun and see friends that we don’t get to see as often. 

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Ruby Palin

Hello! My name is Ruby. I am a second year BSc Biological Sciences student at Josephine Butler College. I really enjoy my course and find it incredibly interesting. Outside of my studies, I love having a laugh with my teammates while playing netball, volleyball and lacrosse.

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