Spotlight on College Sport

Siobhan Gardiner

One of the unique parts of Durham University, that’s only shared with a handful of other universities in the UK, is the collegiate system. Each student is assigned a college where they are affiliated for their time at Durham. This has many benefits, such as individual college days, more personalised student support and the fact that each college having individual balls creates lots to go to. But for me, the largest perk of the collegiate system is college sport.

Compete at a level that suits you

In Durham, if you wish to take part in a sport, you can either do it as part of Team Durham, and partake in the sport at a University level, often competing against other universities around the country. Alternatively, you can do it at the collegiate level. College sport has so many overwhelming benefits that make it such a fun thing to be a part of! The majority of sports in college do not require trials to be part of the society (although there may be trials for specific teams) so often anyone can join the society and come to practices. This also often leads to ‘social members’ of the team, who may never play the sport in their time at Durham but will most definitely be found on a night out with the team! College sport is at a much less intense – and therefore often much cheaper! – level than Team Durham and makes it fun and easy to try new sports and activities!

Hild Bede Cheer in action (photo credit to Huw Thomas)

Hild Bede Cheer and Hild Bede Dance

In my time at the wonderful college of St Hild and St Bede, I have been part of Hild Bede Cheer and Hild Bede Dance, and they have definitely been the highlights of my time in Durham! Both have afforded me friends that I will carry past university and into the real world and some of my favourite memories from my time here.

Cheerleading was something I tried for the first time in my first year, and cannot get over what an excellent decision it was! My sister, who had attended Durham before me, had been on her college cheer team, so I made sure to seek it out at my college’s freshers’ fair and immediately fell in love with it. I proceeded to spend every year following as various positions on the executive committee and am so excited to be Captaining the team for my final year. With the intercollegiate competition to work towards each year, it’s a real team bonding exercise and I have made lifelong friends through it!

Building a new society

Due to the calm nature of college sport, I was able to be part of the initial group of people who wished to set up Hild Bede Dance – we saw a gap in the societies within Hild Bede and managed to create our own to suit our wants fairly easily! This lead to the birth of HBDS, where we specialise in “sass and good vibes” and welcome anyone along for a cheeky boogie on a Tuesday evening, no stress, strings or subs attached! As someone who had danced for the majority of their life, I loved having a space to do it with friends, learn new choreography and get to do a few performances throughout the year as well. Hild Bede Dance prides itself on being a chill, social space in a way that isn’t always attainable in Team Durham.

Try something new

If you’ve always wanted to try a new sport, want to get back into one you’ve done before or do something you love at a much lower stress and time commitment level, I cannot recommend college sport enough!

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Siobhan Gardiner

Hi! I’m Siobhan, a finalist studying Management and Marketing student at Hild Bede. In my time at Durham, I've taken part in Durham Student Theatre and Durham University Blood Donation Society whilst also enjoying being part of my college cheer and dance teams.

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