1. Meet like-minded friends at over
      250 societies.
    2. Hundreds of organised events and activities to choose from.
    3. Be welcomed into a ready-made
      peer support group.
    4. Got a good idea? We've got the resources to make it happen.
    1. Free confidential advice about your student rights.
    2. Seize the opportunity to make a difference in the world.
    3. Be heard, and help improve
      the University.
    4. Enjoy fairly-priced products and services that directly fund student activities.

Durham SU exists for a purpose: we’re the champion of every Durham student. We’re interested in the things that matter to you and in helping make them possible.

Every year, students throughout Durham vote for the next Durham SU Officer team. The elected Officers represent the interests of Durham students, making change for the better. The five faces below are your current Officers. Throughout the next year they'll be working on their chosen objectives, as well as projects mandated by other students.

Durham SU also has many other functions. We have a Bar and Café with the cheapest Starbucks in Durham, a wide range of drinks, and space to study or socialise. We are also home to over 250 student groups, including everything from the Hummus Society to student media. If you need a helping hand while at Durham, our Advice Service is there for you, offering independent support and resources across a variety of issues.

George Walker
David Evans
Meg Haskins
Charlie Walker
Saul Cahill

George Walker, SU President

What was your favourite thing about Freshers’?

My favourite thing about Freshers’ was being able to meet a huge range of people from around the UK and the world with a range of different backgrounds and experiences to share. I also really enjoyed being able to try out the new and varied activities Durham has to offer.

If you could do Freshers’ again, what would you do differently?

Be less afraid of getting involved in lots of different things from the start, you can always try out different societies and activities before you decide what you most enjoy and you never know what new hobby you might find!

What one item do you suggest freshers bring to Durham that they might not think of?

Bring some things to decorate your new room – it can really help to make you feel comfortable and at home.

Any final words of advice?

Get involved and try out opportunities that interest you but don’t panic if you don’t have a perfect first week. It can take people time to settle in and you have another several more years to meet friends and discover what you enjoy most – Freshers’ week is just the start of a long University journey!

Got more questions for George? Email him on su.president@durham.ac.uk

David Evans, PG Academic Officer

What was your favourite thing about starting your postgraduate studies?

Having gone straight into an office job after my first degree, I really missed the freedom of intellectual curiosity available to me at University. Starting a postgraduate degree allowed me to rediscover that, and to be surrounded by people who value knowledge for its own sake too. Also, perhaps more so than as an undergraduate, fellow postgraduates have a wider variety of backgrounds prior to starting their studies, and it’s been interesting to learn from so many new and differing life experiences.

If you could do your first year as a postgraduate again, what would you do differently?

I once joked that my greatest achievement in the first year of my PhD was to bring the quiz machine back to my college's bar, deflecting away from the fact I felt I hadn't achieved much in my research that first year. I now realise my perceived lack of progress should not have worried me so much, and in fact as a new researcher it's far more important to understand the background to your research area and devise what you want from the project in the first year, to set yourself up for the remainder of your research.

What one item do you suggest postgraduates bring to Durham that they might not think of?

Tricky – throughout my PhD I've lived and worked with students from a variety of countries who I didn't know before arriving, and one thing that's always gotten introductions off to a good start is food! So, particularly if you're living in college accommodation or otherwise haven't met the people you'll be living with before coming to Durham, bringing your favourite snack to share with your new housemates might be the slightly unusual recommendation I make!

Any final words of advice for new postgraduates?

There's a strong temptation to focus solely on your studies as a postgraduate, especially if you're only here for one year as a taught postgraduate student. But, frankly, academia alone is not what sets Durham apart as a world-class institution – it’s the huge variety of opportunities in the Students' Union, your college and other sporting and volunteering activities that bestow it that accolade. Those opportunities are not just there for undergraduates, even if people sometimes act like they are, so do get the best out of Durham and get involved in something outside of your degree.

Got more questions for David? Email him on su.pgacademic@durham.ac.uk

Meg Haskins, Welfare and Liberation Officer

What was your favourite thing about Freshers’?

My favourite thing about Freshers’ was just how many opportunities there were to do things that I was genuinely interested in and hadn’t had the time/chance to do before. Though it can definitely be daunting just how much there is to choose from (especially in Freshers’ week itself when there’s already so much going on), it was taking those opportunities within my JCR and the Students’ Union which led me to meet some of my closest friends, build my own confidence and make the most out of my time here!

If you could do Freshers’ again, what would you do differently?

Probably take a bit more time out for myself. There was always so much going on and I was so keen to keep up with everything that I ended up letting myself get quite ill and run down. I’d tell little fresher me now that it’s okay to have a bit more time to yourself and that when you’re ill with a temperature it’s probably best you don’t keep going out.

What one item do you suggest freshers bring to Durham that they might not think of?

If you’re not prone to spilling things you can probably leave this one off your list, but I’m a huge advocate of Vanish Powerfoam carpet spray – the one which goes super foamy and then you scrub – for those accidental carpet stains. It literally does work miracles and I won’t have a word said against it. I’m also a fan of nice smelling reed diffusers as they make any student room a more pleasant environment in my experience.

Got more questions for Meg? Email her on su.welflib@durham.ac.uk

Charlie Walker, Opportunities Officer

What was your favourite thing about Freshers'?

My favourite thing was meeting everyone in college. My college was small, so you knew most people by the end of the first week, which made the place feel like home to me.

If you could do Freshers’ again, what would you do differently?

Take more time for myself to relax or do the activity I wanted rather than the one I thought other people wanted me to do.

What one item do you suggest freshers bring to Durham that they might not think of?

Tea is not only a great way to start the day but a great way to make friends in the kitchen. Yorkshire Tea is best. Just don’t steal anyone else’s milk.

Any final words of advice?

The countryside is always closer than you think in Durham. Flass Vale, Aykley Woods, and Pelaw Wood are all worth visiting if you want to get outside of the ‘bubble’ for a while.

Got more questions for Charlie? Email him on su.opportunities@durham.ac.uk

Saul Cahill, UG Academic Officer

What was your favourite thing about Freshers’?

Getting to know Durham city better! Durham is a beautiful historic city with a unique character. Finding strange little side streets, exploring some of Durham’s many teashops and visiting the Cathedral for matriculation were all highlights of my week. Getting to know the city really helped me to appreciate how lucky I was to be able to call Durham my home for the next three years (and beyond!).

If you could do Freshers’ again, what would you do differently?

I’d make sure to mix with people studying my course within my college. While I made friends in Freshers’ Week who I’ve stayed in touch with to this day, I really struggled in the first few weeks after Freshers’ to find people to go to lectures and, perhaps more importantly, seminars with. Those course mates I did make were often not in my college which made it difficult to find people and either ask them for help or generally discuss the course.

What one item do you suggest freshers bring to Durham that they might not think of?

Coat hangers. A lot of colleges don’t supply them (mine chucked mine out while I was away over the Christmas holidays). You will need them. You will probably still forget them. Try and remember them.

Any final words of advice?

There’s no other time at university quite like Freshers’ Week so make sure you make the most out of it. Have a great time and stay safe!

Got more questions for Saul? Email him on su.ugacademic@durham.ac.uk

We have a dedicated staff team who support our Officers with their various projects and organise the day-to-day running of the SU. Get to know them better here.

Our Student Staff are the front of Durham SU. Working at the bar, reception or within the Advice Service, they’ll be the friendly faces that welcome you in. Look out for opportunities to join our Student Staff here.