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.

Access the full benefits of Durham SU by activating your account! You can do this by following the instructions on this page.

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.

Kate McIntosh
David Evans
Amelia McLoughlan
Jess Dunning
Sam Johnson-Audini

Kate McIntosh, SU President

What was your favourite thing about Freshers’?

One of the best things I did was joining clubs and societies where I eventually found some of my very best friends. Freshers' Week can be intense and stressful, so realising how much I could get involved in the SU, student groups, college, and the wider community was exciting and something to look forward to.

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

If I did Freshers’ again, I would give myself a lot more credit for managing to get through what is actually a pretty challenging week! Some people will have the time of their lives, but everyone will be scared or stressed even if it’s just for 30 seconds. Had I known that, I would have felt a lot less like I was the only one feeling that way and would have appreciated the positive bits more, like meeting some good friends.

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

A doorstop – when you move in it's easy to end up trapped in your room, so having your door propped open lets you introduce yourself as people head past, and lets people know you're happy for them to say “hi”.

Any final words of advice?

Durham is a wonderful place to be a student, but 99% of your experience of Durham and what you achieve here happens after Freshers' Week. Remember that there are literally hundreds of groups, sports teams, campaigns, plays, and projects that are ready and waiting for you to get involved with. The most important thing about Freshers’ is that you start to feel safe and at home here, and there's time for everything else to come after.

Got more questions for Kate? Email her 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

Amelia McLoughlan, Welfare and Liberation Officer

What was your favourite thing about Freshers’?

Exploring my new college environment, getting stuck into college life, being introduced to Durham and meeting new people from across the world. My favourite Freshers’ night was our colleges UV party, and dancing with international students who became some of my best friends in first year.

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

If I could do Freshers’ again I would focus less on the big parties and take the week at my own pace, as you tend to find your best friends in the most unexpected of places. Not everyone is a big drinker or partier, so I would definitely recommend chilled-out nights, and forming a tea and biscuit society!

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

A hot water bottle! Durham is a colder place than people realise, and a hot water bottle can both make your room homely and help you relax in a comforting way. I would also recommend bringing photos from home or some room decorations to help you settle in.

Any final words of advice?

There is no one type of Durham student, so you shouldn’t worry about fitting in. You will find your own people even if it’s not in the first week.

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

Jess Dunning, Opportunities Officer

What was your favourite thing about Freshers'?

Getting to meet so many new people and exploring a new place. You just get thrown in and meet so many people, and I loved that. People at Durham come from all over and that made it all the more exciting to learn about different places and cultures. It was also great to explore and see what Durham had to offer apart from the University, as I didn't come to the Open Days before coming here.

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

I would sleep more – you really need to sleep before the first week of class otherwise your concentration levels drop (something I learnt pretty quickly). Of course have fun, but remember that one hour of sleep is not enough to function properly!

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

Pizza slicer. You will eat lots of pizza – trust me. It’s cheap, easy to cook and store, and is something my corridor ate a lot after a night out. Make sure you bring a round tray to cook it on too.

Any final words of advice?

Enjoy it. Engage with as many people as possible and sign up to everything at the Freshers’ Fair, even if it’s just to go to the introduction session.

Got more questions for Jess? Email her on su.opportunities@durham.ac.uk

Sam Johnson-Audini, UG Academic Officer

What was your favourite thing about Freshers’?

The variety of activities on! My college had events ranging from a Great Gatsby style jazz evening to a Toga party in the Undie. It was a really fun atmosphere and there was always something to do if I wanted. The organised fun really enabled me to feel comfortable in my environment and made it a lot easier than I expected to transition between Sixth Form and University.

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

Probably understand that not all socialising has to revolve around drinking and nights out! It would have been nice if I had invited people over to drink tea during the day to have a chat and find out more about them, which is a bit harder to do on a night out!

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

Bring coat hangers. You have to bring hangers.

Any final words of advice?

There will be highs and lows. Don’t be deceived: everyone will go through them at some point. Be prepared with things that make you feel comfortable and happy during the lows. It’s a massive change and you are bound to not feel amazing all the time, but you will get through it!

Got more questions for Sam? Email them 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.