Why I chose Stephenson
Stephenson (affectionately known as ‘Stevo’) is one of the ‘hill’ colleges at Durham. We are in a great location, just 15 minutes from the science site, and about 25 minutes to town. As we are out of the bustle of Durham centre, we are surrounded by nature – I’ve seen so many rabbits, deer and more outside of my bedroom window! For a great view, head to the top of the mound (which really is what it says) that lies right between us and Josephine Butler College, with whom we share a healthy rivalry.
I picked Stevo as I was interested in being self-catered and when I looked around on the Post-Offer Visit Day, I was impressed by the relaxed atmosphere and new-yet-characterful facilities. I felt really welcomed and a part of the community from the minute I was moved in by older students, who made the experience as stress-free as possible.
Shared spaces in college
The college facilities at Stevo are lovely. In our main building, Stephenson Central, we have our college café-bar, called Platform 1, and right next door is Platform 2, a space with a stage, pool table, an Xbox and table football. These spaces are really relaxed, and a great place to wind down with friends after you’re done with work for the day. Many events are held in Central throughout the year by our JCR (Junior Common Room) – we’ve celebrated Oktoberfest, Burns Night, St Patrick’s Day, and held a Christmas Party and a masquerade ball too! Each week, our college quiz society holds a relaxed quiz night, with great prizes to be won.
There is a college music room that you can book out to practise in. There’s a Steinway grand piano in college to practise on too.
We share a gym with Josephine Butler, which has plenty of equipment for both cardio and weight training, at a very reasonable price.
We also have a Multi-Use Games Area where lots of the college sports teams train.
Flats and catering
Stevo is a self-catered college, which was a selling point for me. Kitchens are a great space to socialise with friends and flatmates. It’s quite common amongst flats or friend groups to shop for food online together – it’s then delivered to a pickup point in college, which saves long walks laden down with shopping bags.
We have ensuite, paired-ensuite and shared bathroom accommodations available, and all rooms are single-occupancy – this was another reason that I chose Stephenson.
Formals and traditions
Stevo is not a gowned college, but we still have formals just like the other Durham colleges. They are a nice way to have a meal out with your friends at an affordable price.
Additionally, we host two types of semi-formal dinners. The first is Locomotion dinners, which usually have a specific theme, for example, Burns Night. We also host Connections Dinners, which invite guest speakers from a specific sector to sit on each table, inciting discussions between students and the speakers on future career paths and your interests.
Being at Stephenson gives you the opportunity to join one of the many college societies – there’s a wide range for anyone of any level to get involved in, from Debate Society to FemSoc (Feminist Soc), to football and swimming. This year, I have played the saxophone in our college Big Band, which has been great. If there’s a society that you want to see at college, then you can set one up!
Support is always available if you need it at Stevo. Trained student welfare officers hold drop-in sessions a few times a week to talk over any worries that you may have. We also have a staff welfare team on hand for further support.
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